Social Media: Technology and CultureInstructor: Kathryn DunlapOffice:Office Hours:E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgRequired Texts:Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less from Each Other Sherry TurkleConvergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (available through e-library) Henry JenkinsComing of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human Tom BoellstorffAdditional course readings (including the introductory unit readings) will be provided aslinks of pdf by your instructor.Course Abstract:This course is designed as an intermediate, writing-intensive research and theory coursefocused on social media and its cultural impacts. While social media can be widelydefined, for the purpose of this course the emphasis is on Internet-based, highlyaccessible systems of social data exchange. Areas covered include social networking andcommunication, social media and corporate interests, content communities, and virtualworlds. Students will read academic articles and books on social media, engage withpeers, write and research in various genres, and practice using social media tools. Theultimate goal of this course is to ready students of various academic backgrounds toresearch social media in a way that furthers academic growth within their chosen fields.Course Objectives: • To introduce students to an academic understanding of social media • To engage with multiple viewpoints about social media • To gain both practical and theoretical knowledge about social media • To define social media and related terms • To create a positive and social classroom environment through social media • To work in both small groups (3-5) and on a wide social scale (full class) • To develop research projects connected to individual student academic interestsAttendance:Attendance is expected in this and all your courses. By department policy attendance willbe taken and absence exceeding 25% of total class time will result in an automatic failureof the course. Beyond that there is no additional attendance policy for this class. • Cell phones and other electronic devices need to be turned off and stowed away before class begins • Open laptops are allowed, however, I reserve the right to observe your activities and require you to turn off your computer if your activities are not in keeping with class
activities. • Please do not come to class if you are sick. Email me before class and we will work something out. Be considerate of your classmates.Plagiarism:Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or idea intentionally or unintentionally withoutgiving the source the proper credit. Plagiarism is unacceptable academic behavior atUCF. If you are caught plagiarizing, depending on the severity, you will fail theassignment. You also risk failing the course.Disability Statement:UCF is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all person withdisabilities. This syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Student withdisabilities who need accommodation in this course must contact the professor at thebeginning of the semester to discuss needed accommodations. No accommodations willbe provided until the student has met with the professor to request accommodations.Students who need accommodations must be registered with Student Disability Services,Student Resource Center Room 132, phone (401) 823-2371.Grading:There are 200 points possible in the course.Assignments:Unit One Assignment: 40 ptsUnit Two Assignment: 40 ptsUnit Three Assignment: 40 ptsUnit Four Assignment: 40 ptsHomework/In-Class: 20 ptsParticipation: 20 ptsGrading Scale:180-200 A160-179 B140-159 CBelow 140 FNC (No Credit)UCF is on a plus/minus grading scaleLate Work:I do not accept late work, however, you do have the option of a one-time use, noquestions asked, one-week extension. This can be used on any of the four unitassignments and will need to be requested via email by the due date. Assignments arepreferred in class but are due by 5:00 p.m. and can be turned into my mailbox in theEnglish Department.Special Considerations:
If for any reason you have a family emergency or any unforeseen happenings during thiscourse, contact me immediately. Notifying me of a situation or problem two or threeclasses later prevents me form making alternative arrangements.Graded SectionsUnit 1: An Introduction to Social Media (Weeks 1-3)This unit introduces the course with a variety of readings designed to create a commonvocabulary for the class as well as start a dialogue with the material and each other. Someof the readings in this unit predate social media, but are included because of theirrelevance. Readings: The medium is the message (Marshall McLuhan), Wag the Blog (Thomas J Johnson and Barbara K. Kaye), The Masses: Implosion of the Social in the Media (Jean Baudrillard), The Right to Play (Edward Castronova), What is Web 2.0 (Tim O’Reilly) Assignment: Each student will write a concise research paper defining a concept within social media, either mentioned in the course readings or not, that integrates outside several outside sources to support the student’s assessment. These definitions should be fully descriptive and insightful. The students will then, as a class, create a course wiki (using wikispaces.com) to create a social media wiki for the class’s reference.Unit 2: Social Networking and Communication (Weeks 4-6)This unit will cover social network and communication and how they have impacted ourcontemporary culture. Reading: Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (Sherry Turkle) Assignment: Students will be asked to use a social networking/communication platform of their choice to respond with creative prose to a relevant course theme and connecting to Turkle’s book. Students must also compose a formal email follow-up making connections from the creative writing to the course research.Mini Unit: The Social Network (Week 7)Students will watch individually or attend a screening of the film The Social Network anddiscuss the ways in which the film connects to our course readings and the students’research interests. The students will also collaboratively write a review of the film fromthe perspective of social media students with specific interests in the film and publish it atAmazon.com.Unit 3: Social Media, Corporatism, and Content Communities (Weeks 8-11)This unit will explore the complex relationship between corporate media properties and
consumers’ social media. Reading: Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Henry Jenkins) Assignment: In small groups (3-5) students will identify a local non-profit organization, write an evaluation of their current social media strategies, research alternate social media possibilities and create a formal proposal for a new social media campaign. The proposed campaign should be carefully considered and researched and should include very specific plans for execution.Unit 4: Virtual Worlds (Weeks 12-15)This unit, like the reading, combines research instructions with a discussion of virtualworlds and the role they play in social media. Reading: Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human (Tom Boellstorff) Assignment: The research project assignment encourages students to connect the course content to their field of academics through a research project (either a more traditional paper or a more experimental research form) or a detailed research proposal with the intention of completing the project in a subsequent semester.Homework/In-ClassThroughout the semester you will be asked to complete short in-class or out of classassignments. These can include reading responses or quizzes and are left to the discretionof the instructor. Five points out of the total 20, however, will be determined by thequality of the class’s review of The Social Network.ParticipationThe participation grade is 50% determined based on preparedness and activity level inclass and during discussions and 50% on the quality of responses to the class tumblr. Thecourse tumblr is designed to encourage students to share links to various media thatconnects to our class discussions and research interests and promote active socialengagement.