Syllabaus, Suny It Course, New Media, Draft 3, 23 August20091


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COM418 / IDT 518, course syllabus, Jankowski

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Syllabaus, Suny It Course, New Media, Draft 3, 23 August20091

  1. 1. Nicholas W. Jankowski SUNY IT Adjunct Instructor Visiting Fellow, Virtual Knowledge Studio for the Humanities and Social Sciences Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Email: SUNY Institute of Technology IDT 518 / COM418: New Media Theory & Digital Culture Fall Semester 2009 Draft 3: 23 August 2009 New Media Theory & Digital Culture General Information This course examines a broad panorama of theoretical concepts and media developments related to what is generally known as new media studies. Some of the concepts involved in this emerging field include: community and identity in a virtual world, globalization, transformations in public discourse and changing notions of news production and consumption. These concepts are juxtaposed with a range of media developments, including social network sites (e.g., Friendster, MySpace), open source software developments (e.g., Mozilla Firefox, wikis), and alternative venues for news and information (e.g., Indymedia, blogs). Further, the radical reformulation of scholarship and education is explored through examination of new tool developments (e.g., OneNote, Zotero), virtual learning environments (e.g., Second Life, Blackboard), and through consideration of developments related to e-science, cyberinfrastructure, and e-research. During this course students will read and comment on draft chapters of a textbook being prepared by the instructor about digital media. A large amount of literature will be addressed related to themes in that book. Students will become familiar with digital communication initiatives such as social network sites, blogs and news sources; sessions will be devoted to becoming acquainted with new tools for individual and collaborative scholarship, such as software for virtual meetings, co-authoring, and electronic publishing. Much of the course material will be made available at the online environment maintained by SUNY-IT (called ANGEL, which is similar to the learning environment Blackboard); in addition, students will be expected to actively maintain a course- related blog. The course will involve frequent homework assignments, a written exam, and completion of a term paper that explores concepts and developments introduced in the readings and the course meetings. Twice-weekly meetings will take place with the aid of Internet-based tools; in addition, students will be encouraged to consult with the instructor individually and with other students enrolled in the course as part of online assignments. Upper division students (juniors, seniors) and graduate students are eligible to enroll in the course; graduate students will be expected to perform at a level commensurate with such standing. Online venue This is an online course that is part of the SUNY Learning Network (SNL) and makes use of the ANGEL system, also called SLN ANGEL; introductory information on ANGEL is available here. This system is supplemented by a range of additional online tools, synchronous and asynchronous, to facilitate course activities: blogs, instant messaging, Skype, video conferencing. These will be elaborated during the first sessions of the course. Most meetings will be conducted asynchronously, but there will be some synchronous sessions. During these weekly online meetings the instructor will deliver presentations related to the topics selected per week; homework and reading assignments will also be discussed. Students will be invited to give presentations at various points in the course. 1
  2. 2. Weekly activities In addition to the literature assignments noted above, this seminar involves exploration of a wide array of digital tools for mediated communication, learning, and scholarship. Students will establish blogs for the purpose of regular reflection on materials read and tools examined. Social network sites (e.g., Friendster, MySpace, Linkedln) will be considered for both social and professional applications; other sharing and exchange sites (e.g., YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, Slideshare) will be experimented with; gaming sites will be explored and students are also encouraged to explore various virtual environments (e.g., Second Life) as venues for learning and exchange. Finally, various tools for collaborative work and scholarship (e.g., Blackboard, Zotero wikis, OneNote, Endnote, MediaCommons, MyNetResearch, Instant Messaging, Skype, virtual meeting software, RSS, social bookmarking, tagging) will be examined and integrated into term paper projects. This course is predicated on active participation, albeit in virtual environments, and the grading procedure reflects this principle. Both online discussions and assignments provide opportunity for such participation on a weekly basis. Students will prepare a term paper on a topic related to new media developments and a