🌎 Overview

NMIX 2020: Introduction to New Media
Fall 2020

Class: MW 3:00-3:50 MLC 171; F 1:50-2:40 / 3:00-3:50

Instructor: John Weatherford

Contact: 403G Journalism /

Office Hours: MTWR 2-3pm via Zoom

Discussion Leaders: Tyler Mazurek and Cesar Moncada


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

Course site

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).


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

Our class’s address is

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.)


Zoom will be used for all remote synchronous meetings and for office hours. Be sure to sign in via UGA SSO and make sure that your full name is displayed to be correctly counted for attendance.


ELC will be used only to take quizzes / exams and to view your grades.


  • This site contains all course readings / videos
  • Slack will be our course communication hub
  • Zoom will be used for remote synchronous meetings and office hours
  • ELC will be used only for taking quizzes / exams and posting grades

📓 Assignments + Grading

Pre-test – 0 points

A 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. 2 3

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.

Breakout Groups and Subgroups – 10 points

Breakout groups will be your chance to enjoy a small class atmosphere within a large class. Of course, they’ll look a little different this fall.

Breakout Groups

After drop/add, students will be assigned to a breakout group of about 18 students. These breakout groups will meet each Friday throughout the semester, alternating between in-person / residential meetings in MLC 171 and remote / virtual meetings via Zoom each week. (This schedule will be shared with you when you’re assigned to a breakout group.

Breakout Subgroup

Each breakout group of about 18 students will be split into three subgroups of about six students each. Each subgroup will be placed into its own Slack channel.

These breakout subgroups are a chance to really get to know a few other students in the class, and they’re also where you’ll first engage with much of the course material. Each week, on Monday and Wednesday, questions / prompts related to that day’s topic will be posted for your subgroup to discuss / respond to. These responses will then jump-start the Friday group discussions and activities.

Your group discussion work will be evaluated twice throughout the class: once at midterm, and again at the end of the semester. You’ll be evaluated on both your participation in your subgroup on Mondays and Wednesdays and in your group on Fridays. 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

Three tips for a fun group / subgroup experience:

  • Get to know your groupmates! Say hi, talk about non-class-related stuff, and help each other out.
  • Have fun—use emoji reactionsshare fun GIFs, whatever you like!
  • Do your best to be the type of person you’d like to be in a group with.

Finally, all group discussions will be governed by this code of conduct—please immediately report any inappropriate behavior directly to me.

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 quizzes (18 x 2 points each)30
Utopia / Dystopia Project15
Midterm exam15
Final exam25

Grading Scale

59.99 and belowF

🗓 Schedule

  • Synchronous class meetings are highlighted in purple and indicated with a ⏱ emoji
  • All large group synchronous class meetings will take place via Zoom links shared via Slack
  • All students will be assigned to a consistent breakout group. Each group will meet at the same time each Friday, but will alternate between meeting in-person in MLC 171 and remotely via Zoom each week. Further details will be posted after drop/add.
  • Quizzes are noted on the syllabus with the 📝 emoji. Unless otherwise noted, quizzes are available via ELC between 3:00-3:30pm on Monday each week.
  • The Weekly Class Podcast will be air live via Zoom each Wednesday starting at 3pm and lasting about 15-20 minutes. Tuning in live is optional!
  • For breakout meetings, 🐶 signifies Cesar’s groups meeting in person, 🦩 signifies Tyler’s groups meeting in person
DateTopicAssignments + Major Dates
Week 0
8/21 Fri.⏱ 1:50 / 3:00pm
Welcome; syllabus
First day of class; Pre-test + syllabus quizzes available
Week 1
8/24 Mon.⏱ 3:00pm
Learning digitally + breakout group overview
Drop / add deadline (Tuesday)
8/26 Wed.
8/28 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 01 🐶📝 Pre-test, syllabus quiz, and learning plan quiz due by start of class
Week 2
8/31 Mon.What is new media?
9/2 Wed.How we got to now, Part I
9/4 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 02 🦩 
Week 3
9/9 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast - Special time at 3:30pm
How we got to now, Part II
📝 What is new media? and How we got to now, Part I
9/11 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 03 🐶
Week 4
9/14 Mon.Hardware📝 How we got to now, Part II
9/16 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
9/18 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 04 🦩 
Week 5
9/21 Mon.Software📝 Hardware
9/23 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
9/25 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 05 🐶 
Week 6
9/28 Mon.Networks📝 Software
9/30 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
10/2 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 06 🦩 
Week 7
10/5 Mon.⏱ Midterm exam review📝 Networks
10/7 Wed.⏱ Midterm examMidterm exam
10/9 Fri.
Week 8
10/12 Mon.Case study: AppleMidpoint of semester (Tuesday 10/13)
10/14 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Topic: Smartphones
10/16 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 07 🐶 
Week 9
10/19 Mon.Topic: Augmented / Virtual Reality📝 Apple and Smartphones
10/21 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Case study: Google
10/23 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 08 🦩 
Week 10
10/26 Mon.Topic: AI (Artificial Intelligence) + ML (Machine Learning)Withdrawal deadline (Tuesday 10/27);
📝 AR / VR and Google
10/28 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Topic: Self-driving cars, drones, + other robots
Week 11
11/2 Mon.Case study: Facebook (+ social media) 📝 AI + ML and Robots
11/4 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Topic: Start-ups + Unicorns
11/6 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 09 🐶 
Week 12
11/9 Mon.Topic: News📝 Facebook (+ social media) and Start-ups + unicorns
11/11 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Case study: Amazon (+ commerce)
11/13 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 10 🦩 
Week 13
11/16 Mon.Topic: The Cloud + Big Data📝 News and Amazon (+ commerce)
11/18 Wed.🎙 Weekly Class Podcast
Topic: Voice + smart home / Internet of Things
11/20 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 11 🐶 
Week 14
11/23 Mon.⏱ Utopia - Dystopia work day📝 The Cloud + Big Data and Voice + smart home / Internet of Things
Week 15
11/30 Mon.⏱ Utopia - Dystopia work day
12/2 Wed.⏱ Utopia - Dystopia work day 
12/4 Fri.⏱ Breakout session 12 🦩 
Week 16
12/7 Mon.⏱ Utopia Day, 3:00pm
12/8 Tues.⏱ Dystopia Day, 3:00pm
12/9 Wed.⏱ Final exam review, 3:00pmLast day of class
Week 17
12/14 Mon.⏱ Final Exam, 3:30-5:30pmFinal Exam

