Syllabus – Online

Stack of papers
Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov.


There is no TL;DR—the syllabus is hugely important and you should read it all. Every. Last. Word.

Seriously: if this were a traditional class, we’d spend the first day of it going through every bit of the syllabus in detail. Why? The syllabus is how I help you understand what you’re getting into and how to be successful. It’s where I lay out what I expect from you, what you can expect from me, how things will work, and all sorts of necessary, helpful information.

The syllabus is probably doubly important for an online class since we won’t get to see each other in person every day.

All that to say: read the entire syllabus, carefully. You are responsible for knowing and understanding everything it contains.


– John

Quick links

NMIX 2020E: Intro to New Media
Summer 2019

Class: Online
Instructor: John Weatherford
Contact: 403G Journalism /
TAs: Jihoon Kim and Jen Malson (contact via Slack only)
Office Hours: By appointment


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the history of media leading up to the epoch of new media
  • Conceptualize the social and cultural dynamics that create and are created by the proliferation of new media
  • Apply theoretical frameworks to understand new media
  • Be able to explain the technological basics underpinning the hardware, software, and networks that comprise essential new media forms including the internet, social media, mobile devices, the internet of things, and more
  • Summarize essential new media topics
  • Analyze key companies, events, and trends in new media

Instructor Philosophy

More than being here to help you learn the subject material, I’m here to help you learn how to learn. I think the things we’re talking about in class are incredibly cool, exciting, and worthy of your time, thought, and energy. Hopefully, when you finish the class, you’ll believe the same (or at least understand how a reasonable person could believe the same), have developed a really solid working knowledge of the field, and know where and how to further your own knowledge and expertise. We’re going to have a lot of fun, but I also expect you to work hard. Work hard at the assignments, sure, but more than that, work hard at understanding the stuff we’re talking about, why it matters, and what you can do with it—that’s what really matters.

Technical Skills and Requirements

To succeed in this class, you’ll need to have access to and feel comfortable using a computing device with a reliable internet connection and a web browser—that’s it!1


The course’s eLC page will be its hub: it’ll contain links to all necessary materials; it’s where you’ll take your quizzes + exams and keep track of your grades; and it’ll contain the course’s calendar.


All of the readings for the course can be found at It might also be fun and potentially helpful to follow my Twitter feed (@JohnWeatherford).


We’re going to use Slack for all class discussion and communication, including important updates from me.

I’ll invite you via your UGA email address once class has started; after you’ve created your account, please complete your profile so that I know who I’m talking to. After you’ve joined the class Slack, use only Slack—not email—to contact me.

Checking Slack regularly (ideally daily) is required for the course, so I highly encourage installing the Slack app on your phone and on your desktop. Our team’s address is, and if for some reason you don’t receive the registration email from me, you can register here with your UGA email address.

If you’ve never used Slack before, you can find a good overview of it here. (And if you’re a real nerd, like me, you can read this post about my thinking on how we’ll use Slack.)

In addition to general communication, Slack is where you’ll also take part in group discussions.

Online tools summary

To summarize:

eLC: Grades, quizzes, calendar Readings

Slack: Questions, collaboration, announcements, group discussions, etc.

Make-Up Work

You are expected to complete and turn in your work by the due date, and late work is accepted only at the discretion of the instructor. If late work is accepted, the minimum penalty for the first assignment you turn in late is 10% of its total value per day late (ex: 10-point exam turned in two days late will be penalized a minimum of 2 points). After your first late assignment, each subsequent late assignment will be penalized a minimum of 20% of its total value per day (ex: 10-point exam turned in two days late will be penalized a minimum of 4 points).

NMI Social Media Policies

All NMI students are strongly encouraged to follow our social media policies. You must complete the steps required by these policies during the first week of class:

Social Media Policies

If you have any concerns or hesitations about any of these social media assignments, please contact me—alternative arrangements can be made. (Also, for your reference: here are the privacy policies for eLCTwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Slack, and here are the accessibility policies for eLCTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Slack.)