selection of theoretical concerns. This paper will be primarily based on a literature review and a limited personal exploration of an online venue or of digital tools. The paper will not involve formal social science empirical investigation, but will address topics and research questions in an exploratory fashion. Suggestions for paper topics will be discussed during the first meetings. Preliminary drafts of these papers are to be presented during online synchronous meetings; completed papers are to be submitted at the end of the semester. Collaborative learning environment. A wiki may be constructed in order to facilitate collaborate learning; a decision about this will be taken at the end of the second week of class. Basic information on wikis can be found at a site prepared for a course on participatory media at the University of California, Berkeley; other information on working with wikis can be found at an embedded link. As mentioned above, a personal blog is to be established for this course by each student and serves, in fact, as a journal with which students are expected to reflect on the topics of the course. Posts may be short and address a wide range of issues in an equally wide range of styles: opinions, reflections, reviews, and synopses of readings. These blogs are designed to share ideas in rough, unpolished form and to serve as indicators of attending to the weekly literature assignments and topics. Frequent posts should reflect ‘discoveries’ made during Web searches and include the URLs of sites found. Comments are also expected on a weekly basis to the postings of the other students in the seminar. Basic information for initiation a blog may be found at: starting a blog. It is recommended that blogs maintained by the instructor as part of graduate-level seminars taught in Ljubljana, Slovenia, be consulted here and here. Literature Two books, indicated below, serve as the basic texts for the course. Please note: although the first edition (2003) of the Lister textbook is no longer available from the publisher, it may be used for the course; possible differences between the two editions will be indicated during class sessions. • Lister, M., Dovey, J., Giddings, S., Grant, I., & Kelly, K. (2009). New Media: A Critical Introduction. Second edition. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22378-4 (pbk). Text website: • Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogging. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. ISBN-13: 978-0-7456-4134-8 (pbk). Book series website: Both of these texts should be purchased. In addition, students will be expected to read drafts of chapters being prepared for the book Digital Media: Concepts and Issues, Research and Resources. These chapters will be made available at the online venue for the course. Finally, a wide variety of materials – journal articles, trade magazine publications, online audio and video presentations – will be assigned per week. Some of these additional assignments are indicated in the weekly schedule below. 2
  3. 3. Term paper The term paper is an exercise intended to reflect quality academic work. The papers should consider an explicitly formulated problem and research question(s) that are related to theories/concepts relevant to new media studies. The papers will present reviews of literature and may include relatively informal experiences/observations of relevant online venues and/or digital tools. The papers may conclude with suggestions for theoretical or conceptual refinement and suggestions for more formal empirical study. Although length is not a criterion of quality, it is recommended that papers be prepared in the range 5-7000 words and that they not exceed 8000 words all-in (abstract, text, notes, references and illustrations). Students are encouraged to utilize hyperlinks in the papers and to consider multimedia components and forms of Web-based publication. Below is a list of possible seminar paper topics; this list is illustrative and is not intended to be restrictive. • Second Life as learning environment: What are the issues, problems, and experiences in incorporating Second Life into university learning situations? • Blogs as mode for creative expression: How are blogs used in secondary and higher education writing courses, with what objectives, limitations and successes? • Collaborative scholarship: What venues and tools are available for distant collaboration among scientists and scholars; what are the experiences with research groups that have utilized such tools? • Transformations in academic publishing: How are journals in communications and other disciplines reacting to the new possibilities for Internet-based multimedia publication, with what problems and accomplishments? • Online communities: in what manner do virtual communities reflect and relate to ‘real life’ communities? • Identity exploration and construction: How are game and social networking environments utilized for the purposes of exploration of self identity? • Digital activism: How and with what problems / successes are new media incorporated into