English 5010–New Media: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy

Note, the calendar and shorter readings may be subject to change.

What does it mean to be “literate” and how has this changed as a consequence of the introduction of new communication technologies? What social skills and cultural competencies do young people need to acquire if they are going to be able to fully participate in the digital future? (Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca-Fan, 8/17/09)

Course Description/Goals:

In this class, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore how technology and new media are changing the ways people learn.
  • Recognize and be able to respond to core debates surrounding the value of bringing new media technologies into the classroom.
  • Comprehend the framework of basic social skills and cultural skills associated with the new media literacies.
  • Understand how technology impacts our students, educational institutions, and culture.
  • Practice using technology in teaching and curricular design
  • Deploy course concepts in the development of an independent research project which makes a substantive scholarly or pedagogical contribution.

We will try to personalize this as much as possible, focusing on the goals and needs of students in the class. Let me know if there is a way to adapt an assignment to make it more meaningful for you. If you have other ideas or suggestions for topics, assignments, or discussions, please email me (kdevries at csustan dot edu).

Course Texts:

  • Zittrain, Jonathan. The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, selections–free online
  • Selber, Stuart. Selections from Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, selections, available here in the blog for class members.
  • Koster, Raph. A Theory of Fun — Some material will be included in our readings free online
  • Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother
  • Other online readings and resources; see the calendar below for details.

Recommended Supplementary Resources

  • Montfort, Nick, Noah Wardrip Fruin, eds. Electronic Literature, Vol. 1. ELO –free online.
  • Richardson, Will. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Webtools for Classrooms (some selections will be available here.)


  1. Participation: For each class session, the student should make one thoughtful contribution to the class blog, describing their response to the readings, and offering some topics or questions we should explore during the class discussions. This process is designed to jump start the conversation before class so students should make an effort to read their classmate’s contributions. Keep in mind that contributions here also allow me to assess your mastery over the course content so try to anchor your comments closely to the readings. You need not, however, reference all of the readings for that week but should focus your discussion on salient points of interest.
  2. Online reading journal/blog: You will maintain an ongoing  blog in which you reflect upon the skills, knowledge, and tools you are seeking and getting out of this course and reflect upon how the subjects covered in the texts relate to the circumstances of your own life online and offline. I recommend WordPress.com
    The key word is reflection; this is about thinking about the subject matter, not simply demonstrating that you did the reading and took notes. Your blog is open to others to read and comment on, but is primarily a conversation with yourself about what the subject might have to do with the world you actually live in.
  3. “Scouting Report” –short writing (1000 word blog post) and presentation (5 minutes, later archived on your blog) about online archive/community/event/text that would be useful in a composition or literature class. The report should consider what counts as literacy, how literacy changes in response to the new media landscape, and what value we should ascribe to the new forms of communication that are emerging online. Drawing on your emerging understanding of the literature on New Media Literacies and your own personal experience as a user of new media tools and platforms.   (Due Week Four)
  4. Final project/paper plus oral presentation: You will complete a paper or project of your own design, with consultation with the instructor, which makes a significant scholarly or pedagogical contribution to our understanding of the new media literacies. A written paper should be roughly 20 pages in length. (due at end of the term) The scale of projects should be negotiated with the professor. The student will make a brief presentation of their paper or project to their classmates during the final class session. (10 min. presentations in the last week of class, papers/projects due shortly thereafter.)

Weekly Schedule:

9/17 Week 1 Introduction to class. What is happening? “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change,” by Neil Postman; “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” by Mark Prensky; “Reconsidering Digital Immigrants,” By Henry Jenkins. In your own blog, make a reflective post. In the class blog, make a shorter post (no more than 200 words with the questions or ideas you think we should focus on.

9/24 Week 2 How are English and Writing being affected?The Figure of Writing and the Future of English Studies“; “The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement,” by Renee Hobbs; Blog or website must be set up. I recommend WordPress. “Re-imagining the Functional Side of Computer Literacy,” by Stuart Selber. Also read instructions about how we will meet in a chatroom for the next class.

10/1 Week 3 Texts, Networks, and Webs. Class meets online. Zittrain, Introduction through Chapter Three.; “Why Youth <3 Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life,” by danah boyd,  in David Buckingham (ed.) Youth, Identity and Digital Media (Cambridge: MIT Press/MacArthur Foundation, 2009), pp. 1-26.

