Teaching

Photo Credit: Paul Goyette

Teaching

Below you can find links to the courses I am currently teaching, as well as links to prior semesters. I teach at Saint Joseph’s University. Most of the classes I teach deal with media theory and network theory. I also teach project based courses where the goal is not only to critique the current digital media landscape, but to learn by producing objects for it as well.

Since I firmly believe in, and advocate for “open source” knowledge production, I make as much information as possible available to the wider public. Information on both current and past courses I have taught can be found here, along with links to all of the syllabi. Please feel free to use/borrow/steal whatever you find useful. (Everything here is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commericial-ShareAlike license.)

Courses for Fall 2017

Courses for Spring 2017

Courses for Fall 2016

Courses for Spring 2016

Courses for Fall 2015

Courses from Spring 2015

Courses from Fall 2014

Archives

Spring ’14

  • Ethics in Communication. (COM201).In 2006 Time named “You” as the person of the year. What at the time seemed like a clever ploy to sell extra magazines now appears to have accurately captured the zeitgeist, the sense that “you”—or “we”—now control the media. During the initial rapid growth of the internet, the dot com bubble of the 1990s, much ink was spilled and many pixels flickered to debate the cultural impact of the digital network, and for a short time after the bubble burst, those who saw the internet as a passing fad seemed to have their day. But what is now clear after the rise of the widely used internet changes things—and by “things,” I mean culture and society as a whole. The way we share, create, and disseminate knowledge has fundamentally changed. What the particular contours of this change are have yet to fully take shape. The focus of this class is in understanding this change, particularly the way that media has changed and is changing. Accordingly, this class will serve as an introduction for Communication Majors and Minors to the complicated cultural and social issues raised by the digital communication network, serving as a foundation for later coursework.

Fall ’13

  • Communication Theory and Practice. (COM 200) It is an overused cliche that we live in a digital world. But this cliche, also points to a certain truth: communication is now primarily digital. Indeed it would be possible to argue that all research, writing, and communication is digital, or at least structured by the digital landscape. The ability to write in digital spaces, research online, and participate in these evolving social communities has become a critical 21st century knowledge. In this class we will not only study these evolving digital literacies, but actively practice them. This course serves as one of the foundational courses for Communication majors and minors.

Spring ’13

  • The Internet Public. EMAC 6342. Early criticism of democracy in the age of networked communication was often characterized by a rather significant divide, between those who believed that the network would prove to be the means by which universal democracy would be achieved, and those who argued the network would bring the collapse of democratic institutions. As with other hyperbolic rhetoric throughout history, the reality proved to be far more complicated. In this class we will look at the ways in which the internet has transformed politics and democracy, and perhaps most importantly how we form publics and practice civics.

Fall ’12

  • Introduction to Electronic and Digital Communications (EMAC 2322): In 2006 Time named “You” as the person of the year. What at the time seemed like a clever ploy to sell extra magazines now appears to have accurately captured the zeitgeist, the sense that “you”—or “we”—now control the media. During the initial rapid growth of the internet, the dot com bubble of the 1990s, much ink was spilled and many pixels flickered to debate the cultural impact of the digital network, and for a short time after the bubble burst, those who saw the internet as a passing fad seemed to have their day. But what is now clear after the rise of “Web 2.0” is that the internet changes things—and by “things,” I mean everything. The way we share, create, and disseminate knowledge has fundamentally changed. What the particular contours of this change are have yet to be revealed, but I think it is clear that the next moment in our culture will be remarkably different from the prior. The focus of this class is in understanding this change, particularly the way that media has changed and is changing. Accordingly, this class will serve as an introduction for Emerging Media and Communications majors and serve as a building block for the rest of your coursework.
  • Introduction to Emerging Media and Communication-EMAC 6300: This class is a broad introduction to the theories which have come to influence how we understand the relation of media and culture. In order to understand how “emerging media” or “digital media” are shaping and reshaping our culture it is important to first have a grounding in a range of traditional approaches for theorizing the effects of media. Thus this class is divided between considering some of the canonical texts in this field (Plato, McLuhan, Foucault, etc.) and works which refigure these approaches based on the rise of digital media (Bolter and Grusin, Shirky, Zittrain, etc.).

