• Class Schedule : M/W, noon-2.10, CMU302
  • Office Hours : Monday, 2.30 – 3.00 and by appointment
  • Office : 251B Communications Building (beside the elevators)

Basic course information and web site information is distributed the first day of class.

Readings and weekly due dates are listed on one page; refer to the schedule for links to each week’s assignments and topics. Some readings will be assigned for all to read.


1. Course Overview

This course explores basic concepts of new media as well as the role digital media (aka “new media”) technologies play in society. Throughout the course, we will explore the evolution of digital media technologies as well as their impact on economics, politics, communication and community. The course also examines key moments in computing and media history to gain a perspective on the nature of technological innovation and change. This is an interdisciplinary course that includes communication, computer science, law, political science, history and economics.

Students will use digital media technology throughout the course, providing them with practical experience with new media. To apply the art of new media design, students will work in small groups to plan, design and create new media content.

The course is structured like a workshop or seminar; each class member is responsible for formally and informally contributing to discussion of readings, activities and assignments.

Course Goals
By participating in this course, students will:

  • Acquire an understanding of the historical context, current trends and future projections of digital communication methods
  • Develop an awareness of unintended consequences of new technology
  • Become a critical consumer of information
  • Become better writers and more analytical thinkers

Learning Outcomes
After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain basic concepts and theory in new (digital) media
  • Describe the historical context of computer-based communication
  • Identify three inventions that provided the foundation for today’s digital communication technologies
  • Explain how digital media technologies – current and future – may affect society: politically, culturally and economically

Skill Development

  • Use blogging and other web technologies to share personal thoughts and interact with classmates
  • Use the WWW as a research tool
  • Use the electronic resources of the UW Library as a research tool
  • Effectively communicate complex subjects in engaging oral presentations
  • Develop and refine skill in identifying and citing credible resources

Student Responsibilities

  • Be prepared for class; have reading and assignments done on time
  • Spend time outside of class working on readings, projects, and correspondence
  • Participate in active learning inside and outside of class (in other words, both on-line and face-to-face). That means asking questions, helping classmates answer questions, and working with one another to solve problems.
  • Be in class. It’s the only time we’ll have to work face-to-face.
  • Regardless of your experience with digital technologies at the start of the class, I expect you to challenge yourself so that your skills are greater at the end of the quarter than at the start.

Course Requirements
We will read book chapters and articles from scholarly journals, trade magazines and popular publications. Assigned readings may be found through the library’s eReserve system. Students must have a working UW e-mail address and check mail regularly. Internet access is required; basic computer literacy is required.

Course Labs
You will learn how to create a website using WordPress, free blogging software; how to create a blog; and how to create a powerpoint presentation and share it from the web.

II. Course Structure and Teaching Strategies

Teaching methods for this course will include lectures, demonstrations, student presentations, guest lecturers, reading, and writing assignments. The class functions more like a workshop than a traditional lecture-driven survey course. Students will have the chance to explore topics of interest in their projects and writings.

Classes may feature a guest lecturer who is a leading professional or scholar in digital media. Class discussions are a key element of the course, and students are encouraged to ask questions, offer their own observations, and share their own experiences with new technology.

The course instructor will coordinate all class material, keep in close touch with each student in order to assess and meet individual needs, and evaluate all course assignments. Communication outside of class will be via a class mailing list; students must have a working e-mail address.

Instructor’s Educational Philosophy
My goal is to provide a stimulating environment for learning. Course material includes both theory and application, with an emphasis on application to real world problems and situations. Written and oral reports are required because these skills are needed in the work environment in general, and in web development, management, and consulting in particular. Students are required to comment and collaborate as these are practical skills; the means used demonstrates theories and technologies explored in class.

Subject to change.

  • Week 1: Course Overview/What are New Media?
  • Week 2: Evolution of Digital Communication
  • Week 3: Finding and Evaluating Online Information
  • Week 4: Networks – Social and Technological
  • Week 5: Networks – Personal Learning Networks
  • Week 6: Digital Economics
  • Week 7: Online News
  • Week 8: Online Politics
  • Week 9: Access and the Digital Divide

III. Evaluation

There are no exams in this course; instead, there are several assignments. Each of these assignments is required to successfully pass the course.

Your grade for this class will be based on a possible total of 500 points; and your score will be directly translated into the 4.0 scale. Participation in the class and lab discussions will count towards your final grade. Regular attendance, contributions to the discussion of themes, and engagement and leadership in class exercises will result in a high participation grade.

Assignments will be turned in via Catalyst or on your blog at Students with work or family conflicts should make arrangements with the instructor before missing class or an assignment. Late assignments policy varies per assignment. Students will use a Google form to upload details of all completed assignments; this is essential for points assessment.

