IM 355 Interactive Media Theories, Concepts, and Practices

Spring 2022

Summary with take aways

This assignment is used for Reading Summaries 1, 2, 4, & 12-22.

When your reading summary is targeted at a summary with take away:

First, summarize the assigned reading. DO NOT outline or use bullets. Most readings can be summarized in approximately 900-1,200 words. I do not count words; the best summaries give me a sense of how long each summary should be. Canvas provides a heading & identifies the reading for the assignment. Find solid instruction about summaries here.

Second, describe/discuss your primary take away from (each of) the reading(s).

Your take away should describe the most important idea in the reading. What did you most take away from it?

Describe and discuss the significance of the ideas/passages. These take aways should identify the most important aspect of the reading. They should NOT focus on trivial matters that you "just found interesting/surprising/didn't know."

For example:

HoI Chapter 1


In a time where the ability to respond to substantial nuclear attack in kind was an absolute necessity, the United States military found its communication lines unable to do so. Were a line to be broken from the sender to the receiver, no communication could be made, rendering that receiving branch useless and the sending centre helpless. The United States’s many methods of communication with its military could be quickly and easily disrupted. It was necessary, then, to rethink how the military communicated with its many branches.
RAND researcher Paul Baran’s proposal for “nuclear-proof communications” was the concept of a digital network of nodes, as opposed to the analog network of a centre and its many branches that the United States currently employed. This digital network would break up its message into many packets which would then be sent to a node, who was then responsible for passing along the packet to whatever node would get it to its destination quickest. This way, packets would not be bottlenecked were a node to be subject to nuclear attack (or otherwise unavailable); this also meant cheaper, more unreliable technology could be used, as a failure of equipment merely temporarily rerouted communications to the next quickest line.
This concept of digital packet-based communications was immediately and vehemently rejected by then-communications monopoly AT&T, who refused to believe that cutting messages into packets would result in transmissions as clean as the current analog based transmissions. The project was then given an option: pass the project along to the DCA, who likely would botch the job due to lack of understanding of digital technologies and a lack of enthusiasm, or shelf the project for a later date. Baran chose the latter.
The demand for fresh ideas and technological developments, however, was just beginning. The establishment that would one day become the National Science Foundation, critical to the future development of the Internet, was brought about by Science: the endless frontier. Shortly after was the development of Project RAND, an oddly independent and freeform research outfit, where Baran would unshelve his digital packet-switching communications concept, although this time, the concept reached beyond the realm of military usage and into the realm of public utility.

Take Away:

Athough the development of the internet was largely funded with Federal money through the Department of Defense (1) apparently none of the work was secret and (2) most of the work was done by non-governmental units (contractors in the private sector). This is particularly interesting in comparison to the ways that the atom bomb was developed just two decades earlier: funded with Federal money through the Department of Defense but done in secret by workers who were virtually "drafted" to work on the Federally controlled project.

(A) Concept Exams

(B) Text Reading

(C) Concept Application
Notes & Discussions
(D) 3-part-Research Writing Project
(E) Extra Credit (F) Grading Special Considerations
Concepts Schedule IM 355 Homepage
© Ed Lamoureux, 2022