social movement actions? • Online news & information: what contribution do blogs and other forms of ‘citizen journalism’ make to public awareness and action? How are traditional media reacting to and incorporating the Internet into their ‘products’? • Digital libraries & resources: How are the objectives and operating procedures of depositories of knowledge and culture (research and national libraries, museums) changing in a digital environment? • Globalization & commercialization: what are the tensions and societal concerns regarding the globalization of information and the increasingly commercial exploitation of the Web? Grading The course grade will be based on the following components of the course: • contributions to class discussions 20% • homework assignments 40% • presentations 10% • seminar paper 30% Preparation for initial online meetings during Week 1 (24-30 August) The online asynchronous meetings to be held during the first week of class are opportunities to share experiences some students may already have had with new media and digital tools, to consider individual and collective learning objectives, and to informally explore ideas for term papers. Please consider the following topics and questions as you prepare for the two online meetings planned for Week 1: • What is your academic and professional background and what are your personal learning objectives with regard to this seminar? • What experiences have you had with digital communication environments and online learning tools 3
  4. 4. such as: social network sites, peer-to-peer communication, collaborative tools, digital libraries, online literature resources, and social science databases? • What tentative ideas do you have for a seminar paper? Please prepare short (maximum one page) statements on these and any other introductory topics/concerns you may have. At the end of the week, these statements will be posted on one or more online venues: individual personal blogs, the course blog, or a folder created on the ANGEL site. Planning: tentative; subject to revision The following overview indicates the topics to be addressed each week. Please note that two ‘intermezzos’ have been included that allow for student ‘attendance’ of presentations by Jankowski at a professional conference and a research project in Korea. Week Activity 1 (24 Aug. -30 Aug.) Introduction to course 2 (31 Aug. - 6 Sept.) Introduction: digital media; key concepts 3 (31 Aug. - 6 Sept.) History: digital media Monday, 7 Sept. Labor Day holiday: no class 4 (12 Sept.) Intermezzo: e-publishing 4 (7 Sept. - 13 Sept.) Technologies of digitalization 5 (14 Sep.-20 Sept.) Community & digital media 6 (21 Sept. - 27 Sept.) Intermezzo: e-research 6 (21 Sept. - 27 Sept.) Identity & digital media 7 (28 Sept. - 4 Oct.) Politics, Policy & Regulation 8 (5 Oct. - 11 Oct.) News & Information, Public Discourse 9 (12 Oct. - 18 Oct.) Literary & Artistic Expression 10 (19 Oct.-25 Oct.) Entertainment industry 11 (26 Oct. - 61 Nov.) Commercial interests 12 (2 Nov. - 8 Nov.) Education & scholarship 14 (9 Nov. - 15 Nov.) Review: digital resources 15 (16 Nov. - 22 Nov.) Review: concepts & developments, areas for research 16 (23 Nov. - 24 Nov.) Presentations of student projects 25-29 Nov. Thanksgiving Holiday Recess 17 (30 Nov. - 5 Dec.) Presentation of student projects 7-10 Dec. Final Exam period Course overview by week In this overview abstracts are provided for the topics to be covered, usually through presentations by the instructor. Active participation of students is expected during these meetings and this will be facilitated through homework and in-class activities (not indicated in overview). For some sessions extensive lists of supplementary resources are noted, which may be useful in preparing individual term papers. Week 1 (24 Aug. -30 Aug.) Informal Introduction The meetings during week 1 are devoted to ‘getting acquainted’ and clarifying the course objectives and activities to be undertaken during the course (see assignment above). There will not be a formal presentation, but synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for exchange. There will be no reading assignment for the meetings in Week 1. Week 2 (31 Aug. - 6 Sept.) Presentation: Panorama of an Emerging Field This presentation, based on the introductory chapter to Digital Media, sets the stage for the book and provides an overview of developments, characteristics and issues related to digital studies. A definition is offered for digital studies and digital media, and comparisons made with related developments including new media, multimedia and Internet studies. Through this definitional exercise, the importance and centrality of digitalization is indicated as well as the rationale for a new field of study. This chapter outlines 4