Grades are determined as follows:

  • Required assignments account for 375 of the 500 points:
    • Two Readings Posts (reading review, 25 points each, weeks 2 and 5) – 50 points
    • Discussion Leader (once in the quarter) – 125 points
    • Class Project – 100
    • Participation – 50 points
    • Media consumption diary – 25 points (week 2)
    • Blog – 25 points (readable design, categorized posts, sidebar components)
  • You may pick-and-choose from the following assignments for the other 125 points (150 maximum)
    • Readings Posts – six posts at 25 points each (maximum 150 points)
    • Resource Posts – (extended through Wed 17 Aug) five posts at 25 points each (maximum 125 points)
    • Comments – 10 points per comment, maximum 70 points
    • Project (posted online : research paper, video or podcast) : 125 points
    • NEW: student blogging project with the College of Arts and Sciences : up to 125 points (25 points per post)
    • NEW: critical book review of The Victorian Internet (800-1000 words) posted to your course blog as a page with a short blog post announcing/promoting it (tips for writing book reviews – this book review could also be a YouTube video) : 100 points
For those of you writing a book review or paper – these are due by 5 pm Friday August 19th.
  • Book reviews should be published on your blog as a blog POST
  • Research papers should be published on your blog as a PAGE and should be accompanied by a short blog post that “announces” the paper and links to the page. Do this even if your project is a video or podcast.

1. Student Blog  – Reading and Resource Posts

Students will create a blog (first week’s lab, using where they will reflect upon (not summarize!) each week’s readings. Students are asked to write about the readings to help gain cognitive understanding of material as well as to hone analytical skills. Weekly reading assignments are not graded, except for completeness. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar.

  • Reading posts are short (two-four paragraphs) reviews of assigned readings; one post per week. Pick one reading or synthesize.  Length: 300-400 words 
    • Each weekly reading post must be categorized “reading”.
    • These posts are due Monday at 9 am. No late posts accepted.
    • Points assigned per the following list:
      • Reflection within minimum-maximum word count – 25 points
      • Reflection over-or-under word count by more than 5% [< 285 or > 420] or with significant grammatical errors- 20 points
      • Reading summary (summary instead of reflection) within minimum-maximum word count – 15 points
      • Reading summary (summary instead of reflection) over-or-under word count by more than 5% or with significant grammatical errors – 5 points
  • Resource Posts are short (two-four paragraphs) reviews of external resources related to the class; one post per week may be made from weeks four-nine; must be related to weekly theme, must include annotation as well as resource title as hyperlink
    • Each weekly resource post must be categorized “resources”.
    • These posts are due Monday at 9 am. No late posts accepted.
    • Points assigned per the following list:
      • Meets requirements – 25 points
      • Over-under word count, grammatical errors, improper hyperlink – 10 points
      • Resource blog posts requirements:
        • Catchy and informative title
        • Properly formatted hyperlink (appropriate text is the hyperlink, not the URL)
        • Sufficient narrative to let us know why the resources are important
        • Properly categorized
        • Related to weekly theme
        • Due Monday 9am for prior week’s topic; week four topic due Monday of week 5

2. Leading Discussion

The class will be divided into five groups. Each class member will serve as discussion leader once, by being assigned to a class session (groups). Members may swap sessions – make arrangements amongst yourselves and then advise me.

Leading discussion involves actively engaging class members in a discussion of the topic of the day as it relates to a reading you have identified. Be sure to elicit class member participation through questions or activities. Part of your participation grade is determined by how much you, as a class member, participate in weekly discussions.

Each member of the group will select an outside scholarly article that elaborates on the week’s general topic. Please use Lexis-Nexis or ProQuest or another academic database as your source. It is your responsibility to show how your selection relates to that week’s topic and readings.

Each member of the peer group will have about seven (7) minutes to relate one reading; there will be additional time to engage your classmates in discussion. Be as creative as you’d like to be when presenting your information. You must create a Powerpoint presentation, upload it to, and link it to your student blog. Your presentation is limited to seven slides and must contain a closing credit slide that contains your contact information as well as credits for any illustrations or photographs used.

These are small group discussions – you will make your presentation to at least three groups of class members. You will not have to stand in front of the room and present to the entire class.

There are two posts required; no late posts accepted.

  1. Before class, you must post (to the course blog) an abstract in your words (including correct APA citation that links to the resource) as well as a paragraph that explains how the reading relates to the course topics. Thus, you need at least two paragraphs! This post should also link to your Powerpoint presentation on and any outside source material (such as YouTube files) that you use in the presentation. (100 points, assuming all requirements are met)
  2. You must also post a reflection on the experience to your blog by 5 pm on Friday the week that your group is responsible for leading discussion. (25 points)
  3. You must categorize both posts “Discussion Leader.” (-5 points if not categorized properly)


