Sample Course Syllabus
Here is a syllabus from one of the many courses offered by the New Media Arts Department.
NMAD101-01 Media Seminar 1
3 credit hours, Enrollment Limit: 15
Section 1: Mondays 9:30-Noon
Section 2: Mondays 1-3:30
Instructor: Chris Jonas
Office Hours: by appointment or 20 minutes before and after each class
Phone: 505.670.4364 (cell)
website: www.chrisjonas.com / www.littleglobe.org
Media Seminar 1 “What is a Story?” is an introduction to notions of storytelling for IAIA Media Arts students. This class will explore a wide range of topics, both through the exploration and discussion of preexisting materials (text, video, etc), as well as creative means of working with the realms explored.
Areas covered will include chaos and pattern, creation myths, linearity, narrative, point of view, subjectivity/objectivity, context, storytelling as empowerment, identity, the individual and the community, the personal and the universal. Each of these realms will be explored through lectures, interviews, discussion, ensemble work, keeping a personal journal, and multiple forms of creative practice. Throughout the semester, we will interview guests from a variety of creative fields about the use of storytelling in their work. We will also read and discuss a wide range of essays, stories and other forms of text (by Native and non-Native writers).
The goal of the class is to help you to understand more about the role of storytelling in creative work, to develop fluency and comfort with language about storytelling, narrative and artistic practice.
Fundamental to the success of this class will be a depth of personal inquiry into aspects of art making and storytelling of foundational relevance to you, your work and your place in the world. One key item that I will mention over and over again: In this class there are no mistakes – your grade and success has nothing to do with getting an answer correct or saying the right thing. Your only requirement is to show up, participate fully, maintain an active journal, and engage deeply in the projects of the class.
To accomplish this, you will be asked to read, write, explore, discuss, conduct interviews, and creatively respond to the things you discover over the course of this class. This process should be as interesting as it will be challenging. I ask that you come to each class with a willingness to engage, stretch your attention span, your abilities, and your creative imagination. Take risks, step outside of what is familiar and what is comfortable. Bring with you to class discoveries, questions and ideas that are important and essential to you. Devote time and energy to your readings, your journal and your projects. Utilize this semester, myself as your collaborating teaching and the experiences of the class as a means to get yourself deeper into your creative work and self discovery.
Additional skills that we will work on throughout the class will include maintaining a journal, keeping to a class and project schedule (from research and development through completion of a project), interviewing skills, and note taking.
GRADES AND REQUIRED WRITING
Attendance and In-Class Participation: 40%
Journal/Note Taking: 20%
Final Project: 40%
1. Attendance & Participation. Since each 2.5 hour class represents two regular classes, consistent attendance is absolutely critical to getting a good or passing grade. Three unexcused missed classes will lead to a failing grade. Additionally, forty percent (40%) of your grade is based on attendance and participation in class. However, if you must miss a class due to a family emergency, a sickness or other reason, please contact me so we can discuss your absence and find means to help you make up the lost time and work. IAIA has very strict attendance policies, and it is our intent to utilize the IAIA attendance guidelines to help you to develop a routine of showing up on time and ready to participate. These guidelines are enumerated in the “Classroom Policies” contract you will be signing.
The other part of this grade depends on your participation in class discussion of assigned readings and interviews, as well as participation in creative ensemble work and exercises. A good class requires your engagement, not only with the readings and assignment, but also with the work of your peers. Prepare thoroughly before class and participate significantly and often. Your opinions, views and perspectives are IMPORTANT, and a lively discussion (and gathering of views) makes a significant difference in our course.
Additionally, to ensure that the atmosphere of the class is consistently focused, no texting, emailing, or phone calls will be permitted during class. Disruptive behavior will negatively affect your grade substantially. Each class will include a break during which time you are free to text or place calls, so please save those kinds of activities for times outside of class.
In spite of following such strict policies, I also want to state that I am here to help you to succeed and grow over the course of the semester. So please do not hesitate to contact me about any such challenges that interfere from the consistency of your participation in the class.
2. Your Journal/Note Taking represents twenty (20%) of your grade. You will be expected to maintain and utilize your journal throughout the class as a means to record and remember ideas, moments of insight, and reflections on the materials explored. Since note taking is a key skill employed throughout this class as well as throughout IAIA, you will also be required to utilize your journal as a location for your in-class and study notes throughout the semester. You will be expected to submit this to the instructor for review two times over the semester: (a) at the end of the week prior to spring break and (b) two weeks before the completion of the class.
3. Your Final Project is some form of creative response and engagement with the materials explored in this class, due at the end of the semester. We will work together on this project throughout the last half of the class, with a number of pre-set deadlines for parts of this project. Final Projects may be returned to you during the summer via snail mail. If you want to receive your final project (with comments), please turn in a self-addressed, stamped envelope (or box) with your project on the day it’s due. I keep final projects for one academic calendar year after the course is complete.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) COMPLIANCE: The Institute of American Indian Arts is an Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended) compliant institution and fully subscribes to all federal regulations relating to non-discrimination based upon disability. Should any student determine that a scheduled course, activity or facility is not accessible because of a disability, said student should contact the Academic Access Coordinator to report the situation. Students with issues relating to sight, hearing, mobility, learning, ‘invisible’ and other disabilities should contact the same office if they plan to request accommodations.
M 1/18 No Class: Martin Luther King Holiday
M 1/25 Introductions. Introduction to the course and syllabus. Storytelling intro. Chaos and pattern. Discussion, ensemble. Homework (from copied hand-outs): Reading: Thomas King, The Truth About Stories, Pg. 8-29; Excerpt from R. Crumb’s Genesis; journal work (patterns).
M 2/1 Discuss readings (must have journal in hand); Creation Myths. Hero’s Journey to the Underworld. Ensemble work.
M 2/8 The mechanics of a story.
M 2/15 Discuss readings. Exploration of context; community and storytelling; the individual and the world around (the personal and the universal).
M 2/22 Subjective/Objective; witness exercise; The how to’s of interviewing. Ensemble work.
M 2/1 Curating and editing: Telling a story by leaving things out.
M 3/8 Discussion of maps; deeper investigation into motivation; various concepts of narrative and non-narrative structure for storytelling; other motivations over linear time; drawing from unusual sources for storytelling structure; ensemble work.
F 3/12 Journal submitted (leave it in Chris Jonas’ faculty box).
M 3/15 No Class: Spring Break.
M 3/22 Discuss readings; non linear narratives; non-linear video/video art + design.
M 3/29 In-class prep; Project day 1 (1/2 class in the field).
M 4/5 Project day 2 (all class in the field).
M 4/12 Culture, story, rethinking identity, empowerment.
M 4/19 Project day 3 (in the field)
Homework: complete journal
M 4/26 Journal submitted. Final class/ensemble.
Week of May 3rd Individual Conferences, final project preparation
T 5/11 Final project due by 2 p.m. sharp; no late submissions will be accepted