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Quarterly Topic


UNIV 241
Summer 2014, Tuesdays 6:30PM-9:20PM
The ExCITE Center
Instructors: Glen Muschio and Kara Lindstrom

The traditional model of media creation has been flipped from a broadcast model of the few speaking to the many to a dynamic model of communication - individuals and groups serving as both creators, curators and consumers. We’ll explore the forms, technologies, risks, and potential future of this MEdia environment. The class is intended to provide both self-reflection on new media usage and forward thinking around how and what society and interpersonal communications might look like in a rapidly evolving evermore technologically dependent world.  


Drexel University

Pennoni Honors College

The Great Works Symposium 2013-2014

Media: Past, Present and Future

MEdia: Personal broadcast and societal communication

UNIV 241

Term: Summer 2014 - Sections

Prerequisites: None; course is open to all matriculated undergraduates

Credits: 3 Undergraduate (1/4 credit system)

Day/Time: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. to 9:20 p.m.

Place: The ExCITe Center, Market (3401 Market, Suite 100)


Glen Muschio, Associate Professor, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design

Kara Lindstrom, Program Manager, ExCITe Center

Course Description:

The traditional model of media creation has been flipped from a static broadcast model of the few speaking to the many to a dynamic model of communication - individuals and groups serving as creators, curators and consumers. We’ll explore the forms, technologies, risks, and potential future of this MEdia environment. The class is intended to provide both self-reflection on new media usage and forward thinking around how and what society and interpersonal communications might look like in a rapidly evolving evermore technologically dependent world.

Course Learner Objectives:

After completing this course, students will be able to:

● Discuss how identity can be shaped in both the digital and physical worlds

● Understand and identify the risks and opportunities of new media

● Have a better understanding of the role of media for society

Instructional Approach/Format:

MEdia is a Great Works Symposium interdisciplinary course designed to foster discourse around the tools and information we engage with on a daily basis. The required weekly readings will provide the groundwork for discussions in each session, as well as serving as preparation for guest speakers who will take part in several of the sessions. These guests will provide a unique opportunity for diverse topic exploration within the realm of new/social media.

The role of faculty in this course is to 1) facilitate the learning process of individuals and the group; 2) serve as a subject matter expert when needed; and 3) to assist you in developing your final project presentations and other assignments and opportunities to explore the MEdiaverse.

Required Textbook/Supplies:

Readings will be made available online.

Course Learning Activities:

Class Participation

Class discussions are an integral part of each week’s class, and informed participate based on weekly reading assignments is expected and will constitute a significant part of the grade. A core principle for great discussion is mutual respect, regardless of differing opinion. You may be passionate about your position, but be mindful and respectful of the position of others who may be as passionate as you are about the positions they hold. Throughout the course you will be expected to keep up with current event and how they have been shaped by “MEdia”. Feel free to draw upon current events and your personal experience or opinion in class discussion, but tie the experience to the context of assigned readings.

Final Projects

Each team will be responsible for designing a new media project informed by the assigned readings and class discussions. The best designed projects will be fanciful and go beyond what is today technically possible, however a project must seem technologically plausible within 5 years and demonstrate knowledge of current understanding and analysis of MEdia as offered in assigned readings and discussed in class. For examples of how a communication company once viewed the future see the 1993-94 AT&T ad campaign, “You will.” For an example of a multinational technology and consulting corporation technological predictions for 2014-2019 see IBM’s “5 in 5." 

While these examples focus on technology, class projects will consider imagining new technologies and their possible social impacts. Describe what the technologies you imagine will allow us to do and identify some implications and consider possible impact.

Prior to finalizing research for a proposed project each team will pitch the project idea to the class in a 10-15 minute presentation [due July 15]. Presentations will be followed by class critiques, discussions and evaluations of each proposal Based on class feedback, proposed projects will be adjusted accordingly.

Following the pitch each team will prepare a 2 to 5 page written outline for the proposed project [due July 22]. Proposals will include a preliminary bibliography of at least 6 references from peer reviewed journals and/or the academic press. Other sources including web sites, blogs, newspapers and videos may be cited beyond the required peer review and academic press citations. Outlines must reflect class feedback and will be submitted to the instructors for further comments and approval.

Upon approval, of the outline, each team will prepare a 30 minute detailed class presentation describing the imagined technology and social impact in light of current literature and understanding [occurring August 19, 26, and finals week if needed]. The presentation may include reference to contemporary technologies as aids to explaining next generation imaginings. Presentations should predict how the new technology will contribute to, modify, or forever alter or replace the MEdiaverse.

To prepare the class for the team project presentation and discussion, one week prior to a class presentation the team will assign the class 1 peer reviewed source providing information relevant to the team presentation [due August 12]. Assigned readings must be available through Drexel’s e library resources, Google’s Scholar Search Engine, or through some other scholarly index. Blog postings, newspaper and magazine articles may be assigned in addition to the 1 peer reviewed article.

On the day of the presentation, each person in the group will be responsible for a portion of the presentation. Each team will provide the instructor a 3 to 5 page written paper including an introduction describing the project, a discussion of anticipated issues in realizing the goals of the project, ways the issues will be overcome, and expected outcomes. In addition the paper should contain a bibliography of a minimum of 12 peer reviewed sources additional sources as described above may be included. Each team member will also supply the instructor with a 1 to 3 page journal like entry describing his or her participation in the project and a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest score and 5 the highest score) for the performance of each of the other teammates. If there were non performers in a group this is the time to report it. If there was a person who contributed the lion’s share of work this is also the time for kudos. How the group performed as a team will be a factor in the grading.

