Syllabus – Online

🌎 Overview

NMIX 2020E: Intro to New Media
Summer 2020

Class: Online
Instructor: John Weatherford
Contact: johnweatherford@uga.edu
TA: Jen Malson (contact via Slack only)
Office Hours: 1-2pm on Thursdays and by appointment

Description

Welcome to an exploration of the technical, social, cultural, ethical, and economic aspects of new media technologies. We’ll start with a bit of history and theory and then learn all about hardware, software, and networks. Next, we’ll dive in to case studies of leading tech companies and explore essential new media topics. Through all this, you’ll develop a solid working knowledge of the field and know where and how to further your own knowledge outside of the classroom.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, you’ll be able to:

  • Summarize the history of media and communication leading up to the era of new media
  • Identify the social and cultural dynamics that create and are created by new mediums
  • Explain the key technologies underpinning the hardware, software, and networks that comprise essential new media forms (the internet, social media, mobile devices, the internet of things, and more)
  • Analyze current events, companies, and trends in new media from various perspectives (technical, social, cultural, ethical, economic, etc.)

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

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. We’ll employ a variety of resources, assignments, and activities throughout the class to accomplish these goals, an approach know as active learning.

Class Culture

While our first lesson will walk through many of the attitudes and practices each of you, individually, will need to cultivate to succeed in this class, it’s also worth taking some time to talk about what we all should expect from each other.

In short, we’ll work to cultivate an atmosphere of curiosity, fun, and professionalism. That means that you can expect me to:

  • Create an atmosphere of curiosity and inclusion where everyone feels welcome to bring their authentic selves to class
  • Communicate a clear direction for the course as a whole and for each class gathering, activity, and assignment
  • Work diligently to make all assignments and activities of this class worthwhile1

Similarly, I expect each of you to approach each component of the class with an open mind, a diligent work ethic, and respect for your peers and instructors. How? We’ll get into the particulars throughout the rest of the syllabus. 😉

📚 Texts + Tools

eLC

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

Course site

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

Slack

We’re going to use Slack for all class discussion and communication, including important updates from me. Slack is also where you’ll also take part in group discussions.

You’ll receive an invite via your UGA email address; 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 you must install the Slack app on your phone and on your desktop.2 Our team’s address is http://2020summernmix2020e.slack.com/.

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.)

Summary

To summarize:

eLC: Grades and quizzes.

IntroToNewMedia.com: Readings

Slack: Questions, collaboration, announcements, etc.

📓 Assignments + Grading

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 being evaluated, not you!

Syllabus Quiz – 2 points

An eLC quiz worth two points, covering everything in the syllabus. 3 4

Learning Plan – 3 points

It’s a cliché 5, 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 home 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, Jen, our wonderful TA, 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 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: 🔥 6
  • 4 points: 👏 7
  • 3 points: 👍 8
  • 2 points: 😐 9
  • 1 point: 🤦‍♂️ / 🤦‍♀️ 10
  • 0 points: 👻 11

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 – 30 points

For each of the 18 readings in the class, you’ll take a short eLC quiz. Anything discussed or linked to in the readings is fair game for the quizzes.

The goal of these quizzes is to serve as lightweight, ongoing accountability for the course readings and discussion. To that end, the two following adjustments will be made to quiz grades:

1) Out of 18 total quizzes, your lowest two grades will be dropped. This will leave 16 graded quizzes, worth 1.875 points each, for a total of 30 points allocated for quizzes in your final grade.

2) After all quizzes have been taken, your final quiz average will be adjusted as follows:

  • < 70%: +8% to final average (ex. an average of 56% will be adjusted to 64%)
  • ≥70%: adjusted to 86% (25.8 out of 30 points)
  • ≥80% adjusted to 92% ( 27.6 out of 30 points)
  • ≥90% adjusted to 100% (30 out of 30 points)

Utopia / Dystopia Project – 15 points

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

Midterm Exam – 15 points

An exam on eLC cumulatively covering the material in the first half of the course—Theory + History and Building Blocks. 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.

Final Exam – 25 points

A longer exam on eLC, cumulatively covering all material 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.

Summary (100 points total)

Syllabus quiz2
Learning plan3
Group discussions10
Lesson quizzes30
Utopia / Dystopia Project15
Midterm exam15
Final exam25
Total100

