Syllabus




WEEK 00 - BEFORE CLASS BEGINS

Some tools to help you out with the course



Readings

  1. Dan Gillmor, “Principles for a new media literacy,” Berkman Center for Internet & Society (2008).
  2. Mindy McAdams, “Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency,” University of Florida College of Journalism & Communications (2009).

You will likely want to refer to these two reference articles all through the course, so I've put them at the front of your reader for easy access.







WEEK 01 - starting Monday, January 23, 2012
Introduction



Readings (also skim the first two reference articles in your reader)

  1. Langdon Winner, “Who will we be in cyberspace?” The Information Society 12 (1996).
  2. James Fallows, “Learning to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media,” The Atlantic (April 2011).

Discussion section

  • Introduction to your TA
  • Introduction to assignments
  • How to get the most out of the readings
  • Divide students into three groups - interactive caucus!
  • Time for groups to exchange contact information
  • Preview assignments due next week



Assignments due in section

  • No article assignment due.  Just make sure to purchase your reader this week.
  • No online assignment due.  Just make sure to access the course blog and read the syllabus.



Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Created a shared online workspace.  Set up your Google Documents space and invite all of your group members, your TA, and your professor.  (We have a campus-wide subscription to Google Documents which you can read about at the DoIT page on Google Apps.)
  • Explore your options for blogging and wiki systems.  Review the following four blogging and wiki platforms: Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, and PBWorks.  Start a discussion on your Google Documents about which system you should use for this course. 



WEEK 02 - starting Monday, January 30, 2012
Amateur media and new media

Readings
  1. Stephen Dumcombe, “Zines” and “Consumption,” in Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (1997).
  2. Christina Dunbar-Hester, “‘Free the spectrum!’  Activist encounters with old and new media technology,” New Media & Society 11 (2009).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings.  You will have your one-page reading summary/critique with you, so everyone should have something good to say.
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting.  Since you will be meeting for discussion in the computer lab, you will be able to work "live" on your collaborative web site.
  • Preview assignments due next week

Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Exploring the blogosphere.  Explore the Dane 101 blog aggregator (http://dane101.net/) to get a feel for some local blogs.  What blogs strike you as well-designed and visually appealing?  Why?  What blogs strike you as well-informed and loaded with interesting, useful, or provocative content?  Why?  What blogs seem to have vibrant community participation (comments, backlinks, blogrolls, whatever)?  Why?  Write up a one-page, single-spaced summary of your travels in the blogosphere and what you found that you would like to incorporate (or avoid) in your own collaborative blog.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Pick your topic.  Settle on a topic, angle, or "voice" for your blog that relates to "media fluency" somehow.  You might want to browse ahead in your reader to see what kinds of issues we'll be dealing with in class, and to think about how you might interpret or spin those issues in a unique way or from a unique perspective.
  • Narrow your target market.  Settle on an audience for your blog that narrows the "university undergraduate" market.  You may want to focus on demographic traits (men? women? first-generation college students?) or interest-based ("psychographic") traits like political junkies, techies, non-techies, outdoorsy types, kitten enthusiasts, or whatever.




WEEK 03 - starting Monday, February 06, 2012
The blogosphere

Readings
  1. Paul Levinson, “Blogging,” in New New Media (2009).
  2. Lori Kido Lopez, “The radical act of ‘mommy blogging’: Redefining motherhood through the blogosphere,” New Media & Society 11 (2009).
Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week


Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Self-stalking your digital puppet.  All students need to thoroughly search their current online personas to decide how much to protect their privacy in the blog assignment.  Use Google to search all combinations of your name (first/last, first initial/last, etc.).  Search Google for your current phone number, and your three previous phone numbers.  Search Google for your email address.  Search Facebook from a computer other than your own to see what comes up on your public profile.  Write up a one-page, single-spaced reaction to the amount of information you were able to find out about yourself online, and turn it in to your TA.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Decide how you will represent yourself on your blog: real names, pseudonyms, or anonymous
  • Decide how you will divide up the work of blog curation (every student must post at least one item to the blog each week; that posting may be a reworking of one of your one-page assignments, though)
  • Decide how you will allow comments on your blog: real names, pseudonyms, or anonymous
  • Decide how you will divide up the work of comment moderation (all comments must be moderated)