10/8 Week 4 Shifts in Technologies and Power. Tonight’s class may start a few minutes late. (I will be coming from a talk I am giving in RSCA week that is supposed to end at 6pm)  Zittrain, Chapters Four through Six; Howard Rheingold Interview; Selber, Chapter One; Clay Burell, Diigo.com video tutorial; using social networks, social bookmarking, authoring and collaboration tools; tools must be integrated into your blog.

10/15 Week 5 Changing Schools, Changing Societies. Furlough Day “Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media,” pp.1-62. by Carrie James with Katie Davis, Andrea Flores, James M. Francis, Lindsey Pettingill, Margaret Rundle and Howard Gardner

10/22 Week 6 Technology’s Impact on Culture and Society. “Practicing at Home: Computers, Pianos, and Cultural Capital, ” by Ellen Seiter, in in Tara McPherson (ed.), Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected (Cambridge:MIT Press/MacArthur Foundation, 2008), pp. 27-52.  “Facebook Manners and You.” by yourtango.com; “Facebook Mashup Relationships”, by Throw’d TV; Scouting Reports Due.

10/29 Week 7 Literacy, Democracy, and Participation. Participation Inside?” by Mirko Tobias Schaeffer; Selber, Chapter Three“The Myth of Digital Democracy,” by Matthew Hindman.  If you already read Selber, don’t worry.  We are behind on reading and to catch up we are dropping some of Selber, but either way, we won’t get to him at all again until 11/19.

11/5 Week 8 New Media in the Classroom. Furlough Day

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow.

Media Artifact Exercise: Media culture -print, screen, digital- plays a critical role in our lives as we make sense of ourselves and the world around us. For this assignment, you are asked to think critically about the role of media in your own life and environment.

Select one or two artifacts that express your own taste and experience of the media. These “media artifacts” can reflect your relationship with any of the dominant media within American society or another society. The artifact(s) that you choose should have particular meaning for you. Examples might include favorite books, magazines or newspapers, CDs, ads, photographs or posters, DVDs, videogames, websites, phones, media players, etc.

Write 1000 words on the meaning of this object(s) in your life and Be prepared to speak for a few minutes about the cultural significance of this “media artifact”. Your goal should be to share with us something meaningful about your participation in popular culture.  You may choose to develop this exercise into the final project.

Adapted from Andrea Walsh, MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies

11/12 Week 9 Learning the Game. Class meets online. Koster, selected chapters; “Learning and Games,” by James Paul Gee, in Katie Salens (ed.) The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games and Learning (Cambridge: MIT Press/MacArthur Foundation, 2008), pp. 21-40; “Productive Gaming: The Case for Historiographic Game Play,” by Kurt Squire and Shree Durga (in press), in Robert Fedig (ed.), The Handbook of Educational Gaming (Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference), pp. 1-21.

11/19 Week 10 Institutions, Rhetoric, and Creating New Knowledge., Discuss final projects. Media Artifact exercise due.

11/26 Week 11 Thanksgiving

12/3 Presentation of Final Papers/Projects Aaron, Kathy, Laura, Anne, Jeong, Mike

12/10 Presentation of Final Papers/Projects Course wrap-up

24 comments for “English 5010–New Media: Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy

  1. mcalou
    September 13, 2009 at 9:43 am

    The link to “Electronic Literature, Vol. 1,” listed as a supplementary resource in the syllabus, does not take you to the ELO site. I believe the site we want is: http://collection.eliterature.org/1/. I don’t know how to add that site to this blog, or even if I am able to ad it.

  2. September 18, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Hi Kim,

    I think I made it through the blog registration at wordpress.com. I spent no little time picking a layout format, but without really understanding the ramifications of its features for my blog. I guess I will figure it out in time. As for the url name, choosing those is always so stressful! Does one try for attitude, cuteness, utility, obscurity–all of the above? I don’t know where I fit in that list, but I chose the name I use for online poker: labyrinthia. It’s a made-up word, sort of, and it was available.

    Anne E


  3. MaryAnn Macedo
    September 18, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Hi Kim-

    Just wanted to let you know (before I forget to post it) that my blog link is http://meiqueen.wordpress.com/.