Grading Scale

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

🗓 Schedule

DateDiscussion TopicAssignments + Major Dates
6/5 Fri.Get to know each other!First day of class; Drop / add begins; Assigned to Slack discussion group; Pre-test available
6/8 Mon.SyllabusSyllabus quiz available; synchronous class 1pm
6/9 Tues.Learning digitally + learning planLearning plan quiz available
6/10 Wed.What is new media?What is new media? quiz available
6/11 Thurs.What is new media?Drop / add ends; office hours 1pm
6/12 Fri.How we got to now, Part IPre-test deadline; Syllabus quiz deadline; What is new media? quiz deadline; How we got to now, Part I quiz available
6/15 Mon.How we got to now, Part ILearning plan quiz deadline; synchronous class 1pm
6/16 Tues.How we got to now, Part IIHow we got to now, Part I quiz deadline; How we got to now, Part II quiz available
6/17 Wed.How we got to now, Part II 
6/18 Thurs.HardwareHow we got to now, Part II quiz deadline; Hardware quiz available; office hours 1pm
6/19 Fri.Hardware 
6/22 Mon.SoftwareHardware quiz deadline; Software quiz available; synchronous class 1pm
6/23 Tues.Software 
6/24 Wed.Software 
6/25 Thurs.NetworksSoftware quiz deadline; Networks quiz available; office hours 1pm
6/26 Fri.Networks 
6/29 Mon.Midterm exam studyNetworks quiz deadline; Midterm exam available; synchronous class 1pm
6/30 Tues.Midterm exam deadline
7/1 Wed.Topics + Case Studies Group IMidpoint of semester; Withdrawal deadline; Topics + Case Studies Group I quizzes available
7/2 Thurs.Topics + Case Studies Group IOffice hours 1pm
7/6 Mon.Topics + Case Studies Group ISynchronous class 1pm
7/7 Tues.Topics + Case Studies Group ITopics + Case Studies Group I quizzes deadline
7/8 Wed.Topics + Case Studies Group IITopics + Case Studies Group II quizzes available
7/9 Thurs.Topics + Case Studies Group IIOffice hours 1pm
7/10 Fri.Topics + Case Studies Group II
7/13 Mon.Utopia / Dystopia project overviewSynchronous class 1pm
7/14 Tues.Topics + Case Studies Group IITopics + Case Studies Group II quiz deadline
7/15 Wed.Topics + Case Studies Group IIITopics + Case Studies Group III quiz available
7/16 Thurs.Topics + Case Studies Group IIIOffice hours 1pm
7/17 Fri.Topics + Case Studies Group III 
7/20 Mon.Topics + Case Studies Group IIITopics + Case Studies Group III quiz deadline; synchronous class 1pm
7/21 Tues.Topics + Case Studies Group IVTopics + Case Studies Group IV quizzes available
7/22 Wed.Topics + Case Studies Group IV
7/23 Thurs.Topics + Case Studies Group IVOffice hours 1pm
7/24 Fri.Topics + Case Studies Group IVTopics + Case Studies Group IV quiz deadline
7/27 Mon.Utopia DaySynchronous class 1pm
7/28 Tues.Dystopia Day
7/29 Wed.Final exam studyFinal day of class
7/30 Thurs.Final exam available; office hours 1pm
7/31 Fri. –Final exam deadline

💁‍♀️ Policies

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).

Email / Direct Messages

As I’ve already mentioned, we’re using Slack as the sole tool for our class communication. So, instead of emailing me (or our wonderful TA Jen Malson), 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-and-jen on Slack

If you do all of those and still have a question just for us, then by all means direct message us (just start a new direct message and include both Jen and I 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.

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 Zoom, just let me know, and we’ll work out a time that’s mutually agreeable.

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.

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.

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 honesty.uga.edu. 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. As nearly all of the class materials and assignments are online, 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.

NMI Social Media

All NMI students are strongly encouraged to follow our social media policies. Complete the following steps during the first week of class:

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 Services

As a student at the University of Georgia, you have access to a wide variety of services to help you succeed. Click here to view a description of services along with links and contact information if you wish to learn more about these topics. Of course, you’re also welcome to talk with me if I can help in any way, too.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources:

If you or someone you know needs assistance, you are encouraged to contact Student Care and Outreach in the Division of Student Affairs at 706-542-7774 or visit https://sco.uga.edu. They will help you navigate any difficult circumstances you may be facing by connecting you with the appropriate resources or services. 

UGA has several resources for a student seeking mental health services (https://www.uhs.uga.edu/bewelluga/bewelluga) or crisis support (https://www.uhs.uga.edu/info/emergencies). 

If you need help managing stress anxiety, relationships, etc., please visit BeWellUGA (https://www.uhs.uga.edu/bewelluga/bewelluga) for a list of FREE workshops, classes, mentoring, and health coaching led by licensed clinicians and health educators in the University Health Center. 

Additional resources can be accessed through the UGA App. 

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)

College can be stressful. Life has difficult stretches. If you need help, get it. CAPS provides 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.

Emergency Preparedness

Verify that your emergency contact information is correct at ugaalert.uga.edu and add 706-542-0111 as “UGAAlert” in your contacts. If you have concerns about any emergencies or if you have special circumstances that I need to know about in case of an emergency, please speak to me after class.

Changes to Course Syllabus

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


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. and, whenever possible, fun! 🎉

  2. Slack offers excellent tools for managing notifications.

  3. That you’re reading right now!

  4. 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.

  5. And a chiasmus!

  6. 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.

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

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

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

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

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