New Media, Fall 2018

From Gerald R. Lucas

NMAC 4460.01 | Fall 2018 Online

This seminar explores our inexorable movement from atoms to bits — from the centralized media landscape of the twentieth century, to that of the current bazaar of networked digital cultures.

What does it mean to be citizens of a digital world? Do we invent our technologies, or do they invent us? Welcome to New Media.

New Media represents a paradigm shift in the ways we produce and consume culture, and these shifts are, in turn, changing us. This course examines the theories of media: from those based on the physical (record players, tape recorders, VCRs, newspapers, books, records) to those based on digital information (computers, VR, DVRs, MP3s, etexts, video-on-demand). Both the theoretical and practical will fall under the purview of this course: not only will we consider the art and business of “new media,” but we will extend our digital fingers and participate in the discussion.


Welcome to NMAC 4460, your Senior Seminar in New Media. The document you’re reading is your syllabus. Everything you need for this class is on this page or linked off of it. Return here by clicking “Overview” if you get lost or confused.

Please read this document and those it links to carefully at the beginning of the semester. There is much information to process, and it can be somewhat daunting — especially if you read cursorily. If you are confused, do your best to work through it by (re)reading this document carefully and completely, searching this site, or consulting the FAQ. I promise, there is an answer to your question. If all else fails, you may contact me. Trust yourself to follow directions and find the answers. Be careful and deliberate.

Since you are seniors in the New Media and Communications program, I expect that you are all veteran users of new media. I’m assuming, since you’re taking this course, that you are comfortable with working by yourself and have a basic Internet fluency. Much of what we do in this course will involve using digital media, but also challenging our conventional uses and attitudes toward them. Please enter with an open mind. NMAC 4460 is also designed to let you — the students — discover and create your own knowledge using the powerful digital devices we all have access to.

Since this is a fully-online course, it requires students to be a bit more autonomous in their work and thinking, If you are uncomfortable making decisions, researching your own answers, and working on your own, you may be more comfortable in a traditional, face-to-face section.

For a head start on how to approach all work in this course, see “How to Do Well in My Class,” “Research & Response,” and thew articles under HackEdu. 

Again, read this syllabus through carefully before beginning. You might want to take notes as you go, jotting down questions you have. I bet they are answered by the time you’re ready to begin the first lesson. Again, welcome.

Instructor Information

  • Dr. Gerald R. Lucas | About
  • Office: CAS-117 (Macon campus)
  • Office Hours: MW 9:30–11, 12:15–1 or by appointment (can be via Skype); TRF online by appointment
  • Email: gerald.lucas [at] mga [dot] edu

I try to make myself as available as possible during the first couple weeks of a semester, including evenings and weekends. If you are unavailable during my scheduled office hours, direct message me on D2L and we can set up an appointment.

Course Information

  • Prerequisite: At least a "C" in ENGL 1102
  • Description: This is a survey of new media theories and praxis. It positions new media in relation to the humanities and traditional media.
  • Classroom Hours: Three per week.


With a successful completion of the NMAC 4460, students will understand:

  • the influence of networked digital technologies on communication, art, and culture in a global context;
  • the unique properties of new media;
  • the historical and cultural contexts of new media from theory to praxis;
  • the legal and intellectual property concerns that new media challenges, particularly in the proprietary and open source communities;
  • the political responsibilities of new media use;
  • the distinction between various theoretical approaches to new media in cultural and academic contexts;
  • how new media affects the evolution of the “human.”


Required Texts

  • Murray, Janet H. (1997). Hamlet on the Holodeck. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684827239.
  • Negroponte, Nicholas (1996). Being Digital. New York: Vintage. ISBN 0679762906.
  • Wardrip-Fruin, Noah; Montfort, Nick, eds. (2003). The New Media Reader. Cambridge: The MIT Press. ISBN 0262232278.
  • Various PDFs and Weblinks.

Recommended Texts

Supplementary Documents

At several points throughout the semester, your reading assignments will entail essays that are not in the above texts. These additional readings will be made available to you as PDFs via D2L or links. You will need to download them, print them (or put them on your device), and bring them on the day we are covering them in class. Failure to do so will earn you an absence.


NMAC 4460 is composed of the following components:

Collaborative Reading Journal (50%)

Students should respond to assigned and found readings for each major course topic on the left in an attempt to synthesize a growing understanding of new media and its affect on contemporary life. This journal will be posted on D2L, have a specific point or points to make, directly address the assigned readings, use other readings that have not been assigned, and point to relevant contemporary issues that help clarify and expand the texts. These entries will often be in response to prompts, should use correct digital citation and writing conventions, and average around 500 words a week, both in initial posts and replies to other students’ posts.

Midterm and Final Exams (20%)

A midterm and final cumulative exam will be given that will test your knowledge of the subject matter (texts, research, and vocabulary), your ability to synthesize this material, and your creativity in going beyond the assigned materials. The final exam will include vocabulary, identification, and interpretation. All exam grades will be based upon objective knowledge of the material, thoroughness, depth of insight, precision, and originality.

