Exciting CAST collaboration with the Mozilla Festival

Here at CAST we’re chuffed to announce a collaboration with the Mozilla Festival “Media, Freedom and the Web” which runs from Nov 4-6 in London.

“The Mozilla Festival is a yearly celebration that brings together hundreds of passionate people to explore the frontiers of the open web. We mash developers, designers, and big thinkers together to make things that can change the world. This year’s theme is Media, Freedom and the Web—how can the web can make us more creative, collaborative and connected in an age of broadcasters big and small? Join us for three days of passionate people using the web to bend, hack and reinvent all forms of media—and how we communicate with the world”.

So it’s going to be exciting!

What’s also great is how closely the festival matches the goals of the CAST MAs, especially our digital sandbox – to quote from the goals of the Mozilla Festival: “Get more media people thinking like the web. Build prototypes using the web as raw material; it’s lego you can use to invent the future of media.”

As a result, CAST are partnering with the Mozilla Foundation and our students will be participating across the board, from the design challenges to the learning labs. We’re hoping to meet lots of great people – if you haven’t signed up yet you can register here.


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The MA has started – and with it Mediating the Social

One of the modules of the new MA/MSc in Creating Social media is Mediating the Social. Here is, what it is about:

“What is the social in social media? In this course we undertake theoretical and practical groundwork to develop an understanding how social worlds operate. We look at a wide range of social processes and practices, both offline and online. The aim is to search for concepts and ideas that enable us to envision social media, which are yet to come.”

More info here.


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Digital Sandbox

The Digital Sandbox is the core practical element of the computing science component of the course, with 10 intensive six-hour lab sessions (2 x 3 hours) on each of 10 distinct contemporary means of coding, hacking and software configuration in social media, as well as open data. The technology taught will constantly change and evolve, but sample topics include data visualisation methods, HTML5, CSS and design, platforms like Ruby and Python, creative scripting, APIs, search engine optimisation, veracity and validation, mobile application development, social identities and networks, authority and trust, taxonomy and community curation.

In the Digital Sandbox, you will develop, code and hack practical projects at a rapid rate.

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Digital Boot Camp

Here’s the curriculum for the Digital Boot Camp. The boot camp will run for three weeks full time from September 5th 2011 and the fee is £1000.

Week 1: Text

– Lab 1: Editors and Shells

Using Emacs; using Bash; using Python interpreter; using
SpiderMonkey (a JavaScript interpreter); using FireBug (a Firefox
plugin for working with JavaScript); using IELM (an Emacs Lisp
interactive mode); brief overview of other text editors.

– Lab 2: Text Operations

Regular expressions; sorting (using one-liners in Bash, Python,
JavaScript, Elisp); Emacs keyboard macros; encoding (UNICODE,
DOS/UNIX/MacOS); Emacs search/replace.

– Lab 3: UNIX Operation

Files and directories (listing, finding, making, touching,
permissions); users and groups; text environment (input/output
re-direction, pipelining); remote sessions.

– Lab 4: Procedural Abstraction

Writing scripts; using functions; using control structures;
scripting together some text processing concepts from the week’s
labs; each concept is practiced in: Python, JavaScript, Elisp.

– Week 1 Project:

Week 2: Markup

– Lab 5: Tagging and Semantics

XML syntax, adding tags to documents, using attributes;
well-formedness, testing for errors using a parser, understanding
problems with documents; designing tagging schemes, document
semantics; Emacs nxml-mode for assistance in authoring XML
documents; xmllint as a useful parser/checker; introduction to
HTML; uTidy for cleaning HTML.

– Lab 6: Documents and Objects

Introduction to W3C (and FF and IE) DOM using JavaScript;
introduction to DOM using Python ElementTree; writing scripts to
generate and inspect document trees.

– Lab 7: Documents in Pipelines

Processing XML documents as streams of events: SAX (simple API
for XML), Genshi; extracting content from XML using XPath;
transforming XML using XSLT; writing scripts to process markup
content (aggregate, transform, search).

– Lab 8: Data Abstraction

Common primitive data types (numbers, strings); Python lists,
tuples, dictionaries (possibly classes); JavaScript arrays,
objects; Elisp lists, association lists; writing scripts that
manipulate these data types; treating XML like a database.

– Week 2 Project:

Week 3: Web

– Lab 9: Web Servers

Anatomy of an HTTP request; understanding URIs; configuring
Apache to serve static content; using templates to serve dynamic
content (Genshi).

