Assignments and Course Policies

Assignments

Class Participation (25%): Because this is a seminar, discussion is critical to the functioning of  class and your overall participation grade. I expect all students to come prepared for discussion by having completed the assignments. Students should not expect full credit for class participation based merely on their attendance. At the same time, repeated absences will not be permitted. If you miss more than two classes, it is up to you to contact me about why you missed class. Failing to do so will result in a grade of F.

Reading Questions (20%): For each class meeting, students should post three questions for other students in the class. These ought to be approximately a paragraph in length (three to four sentences), and demonstrate that you have engaged with the assignments in some manner. In other words, vague or broad questions may send the message that you did not complete the readings. You should also be careful to not post questions that are similar to your classmates. The earlier you post, the less of a chance that this will be an issue for you.  Please post by midnight before class. In the past, students have had success quoting from the readings in their questions as a way to demonstrate their engagement with the assignment.

Book Review (20%): Students must complete a five-page book review of a scholarly work. These reviews should move beyond summary. Students will email me their books in advance before beginning this assignment. The sooner you do this, the more time you have to buy/loan the book and read it. A good way to check that a work is scholarly is by examining the publisher. Books by university presses are usually safe bets. Students should be careful to not judge their selection by year of publication. Older works are encouraged. In addition, you will present a five minute overview of your book for class, which will count for 5% of your book review grade.

Final Project/Paper (35%): Each student is expected to turn in a paper of twelve to fifteen pages at the end of the semester about a topic related to the course. They should be in standard 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Students should use the assignments to discuss the themes they wish to explore. Citations of the course material are usually a good indication of this, but they are not critical. I am open to non-traditional projects also, such as films, novels, short stories, blogs, etc. as long as they are of analogous labor. If students would like to explore these options, please see me as early as possible to discuss a grading policy we can both agree on.  You will also present this project the final week of class, and the presentation will count for 10% of your grade.

Office Hours

I check email fairly frequently, and I am happy to respond to students through it. I do not, however, discuss grades over email.  I encourage all students to see me during office hours to talk about their grades, any assignments that they may have difficulty in, or general support in managing school. I will read drafts provided that students give me at least one week before the assignment is due.  I am also willing to meet with students on Skype, FaceTime, coffee shops, etc. if provided enough time to coordinate these events. If meeting outside of office hours, I will under no circumstances meet with students again if they are late for a meeting that I have specifically scheduled for them. I recommend students show up early for these meetings if possible. If you wish to call me, please send me an email, and I will provide my cell phone number. If there are other creative ways to meet, I am willing to explore those as well. I would prefer that students not use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues to contact me regarding the classes. I use these for professional and/or personal use, and they are not the best ways to get in touch with me. Finally, students should maintain professionalism throughout office hours. I will not meet with students that are visibly belligerent and angry.

Electronics Policy

I have no problems with students using laptops, tablets, etc. to take notes and look at readings in class. In fact, they will be required for some meetings.  Cell phones should be on silent. If you receive a call that you absolutely have to answer, please step out of the classroom to do so. While I will not police students for their electronics use, students that constantly check social media, the news, or email inevitably talk less and lower their participation grade. They also tend to have less engagement with the course and a lower comprehension of the material, which becomes reflected in their book reviews and final papers.

Submissions

Assignments should be emailed to me.  I will use the time stamp on your email to judge if you have turned it in on time.  Late papers will lose a letter grade for every day they are late, and after 4 days you will receive an F.  I do not need a paper copy of your assignments to mark up. Instead, please send them as a Word, Google Doc, or Open/Libre Office document.  If you do not have access to these, you may send the papers to me as a PDF. Only send me a paper copy as a last resort.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is not only theft but also counterfeit. Students caught plagiarizing will receive an F for the assignment and may face further disciplinary action. It is up to students to familiarize themselves with the William and Mary Honor Code. Students should use proper citations to indicate quotes, summations, and paraphrases. You may use any citation style as long as it is consistent.  If you have any concerns or confusion, please meet with or ask me.

Disabilities

If there is any accommodation that you need because of a disability, please see me after class or during office hours. To request accommodations, such as a note-taker, contact the Assistant Dean for Disability Services. For more information, see http://www.wm.edu/deanofstudents/disable/

Learning Outcomes

Learning is a collaborative process, and I expect to learn as much from my students as I teach them. In order for this to happen, students need to be prepared for class and have a desire to learn. I will do everything I can to facilitate this. At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Grasp the power dynamics inherent in everyday life along with their implications for how we interact with new media
  • Inspect assumptions about new media as an egalitarian force, especially as they relate to identity
  • Examine and criticize the affordance of new media forms as creative platforms
  • Unravel and interpret the dynamic and interactive properties of new media texts and contrast them with old media
  • Understand how issues such as surveillance, big data, and privacy affect embodied interactions in daily life
  • Investigate how new media alters our perception of space and place
  • Grasp the materiality of digital media
  • Inspect the dynamics of global capitalism and labor in the new media landscape

 

Required Purchases

  • Postman, Neil, and Andrew Postman. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Penguin Books, 2005.
  • Altice, Nathan. I Am Error: The Nintendo Family Computer / Entertainment System Platform. 1st Edition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2015.
  • boyd, danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. Yale University Press, 2015.
css.php