NMIX 2020: Intro to New Media
Class: MW 2:30-3:20 MLC 102; F Breakouts 1:25-2:15, 2:30-3:20
Breakout Sessions: Miner: Journalism 401; Mazurek: Journalism 402; White: Journalism 418
Instructor: John Weatherford
Contact: 403G Journalism / firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: M 1:15-2:15pm, TR 1-3:30pm
Teaching Assistant: Cydney White
Discussion Leaders: Tyler Mazurek and Abbey Miner
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.
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.)
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
Topics + Case Studies
- New media case study: Apple
- New media topic: Smartphones
- New media topic: Augmented / Virtual Reality
- New media case study: Google
- New media topic: AI (Artificial Intelligence) + ML (Machine Learning)
- New media topic: Self-driving cars, drones, + other robots)
- New media case study: Facebook (+ social media)
- New media topic: Start-ups and Unicorns
- New media topic: News
- New media case study: Amazon (+ commerce)
- New media topic: The Cloud + Big Data
- New media topic: Voice + smart home / Internet of Things
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.
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. 😉
📚 Tools + Texts
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.
After the first week or so of class, we’ll use Slack for all class communication, including important updates from me and your discussion leaders.
You’ll receive an invite at 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 2019fallnmix2020.slack.com2.
eLC: Grades and quizzes.
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
Learning Plan – 3 points
It’s a cliché 6, 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.
Tech news practice – 5 points
The tech sector moves quickly. Developing the habit (practice) of keeping up with current technology news is essential for anyone working in new media or adjacent fields. This small assignment—with extra credit opportunities!—will help you develop this skill. Details here.
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:
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.
Utopia / Dystopia Project – 10 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
|Tech news practice||5|
|Lesson quizzes (18 x 2 points each)||30|
|Utopia / Dystopia Project||10|
|59.99 and below||F|
|Date||Topic||Assignments + Major Dates|
|8/14 Wed.||Welcome; syllabus||First day of class; Pre-test available|
|8/16 Fri.||Learning digitally||Syllabus quiz (in class); learning plan quiz available|
|8/19 Mon.||What is new media?||Drop / add deadline (Tuesday); What is new media? quiz available|
|8/21 Wed.||Tech news practice kickoff + anatomy of a good quiz question||11:59 pm deadline for: Pre-test, syllabus quiz, What is new media? quiz|
|8/23 Fri.||Breakout session||Learning plan quiz due by start of class; Getting to know you|
|8/26 Mon.||How we got to now, Part I|
|8/28 Wed.||How we got to now, Part II|
|8/30 Fri.||Breakout session||How we got to now, Part I and II quizzes (in class);|
|9/6 Fri.||Breakout session||Extra credit opportunity|
|9/13 Fri.||Breakout session||Hardware quiz (in class)|
|9/20 Fri.||Breakout session||Software quiz (in class)|
|9/27 Fri.||Breakout session||Networks quiz (in class); Midterm review|
|9/30 Mon.||Midterm exam||Midterm exam|
|10/2 Wed.||Case study: Apple|
|10/4 Fri.||Breakout session||Apple quiz (in class)|
|10/7 Mon.||Topic: Smartphones||Midpoint of semester|
|10/9 Wed.||Topic: Augmented / Virtual Reality|
|10/11 Fri.||Breakout session||Smartphones and AR / VR quizzes (in class)|
|10/14 Mon.||Case study: Google|
|10/16 Wed.||Topic: AI (Artificial Intelligence) + ML (Machine Learning)|
|10/18 Fri.||Breakout session||Google and AI + ML quizzes (in class)|
|10/21 Mon.||Topic: Self-driving cars, drones, + other robots||Withdrawal deadline;|
|10/23 Wed.||Case study: Facebook (+ social media)|
|10/25 Fri.||Breakout session||Robots and Facebook (+ social media) quizzes (in class)|
|10/28 Mon.||Topic: Start-ups + Unicorns|
|10/30 Wed.||Topic: News||Start-ups + unicorns and News quizzes available 10/30 3:30PM – 10/31 11:59PM|
|11/4 Mon.||Case study: Amazon (+ commerce)|
|11/6 Wed.||Utopia – Dystopia project logistics + topic selection|
|11/8 Fri.||Breakout session||Amazon (+ commerce) quiz (in class); Initial Utopia / Dystopia project planning|
|11/11 Mon.||Topic: The Cloud + Big Data|
|11/13 Wed.||Topic: Voice + smart home / Internet of Things|
|11/15 Fri.||Breakout session||The Cloud + Big Data and Voice + smart home / Internet of Things quizzes (in class); Utopia – Dystopia work day|
|11/18 Mon.||Utopia – Dystopia work day|
|11/20 Wed.||Utopia Day|
|11/22 Fri.||Dystopia Day|
|11/25 Mon.||Utopia – Dystopia project debrief|
|12/2 Mon.||Final exam review / Tech news practice re-cap||Tech news practice journals due|
|12/4 Wed.||Final exam review / Life advice||Last day of class|
|12/6 Fri.||Final Exam, 3:30-5:30pm|
As you will with much in life, you’ll 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 disruptive for others in the class. 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.
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).
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.
Students who train or use service animals should be aware of UGA policy. More info is available here.
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.
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:
- Create a LinkedIn account and join the New Media Institute LinkedIn Group
- Create a Facebook Profile and Like the New Media Institute Fan Page
- Create a Twitter Account and follow @nmiuga, @UGAGrady, and @JohnWeatherford.
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 eLC, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and here are the accessibility policies for eLC, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.)
Technology Use in Class
I love technology, and this is a class about technology. Technology can be great!
This is also a class about being thoughtful about technology, though, and one of the first ways to do that is to be thoughtful about how you’ll use technology in class. In general, I encourage two principles:
- Use as little technology as possible
- Configure the technology you do use to minimize distractions both for yourself and for your classmates
What might this look like? In general, I’d say it’s a-okay to use a laptop (or iPad, or whatever) to take notes, with your note-taking app full-screen, with Do Not Disturb turned on13, with sound off and screen brightness as dim as you can comfortably read. Anything beyond that, and you’re inviting distraction, both into your own classroom experience (not great) and that of the classmates sitting around you (super not great).14
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! If possible, message me on Slack before you visit to make sure that I’ll be able to see you (I might already be meeting with another student, etc.)
As a students 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.
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.
Verify that your emergency contact information is correct at ugaalert.uga.edu and 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.
Changes to Course Syllabus
The course syllabus is a general plan; deviations announced to the class by the instructor may be necessary.
Words on this page: 2,835
Words in required readings: 0
Total words in this lesson: 2,835
and, whenever possible, fun! 🎉↩
It’ll be so crazy—so crazy!—when it’ll be 2020 in 2020, right?🤯↩
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.↩
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.↩
Solid work! You’re actively engaged with all class discussions, occasionally going above and beyond.↩
Pretty good—you’re actively engaged with most class discussions, but maybe a bit hit or miss on the consistency.↩
Not so hot. You’re engaged only with some or few class discussions.↩
Oof. You did…something. But barely.↩
Where were you? You didn’t participate at all. Your groupmates are probably wondering if you’re okay.↩
And with thoughtful curation of your notifications even before that, too, though that’s really a separate thing↩
Of course, if you use assistive technologies, etc., by all means, use those!↩