“The current change, in one sentence, is this: most of the barriers to group action have collapsed, and without
those barriers, we are free to explore new ways of gathering together and getting things done.”
– Clay Shirky, from Here Comes Everybody
New Media & Social Change
Dr. Jeremy J. Littau Course Information
Spring 2011 Thursday 1:10-4 p.m. 215 Coppee Hall Twitter hashtag: #J325
Phone: (610) 758-6520 Office: 203 Coppee Hall Email: email@example.com Office Hours: Monday, 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon Other times available by appointment
Before the dawn of the mass Internet in the 1990s, most organizations and people groups trying to change society had to do it the old fashioned way: through person-to-person contact, and often using traditional institutions such as banks to do key management tasks such as finances. The era of the interactive Web, though, has changed this. Not only is the Web a tool for organizing in new ways, but it also lets us solve the problems of organizations in new ways, and this comes at the expense of traditional institutions that have always gained sustainability from the difficulty in self-organizing. In this course we‘ll look at three components of the new kind of change: the Web, the way ideas spread, and the new ways people are doing things at the expense of traditional institutions. This course is theory and practice of these movements, and you‘ll get some small-scale experience on what it means to find and engage new types of communities in the quest for social change.
How to rock this class
I don't care if you get an A in this class. Really. It's not my job to make sure you hit your marks, but in the long run your grades mean nothing compared to what you take away from your education. But for what it's worth, I find that my best students have more than an A in mind when they approach their course work. The A comes as a side effect to an intellectually curious mind and a good work ethic geared toward learning, not mere grade achievement. So take the following to heart: This class is all about ideas. That means you have to put in the effort to make it work. I realize many of you are graduating, but this class is structured in a way that discourages you from coasting toward the finish line. Life isn‘t like that, and the ideas you bring to bear are sometimes all you have when things get tough. Trust me on this. I was a professional journalist, after all. So on that note, a few words of wisdom: 1. Do the reading not because you have to but because you need to. Scribble notes in the margins. Think about it. Wrestle with it. Argue with your friends about it. Not every idea is obvious or easy, and connecting the different thought lines in this class sure won‘t be easy. Don‘t settle for less when ideas challenge you. 2. Don‘t think of the reflection papers in this class as an assignment. They are a blank canvas for you. Have fun with them. Be funny. Be irreverent. But come with some original thoughts that don‘t use citations as a crutch to demonstrate that you can think a little. Interact with the material, but give me way, way more than a book report. 3. The study of social change in the context of media is by definition interdisciplinary. Make use of ideas you‘ve learned in other courses in discussions and in your papers, particularly ideas from non-journalism and non-communication courses. This class is intended to combine of all kinds of
different work you‘ve done at Lehigh, and by now you better have some ideas to bring to the table. 4. Come prepared. Read your classmates‘ papers and pick two that make you think, or furrow your brow, or ask new questions unrelated to the paper itself because the approach is so fresh.. Apply #1 above to this gold mine of thoughts being generated by our own little crowd. If you bring only papers that you think are awesome, I will be sorely disappointed. This is not a lovefest — it's an ideafest. 5. Be prepared to be wrong. Or gloriously right. Throw your ideas, even the offbeat ones, into the crucible and let‘s kick them around every week.
There are seven required books for this course, and then three optional books from which you will pick one: REQUIRED th 1. The Cluetrain Manifesto by Levine, Locke, Searls, Weinberger (must get the 10 anniversary edition) 2. Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky 3. Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky 4. Taking On The System by Markos Moulitsas 5. The Gutenberg Revolution by John Man 6. We the Media by Dan Gillmor 7. Ideas That Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath OPTIONAL (pick one of these) 1. You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier 2. Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives by Allan & Thorsen 3. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
I have three basic rules for this course: 1. Treat others with respect. That includes your fellow students and professor. My goal is a learning environment where it‘s safe to discuss and disagree, especially in seminar courses. 2. As a courtesy to your fellow students and your professor, please silence your cell phones while class is in session. 3. This is an interactive media course, so browsing along with examples is encouraged, but you should only be using it to browse along with the course. If I sense you are using it for non-class functions, I will ask you to put it away. Please don‘t make me put you on the spot, because I will.
