New Media, Fall 2019

From Gerald R. Lucas
Revision as of 07:42, 11 July 2019 by Grlucas (talk | contribs) (Tweaked instructor info.)
Syllabus R1 R2 R3 L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10  
85288 nmac 4460.01 Online Fall, 2019

This online section of New Media examines some social and cultural implications of digital media on human identity and practice. NMAC 4460 is the senior seminar for New Media and Communications majors and should be taken in your final semester.


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.

NMAC 4460: Senior Seminar in New Media
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 3 per week.
Credits 3 credits.


Welcome to NMAC 4460, the Senior Seminar in New Media. The document you’re reading is your syllabus. Everything you need for this class is on this page and linked off of it. Bookmark it now and return here 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.

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

Also, use this syllabus as a model for how you should approach digital writing as a college student and a professional.

This course will probably be unlike any college course you have ever taken. It is designed to let you — the students — discover and create your own knowledge. If you’ve not taken an online course before, you will essentially be teaching yourself with my guidance. I’m assuming, since you’re taking this class online, that you are comfortable with working by yourself, are confident in your ability to take risks, do not need the constant reassurance of an authority figure, and have a basic Internet literacy. You will learn more about my approach shortly. Please enter with an open mind. If you’re curious to know more right now, you might want to read my teaching philosophy and peruse the articles under HackEdu.

Again, read this document 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.

New Media Image 04.jpg

Instructor Information

Gerald R. Lucas
Office CoAS-117 (Macon campus), Department of Media, Culture & the Arts
Office Hours See Contact
Email gerald.lucas [at] mga [dot] edu

I try to make myself as available as much as possible during the first couple weeks of a semester, including evenings and weekends. If you need to chat with me, email me and we’ll arrange a video conference via Skype (or similar service), if necessary. Please do not expect a response after 5pm on weekdays or anytime during the weekend. I may be available, but I also need some down time. Thanks for your understanding.


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

  • Negroponte, Nicholas (1996). Being Digital. New York: Vintage.[1]
  • Various Links and PDFs[2]

Recommended Texts

Your course book(s) or readings should always accompany you to class, as we will make heavy use of them in our daily discussions. Please do not come to class without it: we need the book for class activities, in-class writing, and all aspects of our study. PDFs must be printed if they are used in class. Failure to do so will earn you an absence (see Attendance).

You should also bring an ink interface of some sort, as well as dead trees on which to take notes. Notes should not only reflect good listening skills, but individual interest in every topic discussed in class.

Supplementary Documents

Access Texts

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 Google Drive: request access. 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.

New Media Image 05.jpg


Requirement %
R1: Wikipedia Contributions 50%
R2: Journal 30%
R3: Participation 20%

This course is composed of three components, listed in the chart on the right. Each is detailed in the tabs[3] at the top of the page or by following the links. Each requirement will be on-going throughout the semester, will require regular contributions, and be comprised of various assignments.

Projects you complete online should be able to stand alone; that is, assignments should not reference the class, but target a particular professional audience. Remember, these are public documents, not just assignments; your audience, if you’re considering yourself as part of an expert community, is not necessarily your classmates and professor.

Please read each project at the beginning of the semester, so you have an understanding of what will be expected of you during the semester. Some assignments will take longer to complete than others. Work a bit and practice every day — do not procrastinate.[4]


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.[5]

Drop Date
October 14, 2019

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

Assignments and Deadlines

Your work represents you. Everything you turn in for evaluation should exemplify the very best of your professional self. 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. Last-minute work submissions are ineligible for revision for a higher grade.


Attendance for online courses is based on consistent participation. While students may work within lessons at their own pace, there will be assignments and milestones due regularly, usually each week. In other words: students are required to submit work each week to remain in good-standing. I recommend working a bit every 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.


Communication is integral to success, no matter what we’re talking about. In a digital world, these literacies are particularly important. Not only should you develop and perfect your communication skills while in college, you need to use those skills everyday with your peers and professors.


Evaluation depends on overall student performance: depending on the successful completion of all requirements, participation, and attitude. Some requirements are weighed heavier in evaluation, but all are essential to successfully complete the class. Letter grades are based upon a traditional ten-point scale. Grades for this class will be based on the point system.


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.


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, a Wikipedia article, or class discussion. 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.

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.

High Tech 10.jpg



This schedule represents the ideal outline for our study this semester. Yet, like all best-laid plans, we may not be able to keep up with our agenda. Please be flexible and try to look and read ahead whenever possible. We will do our best to stick by this schedule, but I will inform you verbally whenever there is a change in or an addition to an assignment. Getting these updates is solely your responsibility. Therefore, this schedule is tentative and subject to change contingent upon the needs of the students and the professor, and dictated by time and other constraints which may affect the course. This schedule reflects only an overview of the assigned reading and other major course assignments. It may not indicate specific class session assignments or activities. Specific assignments are often given in class.

Course Overview

This course is divided into ten lessons. The following is just a general outline of the course activities. More details are provided in the tab[6] for each week located at the top of the page or by clicking the links below.

L1 August 14 – August 23[7] Introduction to New Media and Wikipedia
L2 August 26 – September 4 Foundations
L3 September 9 – September 13 Being Digital
L4 September 16 – September 20 Open v. Closed
L5 September 23 – September 27 Remix & Participatory Culture
L6 September 30 – October 4 Hackschooling
L7 October 7 – October 11 Cyberspace
L8 October 14 – October 18 Cyberdrama
L9 October 21 – October 25 Privacy & Security
L10 October 28 – December 6 Posthumanism & Project Work


  1. Buy this book immediately, as you will need it first and use it throughout the semester.
  2. Request access.
  3. Denoted as R1—R3.
  4. Seriously, procrastination is likely the cause of 95% of failures in this course. You must work consistently and carefully each week to be successful.
  5. See the MGA website's Syllabus Policy Page the policies linked thereon.
  6. L1–L8.
  7. Note, a portion of this lesson must be completed the first week of class.