Monday, October 14, 2013

Midterm 1: Results

For my midterm paper, I did a mix of what I wrote in my midterm posts (here and here), what I'd written in earlier posts (mainly this one, this one), and new stuff that came up as I worked through these ideas. The final result can be seen here (on Skydrive--feel free to comment on it over there--I've never used Skydrive like this before! It could be fun!).

Then, of course, it all just got more complicated when I went to see Dr. Burton and Dr. Wickman. Dr. Wickman pointed out that many of the claims I made are based on assumptions about the theoretical underpinnings of media and "new" media that are actually hot debates currently in the academic world. For example, I say in my paper, "When new mediums arrive, however, no culture exists to prepare their audience to unpack the meaning the creator intended." Dr. Wickman pointed out that this isn't necessarily true, and pointed me to some scholars and books that complicate this idea and argue that even in "new" or "emerging" media, there may be an existing culture impacting it.

After that, the conversation turned to another topic that the shifts in digital culture and digital media makes more complicated and difficult: graduate school. They asked me what what my plans were after graduation, and we discussed the pros and cons of going a more traditionally scholarly route and becoming a professor working with the kinds of ideas I've been developing about video games over the past year or so, or jumping straight into the video game industry and returning to academics later (Dr. Burton pointed out that for this industry, it might be like the business school--you have to work in the field a while to really be an authority on it).

I've already been looking at the University of Utah's top-rated game design program, but since talking to Dr. Burton and Dr. Wickman, I did more research and found out that MIT actually has a Comparative Media Studies/Writing (why the slash? I don't know.) master's degree, which seems like a Digital Culture class on steroids. But programs like that are extremely limited, and majorly untried. What jobs do they lead to? None specifically, but of course the program is extremely relevant to the world today and would lead to all kinds of opportunities. The question of grad school and which school or program to go to is just yet another aspect of life made more complicated by the new digital media and culture.