FTVM 190 - First-Year Film Seminar
Winter 2022, Section 002 - The Visual Culture of Digital Media
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Film, Television, and Media Std (FTVM)
Department: LSA Film, Television, and Media
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Lab Fee:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


In 1972, cultural critic John Berger’s pivotal BBC television series and book Ways of Seeing opened by declaring that “seeing comes before words.” Berger wanted to explain the ways that both art and, in a more innovative approach for that time, commonplace images like advertising surround us every day. This course takes Berger’s insistence on the importance of images and updates it by examining both how images circulate online and what sorts of images are generated for and on the Internet. We will look at YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, livestreams and streaming platforms, as well as other forms of social media, memes, emoji and the use of icons in digital communication, fan and user-generated media, and more. Students will develop the ability to critically assess and analyze these media formally, learn about how culture is visual, and develop an understanding of the histories, industries, and cultures that images circulate in and help to shape. This class will have a seminar format that combines lecture and discussion as we learn to carefully examine and understand the visual culture of contemporary, everyday, digitally mediated life. Across many digital platforms today, we are invited to contribute images, annotate or adjust them, like or comment upon them, and position ourselves through our relationship to them. The Visual Culture of Digital Media will help us to understand the complicated and sophisticated ways images work online, as well as the work users do to make and communicate through them.

Course Requirements:

This course requires regular participation in course discussions, timely completion of reading and writing assignments. There will be a few opportunities for hands-on making and learning in the Shapiro Design Lab and the University of Michigan Museum of Art but most assessment will rely upon a series of written assignments (typically short 2-3 page essays), in-class collaborations and participation, and a final research project (8-10 pages). A midterm exam with short answer questions will allow students to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts from class and readings.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for first year students. Students with all academic interests are welcome.

Class Format:

Fully in-person


FTVM 190 - First-Year Film Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
9Enrollment Management
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
3Enrollment Management
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
003 (SEM)
3Enrollment Management
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for FTVM 190 (UM login required)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)