Assessment and Grading Policy

Students will be responsible for submitting all assignments on time. Late assignments will not be accepted.


Students are expected to attend every class. Two unexcused absences will result in an F for the class. Please refer to Drexel’s policy on excused absences: Absent students are expected to get notes from their fellow students.

Course Requirements and Grading

  • Participation 40%
  • Proposal pitch 10%
  • Outline 10%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Final Paper 20%

Grading Scale

  • A 93.00-100.00%
  • A- 90.00-92.99%
  • B+ 87.00-89.99%
  • B 83.00-86.99%
  • B- 80.00-82.99%
  • C+ 77.00-79.99%
  • C 73.00-76.99%
  • C- 70.00-72.99%
  • D+ 67.00-69.00%
  • D 63.00-66.99%
  • D- 60.00-62.99%
  • F 59.99 and below

Other grades without quality points may be given for special situations; consult the Drexel undergraduate catalog for these grades. If the student warrants an incomplete (I) grade, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure he/she meets the College, University, and Instructor criteria and deadlines for requesting this grade and ensuring the change of grade in a timely manner.

Disability Statement:

Student with disabilities requesting accommodations and services at Drexel University need to present a current accommodation verification letter (AVL) to faculty before accommodations can be made. AVL’s are issued by the Office of Disability Resources (ODR). For additional information, contact ODR at, 3201 Arch St., Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215.895.1401 (V), or 215.895.2299 (TTY).

Student’s Responsibilities:

Academic Honesty and Integrity:

Drexel University is committed to a learning environment that embraces honesty. Faculty, students, and administrators share responsibility for maintaining this environment of academic honesty and integrity, accepting responsibility for all actions, personal and academic. Each member of our community is expected to read, understand, and uphold the values identified and described for academic integrity. An explanation of what constitutes academic dishonesty can be found on the Provost’s website at: An explanation of the sanctions given for academic dishonesty can be found in your Student Handbook and on the website of the Office of Conduct and Community Standards at

Drop/Add/Withdrawal Policy:

Once you are registered in this course, it is your responsibility to attend the course, drop the course, or withdraw from the course. Dropping and withdrawing are distinct actions that affect your course enrollment status. In either case, a form from the Registrar’s Office, with signatures, is required to change course enrollment status. There are billing, financial aid, and academic record effects for changes to your enrollment status in this course; therefore, you must attend to the proper procedure when dropping or withdrawing from a course. Please refer to the University’s drop/add/withdrawal policies and timelines on the Registrar’s website or contact your academic advisor.

Financial Obligations:

Students who do not satisfy financial obligations to the University and have been placed on financial hold are not entitled to a grade by the instructor.

The student acknowledges receipt of this syllabus and the information herein contained by continuing to attend this course. The instructors reserve the right to make changes to this syllabus if circumstances warrant such change. All major changes will be provided to the students in writing.

See schedule of weekly topic focus, readings, and written assignment deadlines chart below. Given that the Symposium relies on several invited guests, this weekly plan may change slightly. Please keep in contact with your faculty leader to make sure you are current with topics under discussion and the readings for each week.

Major Course Content, Readings, and Assignments

(Dates are for the Tuesday evening class meeting. Readings are to be completed prior to the class. Readings are posted to The Great Works Symposium website at

Week & Date

Readings and Assignments

Week 1: June 24

Topic: Course introduction. What is MEdia? “Traditional” media and “new”- personal media.

For next week…

Coleman, Beth
Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

Goffman, Erving
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. (1959)

Week 2: July 1


Discussion: mid 20th century and early 21st century notions of the self amidst changing technology and evolving cultural values.

For next week…

Deuze, Mark
MediaLife. Cambridge, UK: Polity. 2012

Week 3: July 8

Topic: The socio-cultural impact of new media. Gender and Media

Speaker: Brooke Duffy

For next week…

Jenkins, Henry, Sam Ford, Joshua Green.
Spreadable Media. New York: New York University Press. 2013


Group project pitch presentation (10-15 min)

Week 4: July 15

Topic: Participation & Sharing, knowledge and entertainment.

Project pitch presentations

For next week…

Bilton, Nick
I live in the Future and Here is How it Works. New York: Crown Business. 2010.

Ashton, Daniel
Upgrading the self: Technology and the self in the digital games perpetual innovation economy. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 17(3) 307–321, 2011.

Project outline due.

Week 5: July 22

Topic: New media in ‘traditional’ media 

Speaker: Melody Kramer, NPR digital strategist/associate editor from NPR.


For next week…

Walter Benjamin
“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936)

Clay Shirky
Here Comes Everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. Allen Lane, Great Britain, 2008

Week 6: July 29


Interface of MEdia, Occulus Rift as storytelling platform. 

Chester Cunanan



For next week…

McChesney, R.W.
Digital Disconnect: how capitalism is turning the internet against democracy. New York, The New Press. 2013

Blank, Martin
Overpowered: What Science Tells Us About the Dangers of Cell Phones and Other
Wifi-age Devices. New York: Seven Stories Press. 2014
  • Chapters TBA


Week 7: August 5


Health and data, personal media and society health impact. 

In-class project work and instructor feedback

For next week…

Project reading assignments for class

Week 8: August 12


In-class project work and instructor feedback. Distribution of project assigned readings

For next week…

Presentation & readings

Week 9: August 19

Topic: Project presentations


For next week…

Presentation & readings

Week 10: August 26

Topic: Project presentations

For next week…


Week 11: DATE TBD

Topic: Project presentations (as needed)


If you’re interested in this area, please also consider reading:

  • Master Switch by Tim Wu
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (fiction)
  • It’s Complicated by danah boyd