💁‍♀️ Policies


As you will with much in life, you’ll get out of this class what you put into it. You’re expected to attend all synchronous class meetings, whether remote/online or residential/in-person.

For Zoom meetings, attendance is automatically taken by Zoom. Be sure that you’re signed into Zoom via UGA SSO and that your full first and last name is displayed to receive credit for attendance.

For residential meetings, attendance will be taken by seating chart 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. 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).

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 discussion leaders Tyler and Cesar), 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-tyler-and-cesar 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 Tyler or Cesar 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

This semester, I’ll be holding office hours via Zoom only. In addition to the times posted at the top of the syllabus when I’ll be holding open office hours, I’m also available by appointment—just send me a DM on Slack to set up a mutually convenient time to talk.

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.

Service Animals

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.

Honor Code and 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 (“I will be academically honest in all of my academic work and will not tolerate academic dishonesty of others.”).  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. 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.

New Media Institute Policies

Students in New Media Institute classes are responsible for knowing and abiding by all NMI policies. Read these policies at

NMI Social Media

No matter which social media platforms you’re active on, the NMI is there. The NMI posts student highlights, important timely announcements, details about upcoming events, job opportunities, and other content you won’t want to miss. No Tik Tok dancing involved.

Why keep up with the Kardashians when you can keep up with the NMI? 

• Join the New Media Institute Job Board on LinkedIn
• Like the New Media Institute on Facebook
• Follow @nmiuga (and @JohnWeatherford) on Twitter
• Follow @nmiuga on Instagram

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 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 ( or crisis support ( 

If you need help managing stress anxiety, relationships, etc., please visit 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 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.

COVID-19 Information

  • Attendance: Attendance will be tracked in all New Media Institute courses and may be reported to Grady College Leadership.
  • Mask Requirements: As with the rest of the University, masks are required in all New Media Institute classes, lab spaces, conference spaces, co-working spaces, and faculty offices. Eating and drinking is also prohibited in these spaces. Masks are to be properly worn, covering both nose and chin. 
  • Cleaning Procedures: All students must clean their workstation upon arrival. Sanitize the desk surface in all rooms and the mouse and keyboard in labs.
  • NMI Doors: To increase airflow and reduce contact, doors must remain open to all New Media Institute classrooms, lab spaces, conference spaces, and co-working spaces. Some doors will be single directional. Please use each door appropriately. 
  • Assigned Seating: Assigned seating will be required in all New Media Institute classes. Your permanent seat will be assigned during the first week. 
  • DawgCheck: Please perform a quick symptom check each weekday on DawgCheck—on the UGA app or website—whether you feel sick or not. It will help health providers monitor the health situation on campus:
  • What do I do if I have symptoms? Students showing symptoms should self-isolate and schedule an appointment with the University Health Center by calling 706-542-1162 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). Please DO NOT walk-in. For emergencies and after-hours care, see
  • What do I do if I am notified that I have been exposed? Students who learn they have been directly exposed to COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms should self-quarantine for 14 days consistent with Department of Public Health (DPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Please correspond with your instructor via email, with a cc: to Student Care & Outreach at, to coordinate continuing your coursework while self-quarantined. If you develop symptoms, you should contact the University Health Center to make an appointment to be tested. You should continue to monitor your symptoms daily on DawgCheck.
  • How do I get a test? Students who are demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 should call the University Health Center. UHC is offering testing by appointment for students; appointments may be booked by calling 706-542-1162. UGA will also be recruiting asymptomatic students to participate in surveillance tests. Students living in residence halls, Greek housing and off-campus apartment complexes are encouraged to participate.
  • What do I do if I test positive? Any student with a positive COVID-19 test is required to report the test in DawgCheck and should self-isolate immediately. Students should not attend classes in-person until the isolation period is completed and should contact their instructor and discussion leader immediately to make plans for participating in in-person class activities as possible. Once you report the positive test through DawgCheck, UGA Student Care and Outreach will follow up with you.

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

  1. and, whenever possible, fun! 🎉

  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 discussions to the highest possible degree: 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.

  6. Solid work! You’re actively engaged with all class discussions.

  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.