Email / Direct Messages

As I’ve already mentioned, we’re using Slack as the sole tool for our class communication. Also, we have the great good fortune of having not one but two wonderful TAs (Jihoon Kim and Jen Malson) with us this summer. So, contact us via Slack DM instead of emailing us. Put another way: instead of emailing us, direct message us via Slack.

So that we can most quickly help those in need of assistance, take the following steps before messaging us:

  • Check the syllabus, eLC, previous Slack conversations, the class site, etc. to see if the answer’s posted there
  • Spend 5-15  minutes (but not any more time than that) trying to solve the problem on your own (via Google, asking a classmate, etc.)
  • Ask yourself if the question might be one other students are having, and if so, post it to #ask-john-jihoon-jen on Slack

If you do all of those and still have a question just for us (John, Jihoon, and Jen), then by all means direct message us (just start a new direct message and include all three of us on the message)! We’ll respond to your questions as quickly as possible, but please allow a reasonable amount of time (generally under 24 hours; 2 business days max) for a response.

Slack allows for communication to be informal and fun, which is great! But, don’t forget to communicate professionally, even while having fun.

Student Success Resources

Student Services

Online students at the University of Georgia have access to the same services available to on-campus students. Click here to view a description of services along with links and contact information if you wish to learn more about these topics.

Access Policy

If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact me directly via Slack. If you plan to request accommodations for a disability, visit the Disability Resource Center website or call 1 (706) 542-8719.

Office Hours

I’ll be as responsive to your questions as humanly possible via Slack, but if you’d like to set up some time to talk via (via Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.), just let me know, and we’ll work out a time that’s mutually agreeable.

Academic Honesty

As a University of Georgia Student, you have agreed to abide by the University’s academic honesty policy, “A Culture of Honesty”, and the Student Honor Code. All academic work must meet the standards described in “A Culture of Honesty” found at: Lack of knowledge of the academic honesty policy is not a reasonable explanation for a violation.

Read the entire policy online, but the short story is: don’t cheat—the punishments for violations of the Academic Honesty Policy are severe. You are expected to do your own work and to report individuals who do not do their own work. Because this is an online class, you may find the temptation to cheat (cheating includes unauthorized sharing of class materials, using unauthorized sources during assessments, and more—seriously, read this now to get a full sense of what all constitutes academic dishonesty) even greater than usual. Resist that temptation. Questions related to course assignments and the academic honesty policy should be directed to the instructor.

Changes to Course Syllabus

The course syllabus is a general plan; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.

Topical Outline

Theory + History

  • What is new media?
  • How we got to now, Part I: Communication and early media
  • How we got to now, Part II: Telecommunication and mass media

Building Blocks

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Networks

Topics + Case Studies

Group I:

  • New media case study: Apple
  • New media topic: Smartphones
  • New media topic: Augmented / Virtual Reality

Group II:

  • New media case study: Google
  • New media topic: AI (Artificial Intelligence) + ML (Machine Learning)
  • New media topic: Self-driving cars, drones, + other robots)

Group III:

  • New media case study: Facebook (+ social media)
  • New media topic: Start-ups and Unicorns
  • New media topic: News

Group IV:

  • New media case study: Amazon (+ commerce)
  • New media topic: The Cloud + Big Data
  • New media topic: Voice + smart home / Internet of Things

Assignments (100 points total)

Pre-test – 0 points

An eLC quiz administered to all students in all sections of NMIX 2020 that corresponds to a post-test administered to students as they complete their New Media Certificates. Do your best, but don’t be anxious: a) you’re not supposed to know this stuff yet and b) even though you’re taking the test, it’s really the NMI instructors being evaluated!

Syllabus Quiz – 2 points

An eLC quiz worth two points, just to make sure you’ve got everything in the syllabus (this stuff is important!). 23

Learning Plan – 3 points

It’s a cliché 4, and a cheesy one at that, but if you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail. You don’t want to fail, and I don’t want you to fail, either, so you’re going to make a plan.

A plan for what? A plan for how and when you’re going to tackle this class. Thoroughly read through the syllabus and the assignments, and take a look at the lessons. Then, make a plan for when and how you’re going to work on this class, and mark it down on your calendar.

