Digital Humanities 1011B

Programming My Digital Life


This is a first course in programming, intended for students 
of all  backgrounds.  No prior experience is necessary! 
You will need a  laptop computer and a one-year student 
license for the Max 6 + Gen  software, available online at 

Max is a great language for working with sound, music, text, 
images,  video, computer graphics and real time performances.  
You can learn  more about Max here:
The best way to learn how to program is to write programs.  
We will  meet for two hours each day, twice a week.  During the 
first hour of  each class, I will connect my laptop to the LCD 
projector and write  programs while explaining to you how they work.
You can follow along  on your own machines and ask questions about 
anything that isn't  clear.  

During the second hour of each class, 
you will be programming  alone or in pairs, and I will walk around 
and help you if you get  stuck, make suggestions about other things 
to explore, etc.    

Instead of having large projects or exams, your 
grade will be based on  a large number of small programming 
assignments.  This will encourage  you to practice your programming 
skills regularly, and enable you to  be experimental in your 

I have quite a few fun programming projects in mind for us to 
work on,  and Max 6 is powerful and high-level enough that we can 
do things with  a page of code that would take hundreds of pages 
(and a whole  semester) to do in a language like Java or C++.    

Here is a random smattering of a few of the things we will be  
exploring with code, in no particular order:    
- phase music  
- interaction design  
- generative art  
- robotics  
- sensation and perception  
- digital puppetry  
- artificial life  
- steganography  
- sampling  
- visualization and audification  
- sound design  
- video art  
- synesthesia  
- sensors  
- randomness  
- computer vision    

The main idea of the course is that programming can be a way of  
exploring the kinds of questions that humanists and artists have  
always been interested in: what is true? what is beautiful? how 
can we  be sure of what we know? what does it mean to be human? 
what does it  mean to be alive?  Computer programs can also provide 
humanists,  artists and social scientists with ways of communicating
 with one  another.  Plus, it is a lot of fun!    

You can learn a bit more about the kind of work that I do on my  
I am also on Twitter @williamjturkel 
Please don't hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions, 
concerns  or thoughts that you'd like to share.  
I can be reached at  
























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