Digital Media Studio

DGST 301C – Special Topics in Digital Studies

Spring 2019, Tuesdays 6-8:45PM, HCC 327


Cartland Berge

HCC C301 (You’ll have to ask at the HCC Info Desk if you want to get there)


Office Hours

I’m on campus just about every day 9-5pm, so just call, email, or Slack me if you want to meet.

Course Description

In this course we will plan, write, produce, and stream a live production each week. We’ll pitch project ideas, select the ones we are most excited about, and then take on the roles of showrunners, producers, cinematographers, and performers to bring these projects to life on our weekly show.

When we aren’t actively working on projects, we will discuss the technology, methods, and culture of live media production and web streaming, with regular guest lectures from experts in the field.

Course Objectives

This course will be about learning through doing. Each week, we will create a show from the ground up, and air it live during class. We will work under extreme time pressure, and as a result, our product will never be as polished as we might want it to be. Our focus will be on pushing the boundaries of what we are able to accomplish with the time and tools we have available, which will certainly mean we fall short at times. You should consider everything that we do an experiment; even if our result is not what we expected, we will learn something from it that we can use for the next project.

In class, we will explore and discuss topics related to web and digital media production. The topics will vary depending on the interests and needs of the class, but will potentially include:

  • Recording technology
  • Streaming platforms
  • Copyright/Plagiarism
  • Interviewing
  • Script writing
  • Monetization
  • Privacy/Ethics
  • Standards and Practices
  • Branding
  • Marketing and Audience Building

Course Work

The vast majority of the work of this course will focus on creating our weekly show. Each production will require various roles (though the requirements may differ from show to show or even segment to segment). Roles may include:

  • Scriptwriting
  • On-screen talent
  • Camera Operators
  • Editing/Post-Production
  • Graphics
  • Props and costumes
  • Sound and lighting

A great deal of this work will need to be done between classes. Collaboration and delegation will be absolutely essential in this course.

You will not be required to have a role in every production, but you should expect to participate in at least 50% of the shows, as well as the final full-class production (Week 15).

The final assignment will be a personal Process Documentary, in which each of you will create a short film highlighting the projects you’ve completed over the course of the class.


While you will get a grade for the course at the end of the semester, you will not receive a grade on any one production, project, or assignment. Participation will be a primary factor in determining your final grade. You will also be asked to reflect on your work and the work of your peers.

The basic breakdown for calculating your final grade will be:

40% – Participation (Including in-class discussions, group work in and out of class, attendance)

30% – 60 Second Film Project

30% – Process Documentary

You will have the opportunity to complete a self-assessment midway through the semester and at the end of the course.

Some things to focus on if you want to get an A in this course:

  • Contribute to at least 50% of the productions in meaningful ways. Try to take on varied roles, even if they are out of your comfort zone. By the end of the semester, you should have spent at least some time in a role in each of the following categories:
    • Production (Camera operator, production management, props, costumes, lighting, graphics, etc.)
    • Creative (Script writing, segment creation/pitching, acting, etc.)
    • Post-Production (Video and/or audio editing for pre-recorded pieces)
  • Attend class, even if you don’t have a role in the current week’s production. We don’t have that many classes to work with, so we need to make the most of each one. (Of course, I understand that life happens. Don’t hesitate to contact me in the event of extenuating circumstances)
  • Complete projects on time (both for me, and for your classmates in any group projects you work on)

If you are shooting for a grade other than an A for any reason, please get in touch with me so we can discuss your options.

Required Texts

None. Over the course of the class I’ll share articles and videos, but you won’t have to buy anything.

Recommended Texts

You may find some of these resources helpful. They are all available either in Simpson Library or the HCC (some in print, some digital).

Barry Anderson, The DSLR Filmmaker’s Handbook Real-World Production Techniques

Kurt Lancaster, DSLR cinema : a beginner’s guide to filmmaking on a budget

Edward Pincus, The Filmmaker’s Handbook : a comprehensive guide for the digital age

John Heath, Concrete Wedding Cake (this book is about film editing, hard to tell from the title)

Gustavo Mercado, The Filmmaker’s Eye: learning and breaking the rules of cinematic composition


The Office of Disability Resources has been designated by the college as the primary office to guide, counsel, and assist students with disabilities.  If you receive services through the Office of Disability Resources and require accommodations for this class, make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss your approved accommodation needs.  Bring your accommodation letter, along with a copy of our class syllabus with you to the appointment. I will hold any information you share with me in strictest confidence unless you give me permission to do otherwise.

If you have not made contact with the Office of Disability Resources and have reasonable accommodation needs,  (note taking assistance, extended time for tests, etc.), I will be happy to refer you.

Title IX Statement

University of Mary Washington faculty are committed to supporting students and upholding the University’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.  Under Title IX and this Policy, discrimination based upon sex or gender is prohibited. If you experience an incident of sex or gender based discrimination, we encourage you to report it. While you may talk to me, understand that as a “Responsible Employee” of the University, I MUST report to UMW’s Title IX Coordinator what you share.  If you wish to speak to someone confidentially, please contact the below confidential resources. They can connect you with support services and help you explore your options. You may also seek assistance from UMW’s Title IX Coordinator. Please visit to view UMW’s Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence and to find further information on support and resources.


Marissa Miller

Interim Title IX Coordinator

Fairfax House

(540) 654-5656

Confidential Resources


Talley Center for Counseling

Lee Hall 106

Student Health Center

Lee Hall 112



(540) 373-9373


(540) 371-1666

Public Work

The majority of your work for this course will live publicly on the web within open platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. If you would like to remain anonymous, I encourage you to use a pseudonym. If you don’t want to include a photograph of yourself, you can upload an avatar to represent you. Think carefully about these choices.

Recording Policy

Recording is a central part of this class. As such, classroom activities in this course may be recorded by students enrolled in the course, and may be posted online as part of course assignments. All students are advised that classroom activities may be taped by students for this purpose. Further distribution or sale of class recordings is prohibited without the written permission of the instructor and other students who are recorded. Distribution without permission is a violation of copyright law. This policy is consistent with UMW’s Policy on Recording Class and Distribution of Course Materials.

UMW Honor System

The UMW Honor System is the ethical guideline for this class, and it defines our core beliefs and expectations as a community. You can find extensive details about the UMW Honor System online here.