I am going to run this class like a graduate seminar course. There will be lots of reading, lots of discussion, very little lecture. Most of how this class develops will be organic, although the readings will provide the structure. This means the class will be best with more participation, and in fact being prepared will be a major component of your participation grade. The format here will alternate formats every week. In weeks that papers are due, you‘ll t urn them in 3 days before class by publishing it on a blog that you create, and that will form the basis of discussion for the week. Before class, you are to look over your classmates‘ papers and bring a printout of a few that you want to discuss. Or you can bring them all if you like. On the first day, we‘ll go over a tip to help you gather your classmates‘ papers more easily, and yes this will involve technology. On non-paper weeks, the course will be topical. There will be some light reading some weeks, but we will expand on the previous week‘s book and explore some deeper issues and current trends in the realm of interactive media and social change. For example, one week I will be putting together a seminar on Wikileaks. During these weeks, you will be responsible for checking the Course Site page on Mondays in order to see if I‘ve assigned any reading.
The final grade for this course will be determined using the following point totals. I do not round up fractional totals. Below is the minimum number of points you need to earn the grade you want. Point totals below 66 will earn an ―F‖ grade for the course. 103 = A 95 = B+ 84 = C+ 73 = D+ 99 = A92 = B 81 = C 70 = D 88 = B77 = C66 = DSocial change project (20 points): You will be working in groups with students at the University of Southern California on an interactive media and social change project. This is not going to be a huge project, just some small slice of a topic or issue your group agrees on. You‘ll get to choose the tools and the audience you want to engage, then get to work. This grade will be based on a 10-page paper you produce at the end of the course, which links your experiences to scholarship and research in this area; you‘ll be expected to draw lines between the vast material you‘ve digested this semester and your own practical experience in social change online. I will give you expectations for the paper, including a rubric, by late February. Reflection papers (10 points each): There are seven required books in this class as well as one that you‘ll choose from three options. For each of these books, you‘re required to write a reflection paper of 1000 words. You must submit these papers on the Course Site assignment box in MS-Word format, but you also have to publish them on a blog that you‘ll create and keep for the semester. The reason? Everyone in the class will get the blog links and be required to print out at least two papers that they found interesting or thought-provoking and bring them to class for discussion. Papers are due Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. before class so your classmates have plenty of time to read them. They will be marked late with 15% off if turned in Wednesday at 11:59 the week of class. Any papers turned in after Wednesday will receive a 25% penalty. An example of a reflection paper (not necessarily the best, not necessarily the worst) is available on Course Site in the Resources section. Participation (10 points): This is a discussion-based course. There is a formal part of this grade, as you are required to bring a reflection paper or two that you like from the class group to class with things you want to discuss. But you‘re also expected to contribute. Silence is golden, except in this course.
Absences and deadlines: I do not formally take attendance, but it is part of your participation grade and if you aren‘t here, you can‘t earn points toward that part of your grade. I typically only excuse absences for school-sponsored functions (such as student government or athletic participation that are part of your educational activity here) or religious holidays. Sickness is only excused with a doctor‘s note stating that time away from class was prescribed. Going home for illness outside your immediate family is generally unexcused. All allowed makeup tests use an essay format; you will not get the same exam as other students. Be honest: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and at the bare minimum will result in an ―F‖ grade for the course. I refer all plagiarism cases to the dean. Don‘t be afraid to ask if you aren‘t sure where or when to cite the appropriate sources. If you have even a little doubt, either ask me or visit Lehigh‘s ‗Navigating Information‘ page on the Web at http://www.lehigh.edu/library/infolit/tutorials. Your papers will be analyzed via Turnitin, a Web application that detects plagiarism and unoriginal text by generating an ―Originality Report‖ which highlights unoriginal text in your document. Turnitin detects unoriginal work by checking the content of your paper against Internet resources, journal databases, and an archive of student work. Your paper will be stored in Turnitin‘s database for comparison with future submissions . Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, please contact both your instructor and the Office of Academic Support Services, University Center 212 (610-758-4152) as early as possible in the semester. You must have documentation from the Academic Support Services office before accommodations can be granted.
Date Jan. 20 Jan. 27 Feb. 3 Reading topic The Cluetrain Manifesto The Gutenberg Revolution TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on Jan. 31 for any readings Due Cluetrain paper due Jan. 18 Paper due Jan. 25 Social change project topic due, turn in 1 page prospectus. You will get feedback the following week. Paper due Feb. 7
Feb. 10 Feb. 17 Feb. 24 March 3 March 17 March 24 March 31 April 7 April 14 April 21 April 28 May 5
We The Media TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on Feb. 14 for any readings Here Comes Everybody TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on Feb. 28 for any readings Ideas That Stick TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on March 21 for any readings Taking On The System TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on April 4 for any readings Optional book: You Are Not A Gadget, The Tipping Point, Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives TOPIC WEEK – Check Course Site on April 18 for any readings Cognitive Surplus
Paper due Feb. 21
Paper due March 14
Paper due March 28
Paper due April 11
Paper due April 25 Final paper due at 5 p.m. Must submit on Course Site through assignment link AND hand in a hard copy