See sample exams I have made available on D2L. These resources should help you not only prepare for the exam, but provide guidance for your study throughout the semester.

Course Project (30%)

This formal research project combines any aspects of the course concerns into a well-researched, focused, and orginal project. This project could be a research paper, a series of related posts on a blog, significant Wikipedia contributions, a documentary film, or similar multimedia approach to the topic. Research projects may be collaborative. A proposal for this project will be due before midterm and require some sort of written submission followed by a conference with me to discuss your direction and work so far (if necessary).

Lessons Schedule

Each lesson, beginning with "01. Introduction" under Table of Contents in D2L, details what you're responsible for that week. These lessons are designed to keep you working consistently: try to set aside time daily where you can work on each lesson. This schedule guarantees a regular accrual of knowledge leading up to your major writing projects. Complete each activity in order, following links and reading carefully. Post logistical questions on the Help > Questions forum.

Do not try to do everything at the last minute or all at one time. You will not succeed and your grade will suffer.


Lesson Due Date[1] To Do
Introduction and Defining New Media 08/19 Reading Quiz;[2] What is "new media"? (discussion)
Foundations & Transitions 08/26 Foundations (discussion)
Revolution & Democracy 09/09 What's the message? (discussion); Rem/Dev Forum[3]
Digital Humanities 09/16 DH Forum
Open Source 09/23 Inspired by Open Source (discussion)
Midterm & Conferences 10/07 Midterm Exam (due 09/30); Conferences[4]
Participatory Culture 10/14 Remix Culture Forum
Cyberspace 10/21 Cyberspace (discussion)
Catchup Week 10/28 Work on Projects
Cyberdrama & Ludology 11/11 Cyberdrama & Ludology Forum
Posthumanism 12/02 Posthuman Forum
Final Exam 12/07[5] Final exam


Students are held accountable for knowing and practicing each of the following course policies. Consider them like the law: the excuse “I didn’t know” will carry no weight. In addition, students are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to all Middle Georgia State University student policies, including those linked on the Syllabus Policy page.

Students may withdraw from the course and earn a grade of “W” up to and including the midterm date: October 10, 2018. After midterm, students who withdraw will receive a grade of “WF.” Students are encouraged to read the withdrawal policy before dropping/withdrawing from class.


Attendance is based on weekly participation. While students may work within lessons at their own pace, there will be assignments and milestones due each week. In other words: students are required to submit work regularly. I recommend working a bit each day for consistency and to facilitate learning. Any registered student who does not submit work the first week will be counted as a no-show. Large gaps in participation (more than a week of not working) will be grounds for failure.


Late work is unacceptable and will receive a zero. Technical problems do not excuse late work. Plan ahead and turn in your work on time; if you do your work in a timely fashion, computer problems will not be an issue. Please be aware of the D2L maintenance schedule and plan accordingly. Last-minute work submissions are ineligible for revision for a higher grade.


Willful or accidental plagiarism will result in automatic failure of this class (with a grade of an “F”) and will be pursued to incite the utmost penalty for such dishonesty. Academic falsehood, in any form, will constitute class failure. Read More »


All writing in this course should be supported with both primary (readings I assign you) and secondary (sources you find yourself) texts.  All suppositions must be supported with evidence, whether they appear on a forum post, a blog post, or a Wikipedia article. In other words: research is an integral component of everything you do in this course. Any ideas that are not supported might as well not be written. Read More »

For this course we use Digital Citation to cite all of our sources when blogging. Read More »

Technology Requirements

All students should have a newish computer with dependable Internet access. A tablet for reading PDFs is convenient, but not a requirement of the course. Students should check the course site daily for updates. Students are responsible for working out all of their technical difficulties. 


Conference Schedule

For conference week, 10/01–10/03, choose a 15-minute time below and put your last name in place of "Available" to reserve the time (or email me your selection). The purpose of the conference is to discuss your progress in the course so far and to go over your proposal for your project. All conferences will be held on M, T, and W in my office, CoAS-117. Or, we also may do them via Skype if you cannot make it to Macon. If you elect to meet via Skype, please call me at your scheduled time (no earlier) at drgrlucas.

Time M 10/01 T 10/02 W 10/03
10:00 Parker Edwards Morton
10:15 - Pope Hobgood
10:30 - - Brooks
10:45 Powell Tillman
12:30 Addison - Nguyen
12:45 - - Edenfield
1:00 Brundage - Winans (Skype)
1:15 - - Smith (Skype)
1:30 - - Available
1:45 - Snead Cannady


  1. The time will always be Sundays at 11:30pm, unless otherwise stated. The due date will always include the discussions for that lesson. Remember, the penalty for late discussion posts is 2-points-off per day.
  2. This will be used to count your participation. Failure to complete the quiz will mean you are reported as a "no-show".
  3. Note that this lesson spans two weeks as others will do, so try to do a discussion a week.
  4. See "Conference Schedule" below.
  5. This is a Friday.