New Media, Spring 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas
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CRN 25041 nmac 4460.01 tr 9:30–10:45 p-online coas-120 Spring 2020

This partially online (P-OL ⚠️) section of New Media examines 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.

New Media 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.

Social media.jpg

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, the Senior Seminar in New Media. This is a partially online section that will have several mandatory, in-class meetings and workshops (see Schedule). 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.[1] Use the tabs above to navigate to the various sections of the syllabus.[2]

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

Before you begin, take a moment and familiarize yourself with the general resources I have for students. All of these may be found in the “For Students” menu at the top of the page, or you can just begin on the student start page. These pages are designed to help you succeed in this class. While you may not read everything, you should know what’s available if you need it.

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, that you are comfortable working by yourself, and that you have a basic Internet literacy. Much of what we do in this course will involve using and evaluating 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. You will learn more about my approach shortly. 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 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.

Course Information

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.

Course Goals

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.”

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to analyze and evaluate concepts in new media and communication.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge in new media theory.
  • Students will demonstrate skills in research and writing.


  1. While you may certainly choose to print it—we will do our best to follow the schedule hereon—it may change during the course of the semester due to unforeseen circumstances. Should this occur, I will let you know in class and via an announcement on the class forum, but ultimately, this online document has the final say—not a printed one.
  2. You might, too, follow links by opening them in browser tabs—click the link by holding the ⌘ Command on a Mac or Ctrl on a PC—so you can easily return to where you left off.
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