  4. September 18, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I realized that I had not registered on this site, so, now accomplished. My wordpress blog site is http://labyrinthia.wordpress.com/

  5. Alex Janney
    September 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Kim,
    My wordpress blog site is: http://ajanney09.wordpress.com/

  6. cjpope
    September 18, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Hopefully I am doing this correctly! Here is my WordPress blog site:

  7. lminnis209
    September 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    hello my blog is…

  8. kmontero
    September 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Hi Kim and All,
    My blog URL is http://surfari86.wordpress.com/
    All the best,

  9. Sherrie Cork
    September 21, 2009 at 8:15 pm
  10. Jeong Kinser
    September 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Hi Kim and all,
    My URL is http://jeonglankinser.wordpress.com/

  11. Jeong
    September 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Well, the link, http://collection.eliterature.org/1/
    didn’t connect to the literature either. Any thoughts?

  12. Jeong
    September 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Hello Dr. De Vries, Where can I find, Selber, Stuart. “Selections from Multiliteracies for a Digital Age”? It said that it is available here in the blog for class members, but I could not locate it. Thank you!

  13. Mariana
    September 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Hi everybody, my blog is at mabuan.wordpress.com

  14. johnnyjounce
    September 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Hello everybody. My blog is at johnnyjounce.wordpress.com

  15. chayden
    September 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Hello all,

    Here is my blog URL http://ckhayden.wordpress.com

    Chris Hayden

  16. Jeong
    September 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    The first article, “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change,” by Neil Postman was an analysis of teaching using technology. His ideas included: we pay a price for technology; winners and losers exist from varied usage; there is embedded a prejudice in technology; technological change is ecological changing everything; and technology tends to control more than to benefit in our lives. They were very insightful to me. With those items in mind, I read Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” by Mark Prensky. Understanding the metaphorical categorization of the digital age provided me a clear view of how different generations can face their difficulties differently. Henry Jenkins’ urge to change teaching practices with new media was imperative for me to reshape my attitudes on teaching with integration of technology. Overall, all the reading awakened my awareness to be more alert to integrating and implement technology into teaching practices.

  17. September 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm
  18. September 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Okay, I posted a comment on the first three articles…where did it go? :)

    As far as the 2nd three articles, as rhetoricians, we already know that RTW jobs (our focus as grad students) far exceed Lit jobs…and I love Lit,so don’t get me wrong. I did appreciate the information supplied by “The Figure of Writing and the Future of English Studies.”

    As a TA, my first reaction to “Reimagining the Functional Side of Computer Literacy” is the need to get EVERY comp class in a computer lab! Then the English department pedagogy can deal with the functional side of computer literacy. The best answers to the problem, though, are found near the end of the article where the solution is presented to empower students with computer literacy, not just mediate it. Computer literacy should be taught pedagogically: “The reasons for [lack of computer funding and useage in English departments] have to do with the relatively glacial pace of curricular change and the fact that teacher training in computer use typically adopts an instrumental rather thhn a pedagogical approach” (Selber 486). Meanwhile, achieving student empowerment includes: inviting students to use advance engines for their Internet searches and requiring students to more deeply engage the specialized discourse of directed software programs. So, yeah, one step at a time…get each comp student on a computer.

    The final article by, “The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement” seemed too prescriptive. And political. However, bottom line, the media is here to stay. Are we going to utilize media literacy in a possible and plausible pedagogical dynamic accentuating, complementing, supplementing today’s education or not?

  19. mcalou
    September 24, 2009 at 6:02 pm
  20. lminnis209
    October 1, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    hey I came to class late. where is class?? i looked in 201 computer lab but no one there?

  21. aarias1
    October 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I am trying to get online. Where are the directions? I am making a serious effort to be a working cog in the machine. I need help please try to find a way for me to join in your internet party. I am all alone trying to figure this thing out.

  22. lminnis209
    October 5, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    hey were is the selber chapters?

  23. October 27, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Where is Selber chapter three? I cannot find a link to it.

  24. lminnis209
    December 4, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Hey everyone here is the link to my website about female gaming. There are some other excellent videos attached to each page that I didn’t have time to show you.

    Please Check it out and I will add the resources for my site soon!



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