Electric Snow: TV in Our Time is a revised version of Media UnPlugged , an entry into the Think Quest 97 contest. Cory and Dawn came to the conclusion that the site, specifically the network simulation, was teaching users more about network politics than about media literacy. They liked the topic though, so they decided to revise the site and enter it in the Think Quest 98 competition.
Former coach Lars-Erik Nilsson introduced the team to Anders Eklof and Andreas Bjarntoft. When Dawn and the Design Paradise TQ96 team traveled to Sweden in January, she and coach Lynne got to meet with Andreas and Anders.
When everyone returned to Hawaii, the team held a CU See Me session in Keith's computer lab so everyone could get to know each other.
One of the first things they did was set up a planning site on Keith's server. The site served as a place to post links, logs from their weekly chats, notes, pictures and to-do lists.
In their proposal, the team outlined a more focused version of Media UnPlugged. The simulation would be separated into smaller pieces and there would be a greater emphasis on media literacy and media issues. When the proposal was accepted, work began on the site.
One of the first areas the team worked on was the Brain Tennis debates. They liked HOTWIRED's Brain Tennis section and wanted to invite media people to debate issues on their site. They wrote letters to the FCC, George Gerbner, Todd Gitlin, Douglas Rushkoff, NCTVV, and the National Association of Broadcasters asking if they would like to participate. Douglas Rushkoff wrote back promptly and they decided to interview him without waiting for responses from the other people. The debate thing fizzled out, but the team got some good interviews with other people in the industry later in the project.
Copyright was an issue the team struggled with during the creation of the site. They wanted guide users through some ad deconstructions, so they wrote to Levi's, Coca-Cola, MTV, Nike and Gap asking for permission to include ads on the site. Nobody said okay. During a work session in Keith's lab, Dawn and Cory saw the cease fire ad. When they emailed CeaseFire about it, the director said sure. The team mentioned the Gap Khakis ad in the article on image, but since they didn't have permission to use the ad, they linked to the Gap website.
During one of their weekly chats, the team began to discuss the idea of including help files on the site. Up until that point, Andreas was going to translate each article into Swedish.
Dawn worked on the lesson plans and discovered that they were pretty hard to do. But the plans helped tie the articles together and focus them more.
During the last few days of Think Quest, the team worked on spellchecking, finishing up the popups, and writing about themselves.