WEEK 04 - starting Monday, February 13, 2012
Wiki labor

Readings
  1. Clay Shirky, “Personal motivation meets collaborative production,” in Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (2008).
  2. Daniel Kreiss, Megan Finn and Fred Turner, “The limits of peer production: Some reminders from Max Weber for the network society,” New Media & Society 13 (2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Fact-check a wikipedia or wikia entry.  Pick a topic that you have studied or are studying at the UW, and find a wikipedia or wikia entry related to that topic.  Fact-check the wikipedia entry using at least three outside sources.  You may want to consider not only whether everything stated in the wikipedia article correct, but whether or not the article takes the correct tone, provides the correct emphasis, or focuses on the most salient aspects of the topic.  Is it useful, or trivial?  Visit the "talk" page for the article; has there been controversy among the article authors?  Write up a one-page, single-spaced set of results of your analysis and turn it in to your TA in section.  For one-half extra credit point, edit the wikipedia article in order to improve it, and turn in a printed version of the article with your edit highlighted.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Choose a blogging platform, create your site, and name it (something catchy, something easy to remember).  You may choose from Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, PBWorks, or whatever other tool your group decides to use.  (However, despite its limitations, you will get the best support from the instructors if you use Blogger.)
  • Pick a template for your blog and customize it with your own choices of fonts, colors, etc.  You may also want to design some unique graphics to add.
  • Add authors to your blog under the privacy rules your group agreed on
  • Enable comments on your blog under the privacy rules you agreed on
  • Set up comment moderation; how will you divide this labor?
  • Fill in the descriptive metadata for your blog




WEEK 05 - starting Monday, February 20, 2012
The wisdom of crowds?

Readings
  1. Roy Rosenzweig, “Can history be open source?  Wikipedia and the future of the past,” Journal of American History 93 (2006).
  2. Sabine Niederer and Jos√© van Dijck, “Wisdom of the crowd or technicity of content?  Wikipedia as a sociotechnical system,” New Media & Society 12 (2010).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Online narrative techniques and determining their truth value.  Your Uncle Beauregard from Seattle has just emailed you a link to the very professional-looking web site of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus [http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus] writing "My friend had one of these in her backyard!"  Visit this site and write a one-page, single-spaced email back to your Uncle suggesting several effective clues or techniques that he might have used to determine whether this web site was telling the truth.  But be kind to your Uncle as well; point out several aspects of the site that you think do the best job of fooling the reader, and sympathize with his misunderstanding.  

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Each group blog needs to go live this week.  Email your blog address to your TA and professor.  Remember: THIS IS A PUBLIC WEB SITE THAT THE WHOLE INTERNET CAN SEE.  Be certain about your choices of identity/pseudonymity/anonymity before you go live with your site.
  • Each student must post something substantive to their group blog to start things off with lots of content, such as your summaries/critiques of the readings to date, or your online assignment write-ups.  (You may want to pace your posts so they don't all appear on the same day, to keep the site looking lively.  Can you forward-date posts so you add them now but they appear an hour or a day later?)  
  • We will post all the blog addresses on the main page of the course web site.  Visit your competing student blogs to see what ideas they have used and whether you will be in direct competition with them.  Begin to engage in conversation with them through their commenting feature.





WEEK 06 - starting Monday, February 27, 2012
The search engine

Readings
  1. Alex Wright, “The web that wasn’t,” in Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages (2007).
  2. Evgeny Morozov, “Don’t be evil,” The New Republic (August 04, 2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Using Web of Science.  The Google algorithm — that links between web resources are an indicator of value — is based on an old idea from the Science Citation Index of the mid 20th century.  Today the Science Citation Index is online as "Web of Science."  Find your professors from this semester and last semester in Web of Science and trace their publications.  Who cites them?  What is their "influence" as measured by the web of citations?  Who was your most influential professor?  Your least?  Does this citation assessment match up with your assessment of them from your classroom experience?

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Weekly posting.  Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means of participation they offer to you). 
  • Set up analytics for your blog.  We'll discuss this in lecture or section.
  • Set up the RSS feed on your blog.  You should also each choose an RSS reader software or service (like the free, online Google Reader) and sign up to follow all the other student blogs and the main class blog.  
  • Take some time to summarize all the decisions you've made so far about your blog.  Write these down in your shared Google document so you can refer to them later.  (You may also want to include these in your final project "digital artifact" report.)





WEEK 07 - starting Monday, March 05, 2012
Online revenue

Readings
  1. Fernando Bermejo, “Audience manufacture in historical perspective: From broadcasting to Google,” New Media & Society 11 (2009).
  2. Ira Basen, “Age of the algorithm,” Maisonneuve (May 09, 2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Surveying and blocking online advertisements.  Pick two news or information web sites that you regularly visit.  Make a survey of all the online advertisements that are presented on these web sites, not just on the front page, but on the subsequent pages of their top article for the day.  Print out a copy of the pages you visit, for reference later.  Then install ad-blocking, flash-blocking, and/or image-blocking software for your machine.  Now revisit those web sites and describe how they have changed.  Write up a one-page, single-spaced account of your experiment and whether you would continue to use blocking software in the future.  Also turn in printed copies of one of the site front pages, both before and after use of blocking techniques.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Weekly posting.  Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means of participation they offer to you). 
  • Check your analytics.  Are you getting the response to your blog that you expected?  Where are your visitors coming from?  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work; this will come in handy at the end when you write up your final project report as a "digital artifact".
  • FORGET ABOUT THE ADSENSE STUFF.  We won't be doing that this semester, unfortunately.