– Lab 10: Web Clients

More HTML; styling HTML using CSS; altering documents using
JavaScript; responding to user actions using JS.

– Lab 11: Data on the Web

Data encoding for the Web: XML, RSS, JSON; extracting data from
Web-delivered sources: HTTP APIs and scraping, using Python;
Yahoo Pipes; creating a mashup.

– Lab 12: Abstractions over the Web

Techniques for developing a Web-delivered API; designing URI
structure; specifying required parameters; processing calls on
the server; returning correctly encoded responses; documenting
your API.

– Week 3 Project


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What do you study?

Here’s a summary of what you’ll study on the MA/MSc in Creating Social Media, taken from our freshly minted handbook. More details soon. Any questions, feel free to drop us a line.

What do you study? In the Digital Sandbox, you will develop, code and hack practical projects at a rapid rate. If you do not yet have a background in computing, you take part in a one-month Digital Boot Camp before the course starts. In Mediating the Social you gain practical experience of online and offline social worlds and the theoretical tools to understand them. In Software Studies, you learn how to read and critique software from a Cultural Studies perspective. Digital Research Methods enables you to scrape and analyse online data. Digital Case Studies brings you first hand accounts of projects in industry, NGOs and social enterprises. An Innovation Internship will lead to a project developed in close cooperation with one of our innovation partners. You can take one further option, for example in Media Philosophy. Your final project will be either a practical or a more theoretical investigation, leading to an MSc or an MA.

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Goldsmiths MA/MSc in Creating Social Media

What does social media look like after recent events in Japan, North Africa and the UK? What will you create? This unique theory/practice programme combines computing and cultural studies to provide you with the practical and critical skills to shape the future of social media.

The MA/MSc is a collaborative theory/practice programme across the Department of Computing and the Centre for Cultural Studies, and is part of the newly launched Centre for Creative and Social Technologies.

Based on global examples, you will explore the technological and intellectual questions that have risen to prominence with the social web. You will critique existing approaches and tools, and plan, develop, hack and implement ground-breaking applications and campaigns. You will not only analyse: you will create.

New social media platforms, at their best, develop new online forms of connecting, relating, sharing and competing. Effective and innovative social media creation, therefore, involves deep theoretical and practical knowledge of both software development and social processes.

You will learn how to develop and hack social media software, how social worlds operate, how software tools enable different forms of social practice, and how new social media projects can be launched successfully. You will accelerate the impact of social media in your chosen field.

See also the official page for the MA/MSc in Creating Social Media on the Goldsmiths website.

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Programme convenors: Goetz & Dan

Dr. des. Goetz Bachmann, lecturer (CCS), has run several large research projects on social media in the UK, mainland Europe, Japan and China. In these projects, he combines ethnography, experimental prototyping and close cooperation with non-academic partners. His current research looks at media practices connected to new digital technologies, with a special focus on the reconfiguration of liveness. His academic research projects have been funded by the BBC, Intel, Leverhulme Foundation, AHRC and ESRC. Goetz also works as a scriptwriter, with more than 150 realised comic strips, and as a consultant for NGOs and the media industry. Goetz will convene the MA/MSc, teach the Mediating the Social module, coordinate the options and contribute to teaching in the Digital Sandbox, Digital Case Studies and Digital Research Methods modules.

After a Ph.D in Experimental Particle Physics, Dan McQuillan worked with people with learning disabilities and as a mental health advocate.  He founded Multikulti, a community-led multilingual website for asylum seekers & refugees which won a Global Ideas Bank Social Innovations Award. He joined Amnesty International as global web manager just as web 2.0 was emerging and headed Amnesty’s first delegation to the UN’s Internet Governance Forum. He has been Head of Digital for the Make Your Mark campaign, using social media to promote and support entrepreneurship, and Head of Digital at Media for Development, using participatory digital innovation as a way to empower marginalised communities. He a former director of The Open Rights Group and blogs about social technology and social change at internet.artizans.

In 2008 Dan co-founded Social Innovation Camp, which brings together ideas, people and digital tools to build web-based solutions to social problems in just 48 hours. Successful projects that started at Social Innovation Camp include Enabled by Design, The Good Gym and MyPolice. His current action-research includes leading Social Innovation Camps in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Dan is co-convenor for the MA/MSc in Creating Social Media and will teach in the Digital Sandbox, Digital Case Studies and Digital Research Methods modules.

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