Syllabus – Old

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Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov.


Quick links

NMIX 2020: Intro to New Media
Fall 2018

Class: MW 2:30-3:20 MLC 102; F Breakouts 1:25-2:15, 2:30-3:20

Breakout Sessions: Miner: Fine Arts 400; Troyer: Journalism 401; Tucker: Journalism 409; White: Journalism 418

Instructor:   John Weatherford

Contact: 403G Journalism /

Office Hours: M 1:15-2:15pm, TR 1-3:30pm

Teaching Assistants: Jake Troyer (Lead TA) and Cydney White

Discussion Leaders: Abbey Miner and Grant Tucker


Students will:

  • 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.


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. It’ll contain the course’s calendar, and it’s also where I’ll post announcements and updates.


All of the readings for the course can be found at It’ll also be fun and potentially helpful to keep an eye on my Twitter feed (@JohnWeatherford).


After the first week or so of class, we’re going to use Slack for all class communication, including important updates from me and your discussion leaders.

I’ll invite you via your UGA email address once drop / add has ended; after you’ve created your account, please complete your profile so that we know who we’re talking to. After you’ve joined the class Slack, use only Slack—not email—to contact us.

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.)

Online tools summary

To summarize:

eLC: Grades, quizzes, calendar, updates / announcements. Readings

Slack: Questions, collaboration, announcements, etc.


As you will with much in life, you will get out of this class what you put into it. You’re expected to come to class regularly. Life, however, is full, and conflicts, illnesses, and extraordinary opportunities may arise. Therefore, you may miss up to five classes without any direct penalty; I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Because missing class affects your ability to be an effective member of our learning community, if you miss more than five classes before the midpoint, you will be dropped from the class. If you accrue more than five absences after the midpoint, your final grade will be reduced by two points for each day of class you miss past the fifth absence.

Attendance will be taken by seating chart at random times during class by your discussion leader. Any questions relating to your attendance should be directed to your discussion leader.

Arriving to class late / leaving early is extremely disruptive. If your class schedule will make arriving on time difficult, let your discussion leader know and make arrangements to sit on the outside aisles of the class. Everyone who arrives to class late or leaves early must check in with their discussion leader—no exceptions.

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 eLCTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, and here are the accessibility policies for eLCTwitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.)

Student Success Resources

Student Services

Students at the University of Georgia have access to a wide variety of services to help them succeed. 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 see me after class or make an appointment during office hours. If you plan to request accommodations for a disability, visit the Disability Resource Center website or call 1 (706) 542-8719.

Emergency preparedness

Verify that your emergency contact information is correct at ugaalert.uga.eduand add 706-542-0111 as “UGAAlert” in your contacts. We will discuss emergency exit routes the first day of class.

  • If the fire alarm sounds, we will evacuate the building and reassemble in front of the MLC near Lumpkin Street to make sure that everyone exited safely. Quickly move away from the entrances so as not to hinder first responders.
  • If there is a tornado warning, we’ll stay put—we’re already in a tornado shelter!
  • In the event of a medical emergency, I will ask one of you to meet EMS responders and bring them to our classroom.

If you have concerns about other emergencies or if you have special circumstances that I need to know about in case of an emergency, please speak to us after class.

Counseling and psychiatric services (CAPS)

College can. be stressful. Life has difficult stretches. If you need help, get it. CAPSprovides short-term individual counseling, group counseling, couples counseling, crisis intervention, psychiatric evaluation and medication monitoring, psychological testing, and makes referrals to campus and community resources when appropriate.

Service animals in class

Students who train or use service animals should be aware of UGA policy.  More info is available here.

Non-discrimination policy

I do not engage in or tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of race/ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status. In addition, I do not discriminate on the basis of class, income, or political views. If there is something I can do to make the class more hospitable, please let me know.

Office Hours

In addition to the times posted at the top of the syllabus, I’ll frequently (though not always!) be in my office during regular business hours. You’re welcome to come by and see me with any questions, concerns, or just to say hi. I work with my door closed, but you’re always welcome to come in! The best way to meet with me is to make an appointment via email.