SPRING ’12

  • Civic Media EMAC 4372: Unlike prior forms of broadcast media, the digital network distributes the means of production and dissemination within the populace as a whole, replacing one to many communication with the many-to-many. While by no means egalitarian, the shift away from broadcast media to a more distributed form opens up a range of possibilities for communities to leverage the digital network and computational technologies to not only to communicate with each other but to work to solve their own problems.In this class we are going to work to understand how the digital network can foster civic engagement, and be purposed to solve a wide range of citizen concerns.To accomplish this goal, the class is divided into three sections: theory, research, and practice. In the first part of class we will read some of the key works on community building and the media’s role in empowering/disempowering citizens, with particular focus on the effect the digital network is having. Second, we will look at particular examples of Citizen Media and research what groups are doing, what has worked, and what has not. Finally the class will work in groups to make their own “Civic Media” projects.
  • AfterPrint EMAC 6361: For roughly 400 years, a period me might refer to as the Gutenberg Parentheses, analog print has served as the primary substrate for knowledge creation, archivization, and dissemination. This, to state the obvious is no longer the case, a vast majority of the information produced this year will never see an analog format, instead existing only in the digital network. This class will focus on understanding what happens as we move from a culture whose primary means of knowledge organization is analog print to one which is digitally networked. The class will be divided into three sections. In the first we will look at the broad theoretical questions which inform this change. In the second we will look at how specific knowledge and cultural institutions (libraries, journalism, higher education, entertainment) have been affected and examine the approaches/experiments that have already been taken. In the final portion of the class students will work in groups to produce projects and propose alternative approaches and solutions.

FALL ’11

  • Introduction to Electronic and Digital Communications (ATEC 2322/EMAC 2322): In 2006 Time named “You” as the person of the year. What at the time seemed like a clever ploy to sell extra magazines now appears to have accurately captured the zeitgeist, the sense that “you”—or “we”—now control the media. During the initial rapid growth of the internet, the dot com bubble of the 1990s, much ink was spilled and many pixels flickered to debate the cultural impact of the digital network, and for a short time after the bubble burst, those who saw the internet as a passing fad seemed to have their day. But what is now clear after the rise of “Web 2.0” is that the internet changes things—and by “things,” I mean everything. The way we share, create, and disseminate knowledge has fundamentally changed. What the particular contours of this change are have yet to be revealed, but I think it is clear that the next moment in our culture will be remarkably different from the prior. The focus of this class is in understanding this change, particularly the way that media has changed and is changing. Accordingly, this class will serve as an introduction for Emerging Media and Communications majors and serve as a building block for the rest of your coursework.
  • Introduction to Emerging Media and Communication-EMAC 6300: This class is a broad introduction to the theories which have come to influence how we understand the relation of media and culture. In order to understand how “emerging media” or “digital media” are shaping and reshaping our culture it is important to first have a grounding in a range of traditional approaches for theorizing the effects of media. Thus this class is divided between considering some of the canonical texts in this field (Plato, McLuhan, Foucault, etc.) and works which refigure these approaches based on the rise of digital media (Bolter and Grusin, Shirky, Zittrain, etc.).

SPRING’11

  • Democracy, Governance, and the Digital Network-EMAC 6361: Early criticism of democracy in the age of networked communication was often characterized by a rather significant divide, between those who believed that the network would prove to be the means by which universal democracy would be achieved, and those that argued thenetwork would bring about the collapse of democratic institutions. As with other hyperbolic prophecies throughout history the reality proved to be far more nuanced and complicated. This class will strive to analyze these more complex and nuanced transformations. We will look at the ways that dissidents and civil organizations are using the network to foster democracy as well as consider the ways in which governments are using the network to resist social transformation. Equally as important we will ask more foundational questions seeking to understand how the existence of the digital network transforms not only what it means to govern but what it means to be a citizen within a political space.
  • Introduction to Emerging Media and Communication-EMAC 6300: This class is a broad introduction to the theories which have come to influence how we understand the relation of media and culture. In order to understand how “emerging media” or “digital media” are shaping and reshaping our culture it is important to first have a grounding in a range of traditional approaches for theorizing the effects of media. Thus this class is divided between considering some of the canonical texts in this field (Plato, McLuhan, Foucault, etc.) and works which refigure these approaches based on the rise of digital media (Bolter and Grusin, Shirky, Zittrain, etc.).

FALL’10

  • Digital Writing: Privacy, Control, and Surveillance on the Internet-EMAC 4325: The average citizen in London is caught on camera 300 times each day. In a recent interview Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, proclaimed privacy is dead. China, as well as almost every other nation, restricts access to certain content on the internet. Cell phone carriers regularly track their customers movement. And, what content you access online is anything but anonymous. In the network age it would appear that the values of transparency, openness, sharing, and data collection have replaced those of anonymity and privacy. The ubiquitous presence of monitoring devices and seemingly never ending, and infinitely retained, amount of information being collected forces us to renegotiate our sense of the public and the private. Do people really not value privacy anymore? Who benefits from all this “publicness”? and who gets to decide? While many have suggested that the internet is the ultimate “panopticon,” it is perhaps more correct to suggest, as Siva Vaidhyanathan has, that the internet is a “Non-opticon”—it works precisely because you don’t know the extent to which you are being monitored and controlled. The goal of this class is to turn this “non-opticon” inside-out, to make viewable all the ways in which privacy, control, and surveillance are figured and refigured in the networked digital age.