A few pieces of advice:

  • If at all possible, pick a regular time and stick to it—the power of habit is undeniable.
  • Plan for more time than you think you’ll need—at least 15-20% more. Why? Most of us are generally far too optimistic about how long it’ll take us to complete tasks. And, the worst case is pretty good, too: if you complete the work in less time than you budgeted, guess what? You just found some free time!
  • Realistically account for the fact that you’re a human being. You may stay up late, sleep in late, have a day where you have absolutely no motivation to work, be presented with an awesome last-minute opportunity that you can’t say no to, etc. All that to say, build in some buffer to your plan, and be realistic about when in the day you plan to work.

After you complete your plan, take the Learning Plan quiz on eLC. You won’t actually turn in the plan itself because a) it should live in your calendar, to-do list, etc. and b) if you don’t complete it, it’ll ultimately hurt only you.

Group Discussions – 10 points

You’ll be randomly assigned to a discussion group of ten or so people on Slack, which will be your de facto homes for the class. So, get to know your groupmates! Say hi, talk about non-class-related stuff, and help each other out. Do your best to be the type of person you’d like to be in a group with.

The graded portion of group discussion will work as follows: if you look down at the schedule for the course, you’ll notice that each reading is assigned as the discussion topic for a few days. At the start of each of these periods, Jihoon and Jen, our wonderful TAs, will post the discussion questions included at the end of each reading to your team’s channel. Each discussion question will be its own message.

Your job is to respond to each discussion question (and/or each other’s responses to each discussion question—I’d really like for this to be an actual discussion, not just ten people simultaneously shouting out similar answers to the same questions) in a thread (read that link to understand how they work).

And…that’s it! Your group discussion work will be evaluated twice throughout the class: once at midterm (Wed. July 3) and again at the end of the semester (Wed. July 31). Each evaluation is worth five points, and will be graded according to the following scale:

  • 5 points: 🔥 5
  • 4 points: 👏 6
  • 3 points: 👍 7
  • 2 points: 😐 8
  • 1 point: 🤦‍♂️ / 🤦‍♀️ 9
  • 0 points: 👻 10

Two last notes. First, all group discussions will be governed by this code of conduct—please immediately report any inappropriate behavior directly to me. Second, have fun—use emoji reactionsshare fun GIFs, whatever!

Lesson Quizzes (18 x 2 points each) – 36 points

For each of the 18 readings in the class, there will be an eLC quiz worth two points. Anything discussed or linked to in the readings is fair game for the quizzes. Add ’em all up, and you’ve got 40 points.

History + Theory and Building Blocks Exam – 10 points

An exam on eLC cumulatively covering the material in the six lessons in the first two sections of the course (“What is new media?”, “How we got to now, Part I”, “How we got to now, Part II”, “Hardware”, “Software”, and “Networks”). Many of the questions from the lesson quizzes in this section may be included (though likely remixed!), but some questions will be new and will ask you to make connections between all six readings.

Topics + Case Studies Exam – 15 points

An exam on eLC, cumulatively covering the material in the twelve lessons in this section. Many of the questions from the lesson quizzes in this section may be included (though likely remixed!), but some questions will be new and will ask you to make connections between readings.

Final Exam – 24 points

A longer exam on eLC, cumulatively covering the material in all twenty lessons in the course. Many of the questions from the lesson quizzes in this section may be included (though likely remixed!), but some questions will be new and will ask you to make connections between all the readings and the broader themes of the course.


Syllabus quiz 2
Learning plan 3
Group discussions 10
Lesson quizzes (18 x 2 points each) 36
History + Theory and Building Blocks exam 10
Topics + Case Studies exam 15
Final exam 24
Total 100

Grading scale

95-100 A
90-94.99 A-
87-89.99 B+
83-86.99 B
80-82.99 B-
77-79.99 C+
73-76.99 C
70-72.99 C-
60-69.99 D
59.99 and below F