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, covering everything in the syllabus. 12

Learning Plan – 3 points

It’s a cliché 3, 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.

Breakout sections – 10 points

Breakout sessions will be your chance to enjoy a small class atmosphere within a large class. As such, you’ll be expected to actively engage in class.

Your group discussion work will be evaluated twice throughout the class: once at midterm, and again at the end of the semester. Each evaluation is worth five points, and will be graded according to the following scale:

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

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.

Midterm Exam – 15 points

An exam on eLC cumulatively covering the material in the first half of 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.

Utopia / Dystopia Project – 10 points

A fun, creative project to be carried out in your discussion sections. Details here.

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
Midterm exam 15
Utopia / Dystopia Project 10
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 Topic Assignments + Major Dates
8/13 Mon. Welcome; syllabus First day of class; Pre-test available
8/15 Wed. Learning digitally Syllabus quiz (in class); learning plan quiz available
8/17 Fri. What is new media? Drop / add deadline; What is new media? quiz available
8/20 Mon. How we got to now, Part I 11:59 pm deadline for: Pre-test, syllabus quiz, What is new media? quiz
8/22 Wed. How we got to now, Part II Learning plan quiz due by 11:59pm
8/24 Fri. Breakout session Getting to know you; How we got to now, Part I and II quizzes (in class);
8/27 Mon. Hardware
8/29 Wed. Hardware
8/31 Fri. Breakout session Hardware quiz (in class)
9/5 Wed. Software
9/7 Fri. Breakout session Extra credit opportunity
9/10 Mon. Software
9/12 Wed. Apple Event! / Software
9/14 Fri. Breakout session Software quiz (in class)
9/17 Mon. Networks
9/19 Wed. Networks
9/21 Fri. Breakout session Network quiz (in class)
9/24 Mon. Case study: Apple
9/26 Wed. Guest lecture: design thinking
9/28 Fri. Breakout session Apple quiz (in class) and design thinking exercises; midterm review
10/1 Mon. Midterm exam Midterm exam
10/3 Wed. Topic: Smartphones Midpoint of semester
10/5 Fri. Breakout session Smartphones quiz (in class) and discussion
10/8 Mon. Topic: Augmented / Virtual Reality
10/10 Wed. Case study: Google
10/12 Fri. Breakout session AR / VR + Google quizzes (in class)
10/15 Mon. Topic: AI (Artificial Intelligence) + ML (Machine Learning)
10/17 Wed. Topic: Self-driving cars, drones, + other robots Withdrawal deadline
10/19 Fri. Breakout session AI + ML and Robots quizzes (in class)
10/22 Mon. Case study: Facebook (+ social media)
10/24 Wed. Topic: Start-ups + Unicorns Facebook (+ social media) and Start-ups + unicorns quizzes

Quizzes available 10/24 3:30PM – 10/25 11:59PM

10/29 Mon. Topic: News
10/31 Wed. Case study: Amazon (+ commerce)
11/2 Fri. Breakout session News and Amazon (+ commerce) quizzes (in class)
11/5 Mon. Utopia – Dystopia project logistics + topic selection
11/7 Wed. Topic: The Cloud + Big Data
11/9 Fri. Breakout session The Cloud + Big Data quiz (in class); initial Utopia / Dystopia project planning
11/12 Mon. Topic: Voice + smart home / Internet of Things
11/14 Wed. Utopia – Dystopia work day
11/16 Fri. Breakout session Voice + smart home / Internet of Things quiz; Utopia – Dystopia work day
11/26 Mon. Utopia Day
11/28 Wed. Dystopia Day
11/30 Fri. Breakout session Final exam review
12/3 Mon. Final exam review
12/4 Tues. NMIXmas / Life advice Last day of class
12/12 Fri. Final Exam, 3:30-6:30pm

Words on this page: 2,835

Words in required readings: 0

Total words in this lesson: 2,835

  1. That you’re reading right now!

  2. 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.

  3. And a chiasmus!

  4. 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, not dominating the conversation / helping draw quieter group members into the conversation, and generally elevating the level of discourse in the group.

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

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

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

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

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