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ATEC/EMAC 2322: Intro to Electronic and Digital Communication

Fall 2010
[DRAFT – Subject to Revision]

Course Information

Meets: MW 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

Location: FO 2.604

Contact Information

Instructor: Kim Knight

Email (preferred method of contact):
Phone: TBA
Office Hours: Mon 2pm – 3pm, Wed 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, and by appointment
Office: TBA

Please be aware that I respond to most email messages within 24 hours Monday -
Friday. If you send me an email and I do not respond during this timeframe, chances
are that I did not receive it. It is your responsibility to re-send the email or to contact me
another way.

Course website:

Twitter and Delicious tag: ATEC2322

Course Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and/or Other Restrictions


Course Description

The Internet: We use it for research, communication, play, and a variety of other
purposes. Early enthusiasts declared that it would change the world – leveling
inequality and revolutionizing business. Though inequalities persist, business models
continue to develop, and we struggle to even define what we mean by “the world,” it is
probably safe to say that the Internet does have a major impact on our lives. Our project
in this course is to critically evaluate the type and extent of the social changes that arise
from the Internet. We will consider shifting paradigms of community, information
access/ownership/distribution, political engagement, creativity, etc.

Course Goals

The goal of this course, which is one of the foundations of the major in Emerging Media
and Communication, is to become active, engaged producers of today’s media and
technology, as well as to prepare you for critical engagement with what comes
tomorrow. In addition, this course will introduce electronic and digital research methods
for emerging media and communications.

Required Textbooks and Materials

Massanari, Adriane and David Silver, eds. Critical Cyberculture Studies.

Various online readings and articles.

You will also need the following: an email account which is checked frequently, a Twitter
account, a delicious account, a Wordpress or Blogspot blog.

Suggested Materials

Course Policies

Attendance: Some of the most valuable take-away from this course will come out of our
class discussions. Your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that
you come to every class prepared and on time. To be “prepared” means that you have
thoughtfully engaged with the reading and are prepared to discuss it in class. Bring
questions, comments, observations, disagreements, examples, etc.

Because your presence in class is important, more than three absences will affect your
grade and in most cases, five or more absences will result in a failing grade. If you
need to miss class for religious reasons, please speak to me ahead of time. Absences
for religious purposes do not count against the permitted number (as long as prior
notification is given). Lateness is also unacceptable; if you arrive late to class you will be
marked as absent. Leaving early also counts as an absence. In addition, please try to
be as fully present and engaged as possible – silence cell phones, don’t send or receive
texts or emails, etc. Excessive distraction may be counted as an absence.

Online Etiquette: Our many online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we
are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect. Disagreements may arise and
consensus may not be possible. We can, however, respect each person’s right to an
opinion. Name calling or menacing behavior will not be tolerated.

Online Due Dates: All online assignments are due by 11:59pm on the date listed, unless
otherwise noted.

Late work: Late assignments will not be accepted.

Academic Honesty: From the UT-D Handbook of Operating Procedures: “The university
expects from its students a high level of responsibility with respect to academic honesty.
Because the value of an academic degree depends on the absolute integrity of the work
done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student maintain a high
standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. The dean may initiate
disciplinary proceedings under subchapter C against a student accused of scholastic
dishonesty upon complaint by a faculty member or a student.”

Plagiarism will result in a failing grade on the plagiarized assignment and possible
disciplinary action by the university. If you have any questions regarding the proper use
of outside sources or the distinction between sampling and plagiarism, I encourage you
to meet with me.

University Policies: Please visit for the

University’s policies regarding all courses.

Course Requirements and Grading Policy

Grading Scale:

A Range: B Range: C Range: D Range: F: Failing

Superior Above Average Below
Average Average
A 94% to 100% B+ 87 – 89% C+ 77 – 79% D+ 67 – 69% F 59% and
A- 90 – 93% B 83 – 86% C 73 – 76% D 63 – 66% below
B- 90 – 92% C- 70 – 72% D- 60 – 62%


Participation (10%): Participation includes attendance and participation in discussion,

both in class and online (blog, twitter, delicious, etc.) To receive full participation credit,
you should visit my office hours at least twice during office before finals week. (Expect
to spend 3 hours a week in class and roughly 2-3 hours a week doing reading for the

Individual Blogs (20%): Each student will be required to develop his/her own online
“presence,” the center of which will be a blog. This will serve as a place for weekly
thoughts and writings about the material covered in class, about emerging media, and
about our learning group in general. At times I will give you specific writing assignments;
at others your assignment will be more open. (Expect to spend 1 hour each week on

Social Media (20%): In addition to the individual blogs, we will be using more
“collaborative” or social media tools, including but not limited to Twitter, social
bookmarking, and wikis. Additionally there will several creative projects using digital
media throughout the semester

Collaborative Teaching (20%): Students will be divided into groups and be responsible
for developing and focusing our inquiry during weeks fourteen through sixteen. You will
not be lecturing for two days, but instead providing the basis for class. Each group will
be responsible for one class session and will meet with me prior to the assigned class to
focus your effort (this meeting will count as one of your office hours visits). More on this
after the first week of class. (Expect to spend 8-10 hours over the course of the
semester on this.)

Final Project (30%): Each student will be responsible for producing a final project that
reflects upon, builds upon, and engages one of the issues surrounding emerging media
which we have covered in class. These can take a variety of forms – a traditional
academic paper of 5-6 pages, or a shorter paper 2-3 pages accompanied by a digital
project (thoughtfully informed videos, podcasts, websites are all acceptable). You will be
allowed to work in groups or individually on these (but you will have to supply a rationale
as to why you chose to work the way you did). More on this after the midpoint of class.
(Expect to spend 10 hours over the final weeks of class on this.)

