Digital Media Studio

DGST 301C – Special Topics in Digital Studies

Tuesdays 6-8:45PM, HCC 327


Cartland Berge

HCC 410A


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 writers, producers, cinematographers, technicians, 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.

For class lecture/discussion topics, project due dates, and the show schedule, see the Course Schedule document.

For more information on the teams and roles, see the Show Guidelines document.

Course Objectives

This course is 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. The class will be split into three teams, with each team taking on a different element of the show each week on a rotating basis. For more information on the teams and roles, see the Show Guidelines document.

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

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 Projects

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 the productions in meaningful ways. Take on varied roles, even if they are out of your comfort zone. By the end of the semester, you should be able to provide examples of work you are proud of on each of the three teams.


You cannot accomplish the work of this class without being present. The entire class is a group project, and your classmates will be counting on you each week to perform the job required of you. Absences will drastically impact your participation grade (which is the main contributor to your overall grade).

Of course, I understand that life happens. If you cannot attend class due to extenuating circumstances, let me and your team know as early as possible.

Be on Time

Complete projects on time (both for me, and for your classmates in any group projects you work on). The show starts at 8pm every Tuesday night, whether your work is done or not. Do not let your team down with late or unfinished work.

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

Recommended Resources

Digital Knowledge Center

The Digital Knowledge Center (DKC), located in HCC 408, provides UMW students with peer tutoring on digital projects and assignments. Any student at the University can take advantage of the Center’s services by scheduling an appointment to work one-on-one or in a group with a student tutor. You can schedule a tutorial at; while appointments are not required, they are recommended. Tutorials cover a wide-range of topics related to common digital systems, technologies, new media, and tools used in courses at UMW. DKC tutors adhere to the UMW Honor Code during all appointments. They are available to provide guidance and advice, but they cannot create, produce, or edit work on a student’s behalf. You can find out more about what to expect at tutorial at

Speaking Center

If you have trouble with speaking anxiety, the Speaking Center can offer help.

Writing Center


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.


Stefanie Lucas-Waverly, M.S.

Title IX Coordinator

Fairfax House

(540) 654-5656

Crystal Rawls

Title IX Deputy for Students

Assistant Director of Student Activities


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.

What About Kids?

For this class, all primary caregivers for a child are welcome to bring their child to class as necessary to cover a gap in childcare (please note this is not a long-term solution, but I recognize that circumstances change often). Students and I will work to create an environment that welcomes and respects all forms of parenthood while still maintaining our focus on the tasks at hand.