  • Group 1, Week 4: Networks – Social and Technological (Wed – because they are first)
    Colleen, Deborah, Emily
  • Group 2, Week 6: Networks – Personal Learning Networks (Mon)
    Adam, Danny, Holly, Khongor, Tammy
  • Group 3, Week 7: Digital Economics (Mon)
    Amy, Chia-Ho Kang : Anneka,  Gary, Jessie
  • Group 4, Week 8: Online News (Mon)
    Cecilia, Grace, Jake, Parisa, Tim
  • Group 5, Week 9: Online Politics (Mon)
    Sean : Chae, Ian, Nathan, Xiaoxi


3. Class Project

Part 1 : in-class assignment Monday 27 July

Part 2: in-class assignment Monday 1 August

Part 3: in-class assignment Monday 8 August

4. Participation

Students are expected to attend all classes and are responsible for completing all course material on deadline. You must e-mail me if you miss class because of illness or emergency. This communication is part of your class participation. Moreover, rather than ask me what happened while you were away, you should also check the course blog as well as talk to your classmates to “see what you missed.” In-class assignments cannot be made up except by arrangement.

There are many ways to participate in the class. This is a safe environment, where students can try new ways of engaging in discussion and learning with others. Discussion about readings and other class material will be conducted seminar-style, that is, with an exchange of questions, explanations and viewpoints about readings and key ideas.

  • Contribute to in-class activities and discussions
  • Complete in-class assignments (cannot be made up); in-class assignments are part of the participation grade

5. Other Points

  • Comments Substantive comment (100-200 words) on a on class member blog post (reading reflection) or discussion leader post.
  • Individual project – to be published online, research paper or video or podcast (audio story). Student must confer with instructor about the topic, which must relate to class themes.
  • Media Consumption Diary – June 29, June 30, July 1 (Wed noon – Fri noon) – students to maintain daily diary of media consumption : internet, phone, TV, radio, newspapers, etc. By noon on Saturday, post reflection. (four posts – three diary posts and one reflection post)
  • Blog – conformance with genre

IV. Course Policies

By becoming a member of this class, you agree to abide by these rules and any other policies not explicitly stated here that are detailed in the UW Student Conduct Handbook.


You are responsible for all assigned readings and materials presented in class lectures. You should be aware that missing class could adversely affect your performance on assignments and homework. It is your responsibility to obtain all materials missed by working with other students (do not expect the professor to provide this information). It is also your responsibility to complete all assignments, even if you missed the class where the assignment was made. Material is available online.

Academic Honesty

You are expected to produce original work and properly cite the thoughts and works of others. All sources must be properly cited; just because information can be found online does not mean it is exempt from citations! Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses and are not tolerated by the University. For more information, please refer to the University’s Academic Honesty policy.


All work must be completed on time. Late submissions will not be accepted, except with advance notice of extenuating circumstances (sudden illness, death in the family, and so forth). Errors (facts, spelling and grammar) will result in a reduced grade. You are expected to produce original work and properly cite the thoughts and works of others. Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses and are not tolerated by the University. For more information, please refer to the University’s Academic Honesty policy.

Classroom Environment

Students and faculty are responsible for creating a good learning environment. We will use computing technology in the classroom during labs; specific uses of computing technology will be announced in advance with detailed instructions.

Students may use laptops or other portable devices for taking notes. However, these portable devices should not be used to engage in non-classroom activities, such as surfing the Net, checking e-mail, playing games or listening to music. These activities would certainly divert your attention away from class and could distract other students as well, thus corrupting the learning environment. I reserve the right to end your use of a portable device, ask you to move, or revoke the privilege of using wireless devices in the classroom.

During class breaks, students may use portable computing devices or lab computers for personal use as long as they respect other class members. Material visible on the computing device should not be offensive or incendiary. Any music played during breaks should be at a level conducive to classroom civility.

Courteous Discourse

Whether in class or online, students are expected to conduct themselves with professional courtesy and decorum. Please make constructive comments; flames and insults are not acceptable. Disagree with the idea, not the person!


The instructor will not give incompletes except under exceptional circumstances.


To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability Resources for Students, 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924/V, 206-5430-8925/TTY. If you have a letter from Disability Resources for Students indicating that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations that you might need for the class.

E-mail Communication

E-mail communications among members of this class should reflect respect for the rights and privileges of all members of the academic community. This includes not interfering with university functions or endangering the health, welfare, or safety of other persons. In addition to the University of Washington’s Student Conduct Code, there are additional policies for this class:

  • E-mail communication from a student to the instructor will be acted upon, if possible, within 24 hours (M-Th). If an e-mail from a student does not receive a response within 48 hours, then the student should investigate other ways of contacting me (telephone, office hours, etc.). E-mail to the instructor must have clear, not cryptic, subject lines and should include the course number (COM 300).
  • Students are responsible for checking their UW mail regularly; instructor and class mailing list mail is directed to the student UW address, as it is the official e-mail address for class enrollment.
  • E-mail communications should not include any CCing of anyone not directly involved in the specific educational experience at hand.
  • E-mail communications should not include any blind-CCing to third parties.
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