WEEK 08 - starting Monday, March 12, 2012
Intellectual property



SPECIAL GUEST LECTURE
Professor Lew Friedland
School of Journalism & Mass Communication
See http://www.madisoncommons.org/

Readings
  1. Marc Garcelon, “An information commons?  Creative Commons and public access to cultural creations,” New Media & Society 11 (2009).
  2. Lawrence Lessig, “For the love of culture,” The New Republic (January 26, 2010).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Experiencing online education.  Visit the UW-Madison iTunes University web page and use it to link into the iTunes University downloadable content for UW-Madison.  View a talk or lecture that is at least 25 minutes long.  Then write a summary and critique of the experience.  I'm especially interested in whether you think this mode of educational delivery would or wouldn't work with the kinds of courses that you have taken at UW-Madison so far.  And since we're talking about intellectual property this week: Who should own this intellectual property?  Is it worth paying for?  Is it important for a state research university to provide such material for free?  Or should a state research university be charging audiences for such material, in order to keep tuition rates and tax burdens on the state residents at a minimum?

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you). 
  • Check your analytics.  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work.
  • Set up a Facebook page for your blog.  Decide  how often you will update it, and who will do that work.  How will you track the response?






WEEK 09 - starting Monday, March 19, 2012
Do-it-yourself education?

Readings
  1. Kevin Carey, “College for $99 a month,” Washington Monthly (September/October 2009).
  2. Anya Kamenetz, “The Edupunks’ Guide to a DIY Credential,” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Finding information that's not online.  Find an article (research journal article, analytic newspaper article, serious magazine article, or scholarly book chapter) that is on the topic of the Internet or new media, but not available (at least, not to you) on the Internet, and acquire a digital copy of that article.  In a one-page, single-spaced write-up, document the steps you took to (a) find the article, (b) ensure that it was not available to you online, and (c) find out how to get it offline, (d) digitize it, (e) use optical character recognition software to make your text searchable, and (f) save the file to MyWebSpace and give veselenak@wisc.edu or gdowney@wisc.edu permission to view it. Paste the full URL of your file at the end of your write-up.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you). 
  • Check your analytics.  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work.
  • Set up a Twitter feed for your blog.  Decide  how often you will update it, and who will do that work.  How will you measure the response?





WEEK 10 -  starting Monday, March 26, 2012
FIRST EXAM



Discussion section

  • SECTIONS ARE CANCELLED THIS WEEK!


Assignments due in section

  • NONE!



Collaborative blog work to complete this week

  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you).
  • Blog critique.  Your TA will evaluate your blog as a whole and let you know if you are on your way to full points for your work, or if your work is falling short of our expectations.






WEEK 11 - starting Monday, April 02, 2012
 SPRING BREAK











WEEK 12 - starting Monday, April 09, 2012
Virtual community

SPECIAL GUEST LECTURE
Professor Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH
School of Medicine and Public Health
See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/us/facebook-posts-can-offer-clues-of-depression.html?_r=1

Readings
  1. Barry Wellman and Milena Gulia, “Virtual communities as communities,” in Marc A. Smith and Peter Kollock, eds., Communities in Cyberspace (1999).
  2. Duncan Watts, "Small worlds," in Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (2003).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Visit a partisan political blog and trace its virtual community.  What topics of stories do they cover, and what topics do they ignore, compared to Google news?  What mainstream news sources they cite (positive and negative)?  What non-profit experts they cite (positive and negative)?  What mainstream columnists do they cite (positive and negative)?  What other blogs do they recommend?  Write up a one-page, single-spaced analysis of the breadth and depth of this web site's virtual community based on the indicators that you explored. 

Collaborative blog work to complete this week

  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you).
  • Check your analytics.  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work.
  • Thought-leader marketing.  Identify some key people around campus (fellow students, teachers, researchers, advisers, administrators) and try to get them to engage with your blog.  You might invite someone to do a guest post, or ask them if you can repost something from their web writings.  Or invite someone to comment on a discussion you are having on the blog.  Or just ask their opinion and see if it leads to any greater blog activity.