  5. 5. how the book is organized and its relation to a Web site complementing the text. Presentation: Key Concepts The main features and characteristics of digital media are elaborated in this presentation, including the distinction between: digital and analogue forms of information; the place of computers and electronic networks in digital media; the notions information highway, information society, interactivity and convergence; reformulations of being and virtuality, space and time. Reading • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 1-43 • Silver, D. (2006). Introduction, where is Internet Studies? Critical Cyberculture Studies, 1-14. New York: New York University Press. Available at: Supplementary resources • Gauntlett, D. (2004). Introduction. Web.Studies, 2nd ed. Available at: • Cover, R. Audience inter/active: Interactive media, narrative control and reconceiving audience history. New Media & Society, 8(1):139–158. • Web site maintained by David Gauntlett, co-author of Web.Studies: • Lallana, E. C., & Uy, M. N. (2003). The Information Age. UNDP-APDIP. Available at: • Yochai Benkler . The Wealth of Networks. Available at: Week 3 (31 Aug. - 6 Sept.) Presentation: Evolution of Digital Media The development of digital media and digital forms of communication has been an ongoing process across decades and has been situated within social, cultural and political contexts as well as technological constraints. This complex interplay of contexts, technologies and actors is examined in this chapter. Major landmarks are identified and related to social and cultural ramifications regarding media and communication. Some of the key actors in this process are profiled. The chapter concludes with a sketch of the contemporary landscape of digital media and communication. Readings • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 44-58 • Leiner, B. M. et al. (2003). A Brief History of the Internet. version 3.32 Last revised 10 Dec 2003. Available at: Supplementary resources • Crawford, S. (1983). The origin and development of a concept: the information society. Bull Med Libr Assoc. October; 71(4): 380–385. Available at: artid=227258&pageindex=5#page • See various Wikipedia articles, including: - - - WWW History Project: Week 4 (7 Sept. - 13 Sept.) Presentation: Technologies of Digitalization Technology, as related to digital media, involves the hardware and software of computers, electronic networks, telephony, information storage and retrieval devices, and other information and communication innovations. The military origins of the Internet, for example, are noted as are the “browser wars” and the 5
  6. 6. subsequent emergence of the open source movement. The development and conflicts between rival computer operating systems are profiled as well as some of the economic struggles of major players. Some of the technologies under consideration for presentation in this chapter include Web browsers and search engines, mobile telephony, electronic networks, data and text processing, and data storage devices. Intermezzo: Jankowski will be giving a keynote lecture at the annual conference of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, Friday 11 September, entitled “The Enhanced Journal Article: Illustrations of, and Challenges to, Web-based Innovations.” The lecture will be recorded and available as a ‘webinar’ for students in the course. Presentation abstract: Publishers, editors, and authors have been exploring ways to utilize the potentials of Web-based publishing for many years, but concern has accelerated, partly because of the current crisis in scholarly publishing. This presentation reviews some of the rationales for Web-based journal publishing and describes initiatives from publishers and editors, primarily in the social sciences and humanities. Although most initiatives seem to accentuate only a few of the possible Web functionalities, a handful of journals are experimenting with a wide range of Web features. These innovative titles are illustrated in this presentation, along with consideration of the many challenges facing journal publishers and editors interested in developing opportunities for the enhanced article. One of the innovations examined closely is International Journal of Learning and Media, a title recently launched by MIT Press. Reading • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 59-92 • Additional readings to be announced Supplementary resources • Internet and World Wide Web History, • The World Wide Web History Project, • Wikipedia: Web Browser, • Matisse Enzer. (1994-2006). Glossary of Internet Terms. • Getting the Best out of Cyberspace. The Information Society Library. • Wikipedia: Week 5 (14 Sep.-20 Sept.) Presentation: Community & Digital Media One of the central foci of Internet studies, and by default digital studies, relates to the sociological concept community. Since the early social experiments with computers and the Internet in the 1960s, scholars have been examining online environments and their detrimental as well as liberating potential. Similarly with community: academics have debated the possibility of regaining ‘lost’ community through Internet-based constructions and have coined a term especially for this situation: virtual community. Much empirically- grounded study has been undertaken around the claims and characteristics of these online communities. This presentation reviews this work and, at the same time, introduces the wide range of online communities, encompassing online games and dating sites, specialized discussion groups and digital cities, learning and work environments. Both geographically-based communities and communities of interest are included in this review of related literature. The chapter concludes with indication of expected developments in online communities and suggestions for further study. Readings • Jankowski, N. W. (2007). Community & Identity Online. Distance Learning Division, Centre for Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester. • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 164-180 Supplementary resources 6