SPRING ’10

  • Introduction to Emerging Media-EMAC 2322: In 2006 Time named “You” as the person of the year. What at the time seemed like a clever ploy to sell extra magazines now appears to have accurately captured the zeitgeist, the sense that “you”—or “we”—now control the media. During the initial rapid growth of the internet, the dot com bubble of the 1990s, much ink was spilled and many pixels flickered to debate the cultural impact of the digital network, and for a short time after the bubble burst, those who saw the internet as a passing fad seemed to have their day. But what is now clear after the rise of “Web 2.0” is that the internet changes things—and by “things,” I mean everything. The way we share, create, and disseminate knowledge has fundamentally changed. What the particular contours of this change are have yet to be revealed, but I think it is clear that the next moment in our culture will be remarkably different from the prior. The focus of this class is in understanding this change, particularly the way that media has changed and is changing. Accordingly, this class will serve as an introduction for Emerging Media and Communications majors and serve as a building block for the rest of your coursework.
  • After/Print-EMAC 6361: For roughly 400 years, a period me might refer to as the Gutenberg Parentheses, analog print has served as the primary substrate for knowledge creation, archivization, and dissemination. This, to state the obvious is no longer the case, a vast majority of the information produced this year will never see an analog format, instead existing only in the digital network. This class will focus on understanding what happens as we move from a culture whose primary means of knowledge organization is analog print to one which is digitally networked. The class will be divided into three sections. In the first we will look at the broad theoretical questions which inform this change. In the second we will look at how specific knowledge and cultural institutions (libraries, journalism, higher education, entertainment) have been affected and examine the approaches/experiments that have already been taken. In the final portion of the class students will work in groups to produce projects and propose alternative approaches and solutions.

FALL ’09

  • Introduction to Emerging Media-EMAC 2321: In 2006 Time named “You” as the person of the year. What at the time seemed like a clever ploy to sell extra magazines now appears to have accurately captured the zeitgeist, the sense that “you”—or “we”—now control the media. During the initial rapid growth of the internet, the dot com bubble of the 1990s, much ink was spilled and many pixels flickered to debate the cultural impact of the digital network, and for a short time after the bubble burst, those who saw the internet as a passing fad seemed to have their day. But what is now clear after the rise of “Web 2.0” is that the internet changes things—and by “things,” I mean everything. The way we share, create, and disseminate knowledge has fundamentally changed. What the particular contours of this change are have yet to be revealed, but I think it is clear that the next moment in our culture will be remarkably different from the prior. The focus of this class is in understanding this change, particularly the way that media has changed and is changing. Accordingly, this class will serve as an introduction for Emerging Media and Communications majors and serve as a building block for the rest of your coursework.
  • History and Theory of Emerging Media-EMAC 5300: This class is a broad introduction to the theories which have come to influence how we understand the relation of media and culture. In order to understand how “emerging media” or “digital media” are shaping and reshaping our culture it is important to first have a grounding in a range of traditional approaches for theorizing the effects of media. Thus this class is divided between considering some of the canonical texts in this field (Plato, Marx, Foucault, etc.) and works which refigure these approaches based on the rise of digital media (Bolter and Grusin, Shirky, Manovich, etc.).

SPRING ‘ 09

  • StoryTelling for New Media(ATEC 4346):With the rise of digital literacy, what was once marginal “geek” culture has come to dominate the social landscape. While storytelling used to take place via a relatively narrow set of channels, born digital narratives are now opening up new structural possibilities (hypertext, blog fiction, YouTube shows, digital games). Criticism has ranged from outright dismissal (“nothing has changed”) to hyperbolic (“nothing will ever be the same”). Regardless of where one takes up position along this spectrum, the now ubiquitous potential of the digital text raises two crucial questions: What/How much changes in the digital text? And perhaps more importantly, how does this move to the digital text affect us as readers? In class we will ask these questions (along with a host of others) of a variety of narrative forms. In order to adequately address these issues, we will read creative works from a variety of genres (novels, hypertext, digital games, web fiction), while supplementing our approach through the reading of critical texts. Students will produce critical and creative work for class.
  • History and Theory of Emerging Media-ATEC 6V81: This class is a broad introduction to the theories which have come to influence how we understand the relation of media and culture. In order to understand how “emerging media” or “digital media” are shaping and reshaping our culture it is important to first have a grounding in a range of traditional approaches for theorizing the effects of media. Thus this class is divided between considering some of the canonical texts in this field (Plato, Marx, Foucault, etc.) and works which refigure these approaches based on the rise of digital media (Bolter & Grusin, Shirky, Manovich, etc.).