Date Discussion Topic Assignments + Major Dates
6/7 Fri. Get to know each other! First day of class; Drop / add begins; Assigned to Slack discussion group; Pre-test available
6/10 Mon. Syllabus Syllabus quiz available
6/11 Tues. Learning digitally + learning plan Learning plan quiz available
6/12 Wed. What is new media? What is new media? quiz available
6/13 Thurs. What is new media? Drop / add ends 
6/14 Fri. How we got to now, Part I Pre-test deadline; Syllabus quiz deadline; What is new media? quiz deadline; How we got to now, Part I quiz available
6/17 Mon. How we got to now, Part I  Learning plan quiz deadline
6/18 Tues. How we got to now, Part II How we got to now, Part I quiz deadline; How we got to now, Part II quiz available
6/19 Wed. How we got to now, Part II
6/20 Thurs. Hardware How we got to now, Part II quiz deadline; Hardware quiz available
6/21 Fri. Hardware
6/24 Mon. Software Hardware quiz deadline; Software quiz available
6/25 Tues. Software
6/26 Wed. Software
6/27 Thurs. Networks Software quiz deadline; Networks quiz available
6/28 Fri. Networks
7/1 Mon. History + Theory and Building Blocks exam study Networks quiz deadline; History + Theory and Building Blocks exam available
7/2 Tues.
7/3 Wed. Midterm; Withdrawal deadline; History + Theory and Building Blocks exam deadline
7/4 Thurs. Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day holiday
7/5 Fri. Topics + Case Studies Group I Topics + Case Studies Group I quizzes available
7/8 Mon. Topics + Case Studies Group I
7/9 Tues. Topics + Case Studies Group I
7/10 Wed. Topics + Case Studies Group I Topics + Case Studies Group I quizzes deadline
7/11 Thurs. Topics + Case Studies Group II Topics + Case Studies Group II quizzes available
7/12 Fri. Topics + Case Studies Group II
7/15 Mon. Topics + Case Studies Group II
7/16 Tues. Topics + Case Studies Group II Topics + Case Studies Group II quiz deadline
7/17 Wed. Topics + Case Studies Group III Topics + Case Studies Group III quiz available
7/18 Thurs. Topics + Case Studies Group III
7/19 Fri. Topics + Case Studies Group III
7/22 Mon. Topics + Case Studies Group III Topics + Case Studies Group III quiz deadline
7/23 Tues. Topics + Case Studies Group IV Topics + Case Studies Group IV quizzes available
7/24 Wed. Topics + Case Studies Group IV
7/25 Thurs. Topics + Case Studies Group IV
7/26 Fri. Topics + Case Studies Group IV Topics + Case Studies Group IV quiz deadline
7/29 Mon.  Topics + Case Studies exam available
7/30 Tues. Final exam study
7/31 Wed. Final exam study Final day of classTopics + Case Studies exam deadline
8/1 Thurs.  – Final exam available
8/2 Fri.  – Final exam deadline

Words on / reading time for this page: 3,076 words / 15-20 minutes

Words in / reading time for required readings: 0 / 0

Total words in / reading time for this lesson: 3,076 / 15-20 minutes

  1. Well, almost—as you’ll see below, we’ll use one app (Slack) that’s available on the web but is a bit more convenient as a native app for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android. So, you’ll probably enjoy the class a bit more if you can download, install, and use the Slack native app(s), but doing so is by no means required.

  2. That you’re reading right now!

  3. As the footnote just before this footnote proves, you’re really missing out if you don’t read the footnotes and click the links they contain.

  4. And a chiasmus!

  5. You’re killing it / crushing it / etc. You’re actively engaged with all class discussions to the highest possible degree, almost always going above and beyond: actively asking and responding to questions, starting / expanding discussions beyond the provided prompts, sharing resources you found on your own, not dominating the conversation / helping draw quieter group members into the conversation, and generally elevating the level of discourse in the group.

  6. Solid work! You’re actively engaged with all class discussions, occasionally going above and beyond.

  7. Pretty good—you’re actively engaged with most class discussions, but maybe a bit hit or miss on the consistency.

  8. Not so hot. You’re engaged only with some or few class discussions.

  9. Oof. You did…something. But barely.

  10. Where were you? You didn’t participate at all. Your groupmates are probably wondering if you’re okay.