  7. 7. • Amy Bruckman, (2006), "A New Perspective on "Community" and its Implications for Computer- Mediated Communication Systems," In Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Extended Abstracts (pp. 616-621). Montréal, Québec, 22-27 April, 2006. available online. • Ronald E. Rice, James E. Katz, Sophia Acord, Kiku Dasgupta, Kalpana David, (2004) "Personal Mediated Communication and the Concept of Community in Theory and Practice," in P. Kalbfleisch (ed), Communication and Community, Communication Yearbook 28, Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp 1-10. • Robin Hamman, Introduction to Virtual Communities Research and Cybersociology Magazine Issue Two, available online. • Amy Bruckman, (2006), "A New Perspective on "Community" and its Implications for Computer- Mediated Communication Systems," In Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Extended Abstracts (pp. 616-621). Montréal, Québec, 22-27 April, 2006. Available online. • Video on What defines community? • Wikipedia on Sense of community • Wikipedia on Community Week 6 (21 Sept. - 27 Sept.) Presentation: Culture, Identity & Social Relations As with the concept community, the notion of identity has been central in scholarly discourse since arrival of the Internet and has spurned a wide range of ideas as to how the notion of identity is undergoing transformation. Some consider online environments as providing opportunity for identity experimentation, liberation and, in the process, self-realization. Online communities, others argue, provide the bedrock for regaining a quality of life missing from much of modern society: a sense of collective feeling and appreciation for the other. At the same time, others point to a potentially dark site to these developments. Online settings seem to permit lack of accountability and responsibility for actions taken, particularly through ability to engage anonymously. Online relations tend to take on a fluid and fleeting character and, as such, lose permanence and lasting value – characteristics of the postmodern condition. These issues are presented in this chapter and illustrated with social networking sites and other identity-oriented sites (e.g., personal Web pages, YouTube, Facebook, Friendster). Where applicable, these illustrations are related to empirically-based studies. Intermezzo: e-research & social media. Jankowski will be taking part in the World Class University (WCU) project at YeungNam University in the Republic of Korea, 21-25 September. Two of the planned activities are relevant to students taking this class: a lecture on e-research and a master class on social media. The lecture will be made available online; arrangements are being made for students in the SUNY-IT course to attend the master class via web seminar technologies. Abstracts of these activities are noted below. More detailed information is available at the WCU Project Group Blog. Lecture: Social Science Research Practice in the Digital Age (21 September) Abstract: No less than a revolutionary transformation of the scientific enterprise is claimed to be underway. This transformation extends beyond the natural sciences, where ‘e-science’ has become the modus operandi, and is penetrating the domain of the social sciences and humanities, sometimes with differences in accent and label. A plethora of phrases have been coined to describe this transformation: e-science, e-social science, e-research, cyberinfrastructure, cyberscience, Internet-mediated research. Some observers suggest that the very essence of scholarship is changing, particularly through employment of electronic networks and high- speed computers – two of the conventionally noted components of e-science. The everyday procedures and practices of traditional forms of scholarship are said to be affected by these and other features of e-science. Especially affected are the following aspects: internationally-oriented collaboration among researchers separated by distance and using high-speed computers and Internet-based tools for managing the research enterprise; for performing data collection, archiving and analysis; and for disseminating findings. This presentation reviews these developments, and accentuates changes in scholarly communication and publishing. Master Class: Social Media in Korea (21 September) 7