WEEK 13 - starting Monday, April 16, 2012
The social network

Readings
  1. Zizi Papacharissi, “The virtual geographies of social networks: A comparative analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld,” New Media & Society 11 (2009).
  2. Jose Antonio Vargas, “The face of Facebook,” The New Yorker (September 20, 2010).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Facebook self-survey.  Survey the size and scope of your Facebook network — how many friends, how many close friends, how many degrees of separation between your friends.  Then survey the homogeneity of your Facebook network — how many friends at same school, same town, same high school, same politics, same religion, same major, same age.  Write a one-page, single-spaced self-critique of your Facebook network and turn it in to your TA.  For one-half point extra credit, post it as a "Note" on Facebook for your friends to comment on.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week

  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you).
  • Check your analytics.  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work.
  • Make some format choices about your final presentation and digital artifact.  Will you perform a live presentation or build a prerecorded one?  (You can set up PowerPoint to auto-advance slides and record a narration track that plays for each slide if you like.)  What about your final digital artifact?  A rich-media prerecorded slideshow (or digital movie) could serve as both your presentation and your digital artifact.  Or you may wish to deliver a summarizing presentation and provide much more detail in your digital artifact (like, creating a rich media document with charts and images and graphics and even live web links, produced as a PDF file).  What skills and experiences do your group members bring to the project? How might you divide up the labor between responsibility for the presentation and responsibility for the "leave-behind," or the digital artifact?





WEEK 14 - starting Monday, April 23, 2012
Identity and privacy

Readings
  1. S. Craig Watkins, “Digital Gates: How race and class distinctions are shaping the digital world,” in The Young and the Digital (2009).
  2. Eli Pariser, “The You Loop,” in The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You (2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Identifying our hopes and fears of digital media.  Interview an older-than-you adult that you know — your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, professor, coach, religious leader, or some other significant mentor in your life — and ask them about their concerns about online digital media.  Summarize those concerns, and address them, in a one-page single-spaced interview summary and response paper.  Turn this paper in to your TA.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week

  • Weekly posting. Each student must post something substantive to their group blog.  
  • Weekly commenting.  Each student must visit one of the other class blogs and engage somehow (leave a comment, participate in a survey, whatever means they offer to you).
  • Check your analytics.  Make some notes each week (in your shared Google document) on how your blog audience is responding to your work.
  • Make some content choices about your final presentation and digital artifact.  These final projects need to demonstrate what you have learned about "media fluency," by both engaging with the course lectures and readings in a substantive way, and drawing on your own experience as weblog producers over the course of the semester.  Just like with your weblog, you will want to distinguish your presentation and digital artifact from those of the other groups; what's unique about your take on "media fluency"?  What interesting insights or ideas or questions do you have to offer that the other groups might not?  What lessons can you draw (good and bad) from the experience of producing your blog?  Mine your shared Google document for insights that you noted down as you went along.







WEEK 15 - starting Monday, April 30, 2012
The revolution will not be televised?

Readings
  1. Steve Coll, “The Internet: For better or for worse,” New York Review of Books (April 07, 2011).
  2. Roland Flamini, “Turmoil in the Arab World,” CQ Researcher (2011).

Discussion section
  • 30 minute discussion of readings
  • 20 minute group work and troubleshooting
  • Preview assignments due next week
Assignments due in section
  • Engaging with the readings.  Printed one-page, single-spaced reading summary/critiques due in section.  (Each student needs to read both of the articles for this week, but just pick one to write about -- your choice.)
  • Reevaluating the Wisconsin protests of Spring 2011.  Visit the Wisconsin Uprising Archive at http://www.wisconsinuprisingarchive.org/ and browse through some of the materials that were collected.  If you were on campus during these events, do the archival materials stored here reflect your understanding of what the protests were all about, how they proceeded, and what they accomplished?  If you were not on campus during these events, how would you evaluate this archive?  Write up a single-page, single-spaced analysis and turn it in to your TA.

Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Close out your blog.  Post a single collaborative "closing statement" to your blog to indicate that you will no longer be updating it, and to indicate how long it will remain alive on the blogosphere.
  • Archive your work.  Create an archive of your blog posts (printed out, digitally copied, or both) so each student can retain a copy.
  • Work on your final presentation and digital artifact.





WEEK 16 - starting Monday, May 07, 2012
SECOND EXAM 

Discussion section
  • 10 minutes - Course Evaluations
  • 40 minutes - Digital artifact and presentation workshop
Assignments due in section
  • NONE!
Collaborative blog work to complete this week
  • Finish your five-minute group presentation and digital artifact.  You will need to deliver the presentation and turn in the digital artifact on Tuesday evening of finals week.




FINALS WEEK - exam will be held Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 5:05pm-7:05pm
Present your “media fluency” blog and turn in your digital artifact