FALL ’08

  • Digital Rhetoric and Contemporary Politics (ATEC 4372):Mass media plays a crucial role in politics and, more specifically, in how we elect our presidents. In the latest election cycles, citizen-generated media has played an increasingly important role. Digital networked communication has undeniably shifted not only the form but the content of political messages. Against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election cycles, we will analyze the role that “New Media” has on contemporary politics. However, we will not only analyze this contemporary political rhetoric but produce it as well, seeking to insert the class in the larger national political discussion. Students will be required to produce various media formats (text, video, audio) which engage with contemporary politics.
  • Networked Knowledge (ATEC 6V81):In the introduction to Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold argues that in the future people will be divided between “those who know how to use new media to band together [and] those who don’t” (xix). In this class we will examine how the technological change from the analog to the digital changes the ability to produce and disseminate knowledge and how networked media are changing not only the form of knowledge but its content as well. Once powerful institutions seem to be losing relevance by the day (consider how quickly Wikipedia has trumped Britannica). At the same time we should not too quickly view these new networked digital spaces as utopian democracies, for there are still substantial rhetorical and cultural forces at work. Central to our examination will be how technology, rhetoric, and ethics shape our use of networked communication.

SPRING ’08

  • StoryTelling for New Media(ATEC 4346):With the rise of digital literacy, what was once marginal “geek” culture has come to dominate the social landscape. While storytelling used to take place via a relatively narrow set of channels, born digital narratives are now opening up new structural possibilities (hypertext, blog fiction, YouTube shows, digital games). Criticism has ranged from outright dismissal (“nothing has changed”) to hyperbolic (“nothing will ever be the same”). Regardless of where one takes up position along this spectrum, the now ubiquitous potential of the digital text raises two crucial questions: What/How much changes in the digital text? And perhaps more importantly, how does this move to the digital text affect us as readers? In class we will ask these questions (along with a host of others) of a variety of narrative forms. In order to adequately address these issues, we will read creative works from a variety of genres (novels, hypertext, digital games, web fiction), while supplementing our approach through the reading of critical texts. Students will produce critical and creative work for class.
  • Digital Narratives-ATEC 6V81:We are in a culture moment which, for lack of a better term, I would describe as being in a “change-over.” That is, we are slowly but surely moving from storytelling structures which are supported by analog means (book and film) to narratives which are supported by digital ones (digital games, web fiction, distributed narratives). By reading a variety of literary and critical texts we will seek to understand what it means to be in this change, to understand both what possibilities these new narrative forms open up and which ones they foreclose. For example: Are there new paradigms of knowledge formation and literary work enabled by digitally networked structures? What should we make of the difference between non-linear and linear narratives? Does it even make sense to talk of non-linear narratives? What should we make of the increasingly short time allowed these narratives? Are images supplanting words, or are images still relegated to the regime of text?

FALL ’07

  • Introduction to Computer Mediated Communication (ATEC 3325):In December of 2006, Time magazine declared “you” the person of the year, “for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game.” But who is this “you”? and how does one decide who is “you” and who is not “you”?  In this course we will look at the substantial change brought on by the shift from an analog writing to a digital networked writing. We will focus on the praxis of this change, by engaging in writing for the digital age in various forms (blog, wikis, etc.), and seek to understand its implications by reading about how they have been theorized. And while this course will focus primarily on “writing,” we will also examine how what writing is and means changes in the digital, moving past the idea that it is simply words. We will consider rhetorical, technical, cultural, theoretical, and ethical issues surrounding communication in a networked digital era.  A new type of digital divide is developing, one which is based not only on consuming ever-increasing content, but, more importantly, on how to produce and critique it. (No prior technical skills required.)
  • Writing the Networked Archive (ATEC 6351): In the introduction to Smart Mobs, Howard Rheingold argues that in the future people will be divided between “those who know how to use new media to band together [and] those who don’t” (xix). In this class we will examine how the technological change from the analog to the digital changes the ability to produce and disseminate knowledge in order to understand how these networked media are changing society. Once powerful institutions seem to be losing relevance by the day (consider how quickly Wikipedia has trumped Britannica). But at the same time we should not be tricked into seeing these new networked digital spaces as utopian democracies, for there are still substantial rhetorical and cultural forces at work. While focusing on the question of writing (blog, wikis), we will at the same time question what it means to “write” (should podcasts, Youtube, and Twitter count as writing?). Central to our examination will be how technology, rhetorics, and ethics shape our use of this networked communication. We will divide our time between engaging the theoretical questions and supplementing such an examination by using these new technologies of knowledge creation and dissmination. (No prior technical skills required.)