  8. 8. Abstract: This workshop is held in “master class style” and involves discussion among advanced undergraduate and graduate students interested in the study of social network sites and other social media. The two-hour seminar will begin with a relatively short presentation (ca. 20 minutes) by the WCU project visiting scholar (Jankowski). The presentation will be based on a draft chapter for a forthcoming textbook on digital media. Participants in this master class will be expected to read the draft text prior to the meeting and submit commentary on the work. Additional preliminary readings will be assigned related to social network sites and other social media. Most of the seminar will be devoted to discussion of these texts and to reflection on the meaning of social media for Korean youth and possibilities for empirical research. Information on this workshop is available here, part of the WCU Project YeungNam University blog. Readings • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 219-259 • Jankowski, N. (2009). The contours and challenges of e-research. In N. W. Jankowski (ed.) e-Research: Transformations in Scholarly Practice, pp. 3-34. New York: Routledge. • boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. Supplementary resources • Jankowski, N. W. (2007). Exploring e-science: An introduction. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), article 10. • Schroeder, R., and Fry, J. (2007). Social science approaches to e-Science: Framing an agenda. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), article 11. • Edwards, P. et al. (2007). Understanding Infrastructure: Dynamics, Tensions, and Design. Available at: • Issue First Monday devoted to exploration of concept ‘cyberinfrastructure’: • Our Cultural Commonwealth: Final Report of the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences. • Hargittai, E. (2007). Whose space? Differences among users and non-users of social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 14. • Kennedy, H. (2006). Beyond anonymity, or future directions for internet identity research. New Media & Society, 8 (6): 859 - 876. • McMillan, S. J., & Morrison, M. (2006). Coming of age with the internet: A qualitative exploration of how the internet has become an integral part of young people’s lives. New Media & Society, 8 (2): 73 - 95. • Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community Judith S. Donath MIT Media Lab Prepared for: Kollock, P. and Smith M. (Eds.). Communities in Cyberspace. London: Routledge. Available at: • boyd, danah. 2006. "Identity Production in a Networked Culture: Why Youth Heart MySpace." American Association for the Advancement of Science, St. Louis, MO. February 19. AAAS2006.html • See other publications by danah boyd: • "Constructions and Reconstructions of Self in Virtual Reality." Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1, 3, Summer 1994. (Reprinted in Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation, Timothy Druckrey (ed.) Aperture Foundation, 1996 and Culture of the Internet, Sara Kiesler (ed.). Hilldale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997.) • Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on the Internet • psychology of cyberspace 8
  9. 9. • Moinian, F. (2006). The Construction of Identity on the Internet: Oops! I’ve left my diary open to the whole world! Childhood, 13 (2): 49 - 68. • Miah, A. (2005). Book Review: Virtual Worlds: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cybertechnology. Media, Culture & Society, 27 (7): 626 - 630. Week 7 (28 Sept. - 4 Oct.) Presentation: Politics, Policy & Regulation A broad range of issues and developments in digital studies are related to politics, political action, government and regulation. New terms have been coined (e.g., e-democracy, e-governance, e-voting), new initiatives and political movements developed (e.g., Creative Commons, cyberactivism, Indymedia), and new concepts formulated (e.g., digital divide, copyleft). Policy and regulation of Internet-based content, at the national and international level, is a booming area of concern and scholarship, and ranges from concern for child molesting on Internet sites, pornography, terrorist recruitment, and copyright infringement, and Internet governance. This presentation introduces the central issues and innovations related to political life and government policy and regulation. Readings • Bentivegna , S. (2006). Rethinking Politics in the World of ICTs. European Journal of Communication, 21 (9): 331 - 343. • Additional readings to be announced Supplementary resources • Joke Hermes, J. (2006). Citizenship in the Age of the Internet. European Journal of Communication, (9): 295 - 309. • See seminar project on cyberactivism: wt1/www/S_Andrychuk/index.htm • See review of: Martha McCaughey & Michael D. Ayers (2003) (eds.). Cyberactivism: Online Activism in Theory and Practice, Edited by New York: Routledge, available at: http://www.cjc- • See information on seminars being given by Howard Rheingold at Stanford and Berkeley: • Kuipers, G. (2006). The social construction of digital danger: debating, defusing and inflating the moral dangers of online humor and pornography