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Syllabus

E58. 2130 – TOPICS IN DIGITAL MEDIA

Tuesdays 04:55pm-07:05pm @ Silver Building 402

Course Objectives:

  • To develop the theoretical and methodological skills necessary for producing rigorous research on new and emerging media.
  • To become familiar with the new media research tools and to develop a critical approach to the use and misuse of these technologies.
  • To develop hands on experience and understanding of the current cultural changes in media production and consumption.
  • To adopt ‘power-user’ skills.
  • To be able to critique the present and somewhat predict the future on new media.

Course Format

This course meets once a week in person but takes place constantly through the week on the class blog. Classroom time consists of both assessment of student research and discussion of the weekly readings. Assignments are being given weekly and deadlines are set for both classtime and through the week (to be submitted on the blog).

Travelogues

The central focus of this course will be a set of field trips into new media environments and the creation of travelogues. Each topic is pursued over a three-week period. Upon completion of one topic a new topic is selected and the cycle repeats itself. The travelogues will be published in the form of a collaborative blog. The blog will serve both as a research tool and as a way to document the process and results of the field trips.

Discussion of research findings of the last week, engaging criticism and feedback posted on the blog by the students and the instructor. Over the course of the semester a collection of travelogues will accumulate based on the student work. These will remain online as public documents, accessible both to other students as well as the general public.

Weekly theme

Each week the students will be assigned material revolving around the weekly theme. The weekly list would consist of required and recommended items. These items can be articles book segments and blog posts, they might also be audio and video presentations or other audiovisual content. Once through the semester each student would be required to summarize the assigned reading (both required and recommended) two days in advance of class, analyze the ideas expressed and engage them through the summary blog post. All students will be required to read the summary and comment on it towards the discussion in class lead by the assigned student.

Toolbox

Another focus of this course will be the toolbox – a growing collection of new media tools we will examine, use and critique in a format of a lab. Students will choose their tools based on this critical examination and will introduce new tools to the class to expand and advance our toolbox.

Course Requirements

All students are required to attend class and complete all assigned reading. Students are required to both post their own research blog posts and comment on other students work. Deadlines are rigid and posting late would not be appreciated.

New media travelogues:

Four different travels into new media lands are required. Each constructed of several blog posts. Each travelogue must include a set of blog posts aggregating and analyzing information from multiple sources and arriving at a critical conclusion. The posts may include text, audio, or visual material or reference other material on the web. Each post must be published as a blog post, and therefore will be subject to public viewing and possible response.

Critique Format:

Due to time and attention concerns, not all travelogues will be discussed in class every week. Students would choose the travelogues they would like to discuss in class, based on the comments they have made on the blog, and so more discussion provoking blog posts will win more student attention. We will try to assess what makes a post attractive and provoking and how to improve the blogging style based on that experience.

The New Media Embed Program

Towards the end of the semester we will work collaboratively on assembling a set of rules that will define guidelines for research into New Media environments.

Grade Formula

New Media Traveler’s Log #1: 5%

New Media Traveler’s Log #2: 15%

New Media Traveler’s Log #3: 15%

New Media Traveler’s Log #4: 15%

New Media Embed Program: 10%

Class and blog participation: 30%

reading discussion lead: 10%

Total: 100%

(No) Required Books

The readings in the class will be assigned by the students themselves while a recommended reading list will be provided for every class.

Schedule

Our schedule will be flexible and is bound to change based on the class’s activity. The following id a framework we will refer to but by no means is this the exact class schedule.

Class 1 – Course Introduction

Content: How does the internet work?

Context: screening of Adam Curtis’ The Trap: Whatever Happened to our Dream of Freedom (part 1 of 3)

Assignment: Travelogue-I: The Trap.

Class 2 – The Public Sphere and The Blogosphere

Jan 26th – Led by Alexandra

Critique: Travelogue-I

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: Travelogue-II roundup

Experiment: A week without Google

Assignment: Travelogue-II.

Class 3 Identity as Property and Panopticon 2.0

Feb 2nd – Led by Dan

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: A Week without Google, Travelogue II

Assignment: Travelogue-II

Class 4 – Social Software, Publics and Communities

Feb 9th – Led by Elizabeth

Required:

Suggested:

  • Clay Shirky: “Sharing Anchors Community” from Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (handout)

Critique: Travelogue-II – final

Assignment: Travelogue-III

Class 5 – Our Media?

Feb 16th – Led by Haris

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: Travelogue-III roundup

Assignment: Travelogue-III

Class 6 – Commons Based Peer Production and Open Source

Feb 23rd – Led by Honieh

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: Travelogue-III – final

Assignment: Travelogue-IV

Class 7 The cult of Wikipedia

Mar 2nd – Led by Jimena

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: Travelogue-IV – roundup

Class 8 – The Internet of Thing

Mar 9th – Led by Niharika

Required:

Suggested:

Critique: Travelogue-IV

Assignment: Travelogue-IV

Class 9 – Interface as a conflict of Ideologies

March 23rd – Led by

Required Reading/Viewing:

Suggested Reading:

Assignment: Travelogue-IV

Class 10 – Representation, Simulation, Fun & filthy rich media

March 30th – Led by

Required:

Suggested:

Class 11 – Network Theory

April 6th – Led by

Required:

  • Networks – The Science-Spanning Disciplines / Anna Nagurneymake sure to follow her presentation slides too

Suggested::

Critique: Travelogue-IV – final

Assignment: New Media Embed Program

Class 12 – The Singularity, Transhumanism & Biomedia

April 13th – Led by

Required:

Critique: The New Media Embed Program

Assignment: New Media Embed Program

Class 13 – E-ducation

April 20th – Led by

Required:

Suggested:

Class 14 – Nationalism, Postnationalism and Digital Power

April 27th – Led by

Required:

  • Frost, Catherine Internet Galaxy Meets Postnational Constellation: Prospects for Political Solidarity After the Internet (handout)
  • Catherine Frost’s response to Mike Linksvayer on the post Collaborative Futures 3

Suggested:

Optional:

Critique: Wikipedia – Here We Come! / final conclusions

*Optional Extra – Governance 2.0

Required:

  • UsNow – A film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet
  • The Fog Machine – Iran, Social Media and the Rise of Genetically Modified Grassroots Organizations By Jack Z. Bratich

Suggested:

Grading Rubric

A – Excellent. Student exhibits exemplary creativity through research and critical analysis. Research and writing is lucid and engaging with zero mistakes.

B – Good. References to the course material are well-selected and topical. Critical analysis is present, but largely rehearsed from class lecture and discussion. Student’s style is clear and has very few mistakes.

C – Satisfactory. References to the course material are well-selected and topical, but student performs little or no historical or critical analysis. Problems exist in student’s work. Work consists mostly of underdeveloped ideas, off-topic sources or examples, inappropriate research, or anecdotes.

D – Unsatisfactory. Student does not engage with the material and no historical or critical analysis is present. Substantial problems exist in student’s work.

F – Fail. Student does not submit work, or work is below unsatisfactory level.