General Requirements: You will be most successful in this class if you are able to
have an open mind and take a critical approach to our topics. Please note that being
“critical” does not necessarily mean being negative, but it does mean that you are willing
to question assumptions and explore the implications of the seemingly mundane and
minute aspects of contemporary media culture. Openness to experimentation and play
and a willingness to try and fail are critical to the study of emerging media. In short, in
this class we will be enacting some of the very changes we are studying – collaborative
learning, alternative models of scholarship, etc.

Academic Calendar

“CCS” indicates that a reading is available in the Critical Cyberculture Studies reader.

Introduction and Taking Stock

Course Introduction and Early Predictions
Monday, August 23: Intro and Overview
• Introductions
• Syllabus Review
•, “How to Behave: The New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans”
Wednesday, August 25: Early Predictions
• Bush, “As We May Think”
• Leary, “The Cyberpunk: The Individual as Reality Pilot” Mississippi Review, Vol.
16, No. 2/3 (1988), pp. 252-265 (Available through JSTOR)
• Turing “Computing Machines and Intelligence”

Taking Stock
Monday, August 30
• Silver, “Where is Internet Studies?” – CCS
• Castells, “Why Networks Matter”
Wednesday, September 1:
• McLuhan, “The Medium is the Message” –
• Sterne, “The Historiography of Cyberculture”- CCS
Friday, September 3:
• Last day to drop without a “W”.

The State of Information

Finding and Sharing Information
Monday, September 6: Holiday

Wednesday, September 8:
• O’Reilly, “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next
• Carr, “Is Google Making us Stupid?”
• Cascio, “Get Smarter”
Monday, September 13
• Lanier, “Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism”
• Levy, “Collective Intelligence” - .pdf available soon
Wednesday, September 15:
• BBC “The Great Levelling?” (video)
• Weinberger, “The New Order of Order” from Everything is Miscellaneous.
Monday, September 20
• “Social Bookmarking in Plain English” (video)
• An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube:
• Poe, “The Hive”

Information Ownership
Wednesday, September 22:
• Robinson, “Catching the Waves: Considering Cyberculture, Technoculture, and
Electronic Consumption” – CCS
• Zittrain, “Part I” from The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it”
Monday, September 27
• Zittrain, “Part II” from The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it”
• Ertuna, “Digital Pirates and the Enclosure of the Intellect”
• Introduction to Open Sources
• Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”

Learning & Privacy

Wednesday, September 29: Shifting Habits of Learning
• Rheingold, “Attention Literacy”
• Video: “May I Have Your Attention, Please? Linda Stone – SIME 09”
Monday, October 4: Protecting Your Information
• Rosen, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” –,
• “A Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Network Users” -
• “Circumvention Tools” –

Networks and Communities

Wednesday, October 6:
• Elmer, “The Vertical Layered Net” – CCS
• Rheingold, “Introduction” from The Virtual Community
• BBC “Homo Interneticus” (video)
Monday, October 11
• Gotved, “The Construction of Cybersocial Reality” – CCS
• Boyd, “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics
in Teenage Social Life”

Wednesday, October 13:
• Nakamura, “Cultural Difference, Theory, and CCS: A Case of Mutual Repulsion” -
• Nakamura, “Race and Identity in Digital Media”
Monday, October 18:
• O’Riordan, “Gender, Technology ,and Visual Cyberculture: Virtually Women” –
• Schaap, “Disaggregation, Technology, and Masculinity: Elements of Internet
Research” – CCS

Politics and Activism

Wednesday, October 20:
• Sandvig “The Structural Problems of the Internet for Cultural Policy” – CCS
• Poster, “Cyberdemocracy”
• Critical Art Ensemble, “Nomadic Power and Cultural Resistance”
• BBC, “The Enemy of the State?” (video)
Monday, October 25:
• Siler, Marwick “Internet Studies in Times of Terror” – CCS
• Pilkington, “New York Man Accused of Using Twitter to Direct Protestors during
G20 Summit”
• “Heartbreaking Images from the Iran Green Revolution” (video)

Work, Creativity, and Play

Work and Commerce

Wednesday, October 27: Labor
• Scholz, “What the MySpace Generation Should Know about Working for Free”
• Terranova, “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy”
• Barbrook and Cameron “The Californian Ideology”
Monday, November 1: Commerce
• BBC, “The Cost of Free” (video)
• Chris Anderson, “Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business”
• Malcolm Gladwell, “Priced to Sell”

Redefining Creativity
Wednesday, November 3
• A Million Penguins, a wikinovel
• Howard Rheingold on Collaboration (video)
• Hardin, “Tragedy of the Commons”
Monday, November 8:
• “About” page of Creative Commons website
• Lamb, “Dr. Mashup: Or Why Educators Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love
the Mashup”
• Rip: A Remix Manifesto (video)

New Aesthetics
Wednesday, November 10
• Vesna, Introduction to Database Aesthetics – Google books
• Cayley, “The Code is Not the Text”
Monday, November 15
• Norrington, “Transmedia and the Future of Storytelling”
• Newman, “Awra Amba Documentary and Transmedia Activism”
• Hope, “Allowing A Transmedia Approach To Process”

Wednesday, November 17
• Aarseth, “How we became Postdigital” – CCS
• Galloway, “Game Action: Four Moments” from Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic
Monday, November 22
• Fruin, Introduction to Expressive Processing
• The Economist, “Reality, Improved”

Student Presentations
Wednesday, November 24: Group 1

Monday, November 29: Group 2

Wednesday, December 1: Group 3

Monday: December 6: Group 4

Final Project Due:

Monday, December 13