in the Netherlands and the United States. New Media & Society, 8 (6): 379 - 400. • Itsuko Yamaguchi Cyberlaw. Theory, Culture & Society, 5 2006; vol. 23: pp. 529 - 531. • Halavais, A. (2005). Book Review: net.seXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography and the Internet. New Media & Society, 7 (10): 727 - 728. • Mark D. Griffiths, M., & Parke, J. (2002). The Social Impact of Internet Gambling. Social Science Computer Review, 20 (8): 312 - 320. Week 8 (5 Oct. - 11 Oct.) Presentation: News & Information, Public Discourse Presentation topics include: Indymedia, citizens journalism, online media (e.g., newspapers, radio and TV stations), alternative media, community media, OurMedia, blogs. Readings • Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogging, pp. 84-110; 155-160. • Salter, L. (2006). Democracy & Online News: Indymedia and the Limits of Participatory Media. Scan Journal 3 (1). Available at: Supplementary resources • Pickard, V. W. (2006). Assessing the Radical Democracy of Indymedia: Discursive, Technical, and Institutional Constructions. Critical Studies in Media Communication. 23(1): 19-38. Available at: 9
  10. 10. • Herring, S. C., Kouper, I., Paolillo, J. C., Scheidt, L. A., Tyworth, M., Welsch, P., Wright, E., and Yu, N. (2005). Conversations in the blogosphere: An analysis "from the bottom up." Proceedings of the Thirty- Eighth Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38). Los Alamitos: IEEE Press. http:// • Lasica, J. D. What is Participatory Journalism? Online Journalism Review. Available at: • Bibliographies on Weblogs:, • Ward, R. (2006). Blogs and wikis: A personal journey. Business Information Review, 23 (12): 235 - 240. • Quiggin, J. (2006). Blogs, wikis and creative innovation. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 9 (12): 481 - 496. • Raghavan, S. (2006). Blogs and Business Conversations. Journal of Creative Communications, 1 (11): pp. 285 - 295. • Bromley, M. (2006). Journalism and Democracy: An Evaluation of the Political Public Sphere. European Journal of Communication, 21 (3)) 108 - 110. • Graves, L. (2007). The Affordances of Blogging: A Case Study in Culture and Technological Effects. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 31 (10): pp. 331 - 346. • OURMedia resources: • Overview article citizens journalism: • Viegas, F. B. (2005). Bloggers' expectations of privacy and accountability: An initial survey. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(3), article 12. • Bowers, C., & Stoller, M. (2005). Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere: A New Force in American Politics. August 10th. Available at: • Halavais, A. (2005). Book Review: net.seXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography and the Internet. New Media & Societ, 7 (10): 727 - 728. Week 9 (12 Oct. - 18 Oct.) Presentation: Literary & Artistic Expression The Internet and the Web are often associated with opportunities for expression – personal, artistic and literary. In some respects, these opportunities are seen as a rebirth of the Enlightenment; the Wikipedia project is perhaps the main initiative in this area, which is further grounded in idealistic notions of collective engagement. At the same time, postmodernist notions are prominent in the dissolution of conventional narrative structure through hyperlinking, providing opportunities for readers to create their own beginning, middle and end to texts, and in that respect to embrace functions traditionally reserved for authors: readers become, quite literally, authors. This chapter explores these aspects, the related concepts, and provides illustrations of cyber writing (e.g., cyberpunk, e-zines). Some of the classics of cyber literature are introduced as well as literary studies on these and other works. Readings • Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogging, pp. 1-54. Supplementary readings and resources • Cresser, F., Gunn, L., & Balme, L. (2001). Women's experiences of on-line e-zine publication. Media, Culture & Society, 7; vol. 23: pp. 457 - 473. • Thomas, S. (2006). The End of Cyberspace and Other Surprises. Convergence, 12 (11): 383 - 391. Week 10 (19 Oct.-25 Oct.) Presentation: online games & entertainment One of the core areas of business, engagement and societal concern is computer and online games. Some online games have hundreds of thousands of players often engaged simultaneously; some, like Neopets, cater to the very young; others, like Second Life, are designed mainly for young adults and provide, as the name implies, simulation of alternate environments and life styles. The development of these games are sketched in this chapter, tracing their emergence from the early stand alone computer games like Pac-Man, 10
  11. 11. through the period of Multi User Dungeons (MUDs), to the present generation of multimedia virtual reality arenas. Concerns associated with these developments are also discussed, including use bordering on addiction and preponderance of violence-oriented and sexist games. Recent studies exploring the worlds of gamers are presented. A second important topic in this chapter discusses how initially innocuous recreational exchange of materials – mainly music but also, software, texts and films – led to the emergence of commercial enterprises that challenged the ownership rights of established industries – software developers, music and film companies, publishing houses. This struggle between individual right to receive and share information, on the one hand, and intellectual rights of ownership represented by publishing companies is portrayed in this chapter through presentation of case histories. Some of these histories involve policy and regulation and are related to issues elaborated in Chapter 6. Readings • Lister et al., (pages refer to 1st edition), pp. 97-159 Supplementary readings and resources [To be announced] Week 11 (26 Oct. - 61 Nov.) Presentation: Commerce & Industry The commercial importance of the Internet is difficult to underestimate and has been considered comparable to the industrial era of the 19th century. At the same time, that importance has been considered a dot-com bubble, bound to burst – as it, indeed, did in the late 1990s. Market developments in the mid-2000s suggest an economic rebound, signaled by recent large sum acquisitions. Economic interest in information and communication technologies more generally, including computer hardware and software, mobile telephony, and the technologies and services associated with telephony via landlines and cable, constitute the backbone of the Information Age. Some of the largest computer and Internet-oriented corporations are considered the centerpieces of the global information economy. These developments are presented in this chapter through a sketch of the evolutionary development of e-commerce over the past decades. Some of the problems associated with this development are also discussed: monopoly forming and industrial imperialism, secure online transactions and development of profitable business models for online enterprises. Readings • Walker Rettberg, J. (2008). Blogging, pp. 127-154. • Additional readings to be announced Supplementary resources • Tredinnick, L. (2006). Web 2.0 and Business: A pointer to the intranets of the future? Business Information Review, 23 (12): 228 - 234. • Additional resources to be announced Week 12, (2 Nov. - 8 Nov.) Presentation: Education & Scholarship New courses and degree programs are being introduced with terms like “new media,” “cyberculture,” and “Internet studies” in the titles and specially tailored research institutions are emerging around the world (e.g., Center for Digital Media). Although very much in flux, these changes in academia tend to follow the pre-existing contours of institutions and disciplines, and are, as a consequence, seldom revolutionary in nature. Still, the degree of change remains substantial: online-only courses are being developed, digital library resources and becoming commonplace, forms of student engagement and collaboration are multiplying with creation of online environments (e.g., Blackboard). Alongside these education-oriented developments, scholarship is increasingly dependent on computers and electronic networks, and academics are embracing new terminology to describe the research enterprise: e-science, e-research, cyberinfrastructure. This chapter introduces these transformations, extending them from early initiatives 11
  12. 12. with Internet studies to more general programs about digital studies. New methodologies and practices for performing scholarship in virtually all sectors of academia – the natural sciences, social sciences and the humanities – are affected and some of these are illustrated in this chapter. A few of the more developed research tools (e.g., online surveys) and approaches to research (e.g. virtual ethnography) are considered, along with some of the problematic challenges, including ethical considerations in conducting online research and Web archiving problems. Readings [To be announced] Supplementary readings and resources [To be announced] Week 13 (9 Nov. - 15 Nov.) Review: Digital Resources This material, arranged in a series of book appendices, is practical in nature and provides information helpful in making use of digital libraries, electronic resources, educational and research institutions on the Web; online sources of data; resources for collecting, archiving and analyzing data; and online publishing opportunities. Illustrations are provided of exemplary resources (e.g., Digital Scholarship, Pew Internet & American Life Project). Some of the more prominent scholarly journals relevant to digital studies are presented and a list is included in Appendix B. • Appendix A: Educational and research institutions with programs in digital studies; • Appendix B: Periodicals related to digital studies (online & print-based); • Appendix C: Special depots of materials for study (e.g., RCCR, databases, study-oriented Web sites). Readings [To be announced] Supplementary resources [To be announced] Week 14 & 15 (23 Nov. - 29 Nov., 30 Nov. - 5 Dec.) Online presentations of student projects [Procedures to be announced] 12