This is an archived course. Visit the most recent syllabus.

Course Description

The advent of digital communication has ushered changes in virtually every aspect of modern life. The digital age has transformed point-to-point and mass communication, specifically how we form and participate in social networks, how culture is exchanged and consumed, and how media industries operate in the marketplace.

This course examines the cultural impact of new digital technologies such as the Internet and new telephonic and audiovisual media. We will survey the origins of digital communication and the Internet and engage closely with contemporary scholarship on digital technologies, the Internet, the institutions that control these technologies.

Time and Place

Tuesday, 2:30 – 5:15 PM
Room LL–524


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

33 W 60th St, 2nd Fl
By appointment only

Course Materials


These textbooks are available through online retailers, such as Amazon. As far as I know, there are ebook versions for all of these titles, which I encourage you to consider.

Everyone will need to purchase the following books:

Some of you will need to buy some of these books—I’ll explain later:

Reserve Readings

In addition to the textbooks listed above, you will access reserve readings from this course website, using your Fordham IT ID credentials. Each required reading is listed in the course schedule.

Review Materials

Each week, after each class, I will post review questions and relevant links based on the reading material we covered in class. Use these questions to prepare for the midterm and final exams.


We will not be using Blackboard for this class. Instead, consult the Course Website.

Google Classroom and Apps for Education

As you likely already know, Fordham uses Google Apps for Education. In addition to Mail, we will be using Google Drive to exchange files and Google Group for our class forum. You might also consider using the other core apps, such as Docs, Sheets, or Slides, for your work.


This class consists of four components. You cannot satisfactorily complete this course without all four of these.

Attendance and Participation

Please be present in each class.

Each class session will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams. We will cover the historical, technological, and economic context relevant to new, digital media. Although I will post outlines, slides, and review questions each week, those materials serve as poor substitutes for attending and participating in each week’s class.


Please read the assigned course material prior to each week’s class. Consult the course schedule for the required reading assignments.


All assignments must be completed on time in order to receive full credit. Late assignments will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After five calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted, and you will likely fail this class.


Exams comprise 40% of your course grade and are written to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. Exams will be administered in class and must be taken at the specified date and time.



Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid digital distractions. Studies have consistently shown that students using laptops and mobile phones perform about 11% worse than students who are not distracted by these devices.

On a personal note, it’s very difficult to stay motivated as a teacher if I see students seemingly disinterested in their own education. Seriously, I’m this close to banning all digital devices in class. If I find you engaging in disruptive behavior, such as watching online videos, passing notes, instant messaging, chatting, or texting, I will remove you from the classroom and have you withdraw from the class.

Late Work and “Incomplete” Grades

Please submit your work on time. Late work will be penalized by a 10% reduction for each 24-hour period it is late. After one calendar week, the assignment will not be accepted, and you will likely fail this class.

There will be no “incomplete” grades, except in the case of a documented emergency in the final weeks of the semester. If you experience such an emergency, please contact me immediately, and we will work out a schedule for you to complete the outstanding work.

But aside from these circumstances, no late work will be accepted and no “incomplete” grades will be granted. If you have difficulty keeping up with coursework, consider giving yourself extra time to complete assignments, reducing your overall course load, and/or taking this class at a later semester.

Computers, Tablets, and Mobile Phones

Please refrain from using your digital devices during class. Also remember to silence your mobile phone, or turn it off to save your battery.

It is particularly rude to use your devices in class because it distracts not only me but also the students around you. And others can see what you’re doing.


Please check your Fordham University email account ( on a daily basis, if not more frequently. I will broadcast announcements and send point-to-point communiques using your official email address.

Please note that I am not allowed to discuss your grade from an account that is not your official email account.

Fordham University Statement on Academic Integrity

“A University, by its nature, strives to foster and recognize originality of thought. Originality can only be recognized, however, when people acknowledge the sources of ideas or works that are not their own. Therefore, students must maintain the highest standards with regards to honesty, effort and performance. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: plagiarism, cheating on exams, false authorship, and destruction of library materials needed for a course. This policy gives definitions and instances of violations of academic integrity, the procedures used to arrive at a judgment, possible sanctions, and the process of appeal. This policy will be enforced rigorously and without discrimination. Please refer to your Student Handbook for a full discussion of the Policy on Academic Integrity.”

Students with Disabilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all students, with or without disabilities, are entitled to equal access to the programs and activities of Fordham University. If you believe that you have a disabling condition that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessment of the object of this course, you may be entitled to accommodations. Please schedule an appointment to speak with someone at the Office of Disability Services (Rose Hill - O’Hare Hall, Lower Level, x0655 or at Lincoln Center – Room 207, x6282).


News We Can Use

As antiquated as it might seem in 2015, email digests are surprisingly effective at reaching an audience. They don’t get lost in the endless stream of Twitter updates, and they don’t get hidden from you because the Facebook algorithm deems them “irrelevant.”

Every two weeks, we will collect links from around the web on a theme relevant to new media and circulate them to the class. The format of our newsletter will be something akin to Vox’s Sentences, a daily digest of the day’s news from around the web that includes one-sentence summaries of relevant news stories.

Each student should collect a timely reading from the web and share the following information at

  • Title of the article
  • URL (try to strip any tracking code)
  • A one-sentence summary of the article’s relevance (in the Vox Sentence style) to share with the class.
  • A short summary, between 50–100 words, that explains your reason for sharing this particular article. I will use this longer summary to grade your contribution.

I will circulate the email digest, including every student’s contribution, to our Google Group by the end of that particular week.

  • Due: Jan 27 Feb 3, Feb 10, Mar 3, Mar 24, Apr 7, Apr 21
  • Weight: 20% for all four contributions

In-Class Presentation

Immediately before the midterm exam, you will be randomly assigned to a group. Your group will present on one of the books that we will read in the second half of the class. Your presentation is intended to help students digest the reading and its relevance to our course. Your presentation should include the following:

  • a brief summary of the author’s argument
  • three discussion questions for the class
  • a close examination of a case study or example that they author discussed.

Tip: The workflow for each person in a group comes down to these five steps:

  1. Read the assigned book.
  2. Select your “favorite” chapter from the book.
  3. Distribute a copy of the chapter to by Sunday to allow everyone the chance to read the readings.
  4. Write three discussion questions for your “favorite” chapter.
  5. Present.

In-class presentations should last about 25–30 minutes.

  • Guidelines available after the midterm exam.
  • Mar 3, Mar 10, Mar 24, Mar 31, Apr 7, Apr 14, and Apr 21.
  • Weight: 20%

Final Paper

Write a paper, exactly 2,015 words in length, comparing the visions of new media held by at least two authors we covered in the second half of course. Your paper should engage no fewer than three major aspects of new media that you can discuss in your paper.

Each student should schedule an appointment to discuss his/her paper with me no later than the week following Spring Break.

Outline and Draft of Opening Paragraph
Due Thursday, April 9, 11:45 PM on Google Classroom
Final Paper
Due May 4, on Google Classroom


Midterm Exam

Take Home Exam The take home midterm exam will consist of five identification questions and three short essay questions. The questions will be based on the material we covered in the first half of the class.

Final Exam

In-Class Exam Much like the midterm exam, the final exam will consist of five identification questions and three short essay questions. The exam will cover the material from the second half of the course.

  • May 11, 1:30 – 3:30 PM
  • Weight: 20%


January 13 • Welcome

Today’s session will introduce the approach we will take on introducing everyone to “new media.” Together, we will discuss the scope of course material and the goals for the course. We will conclude with the required materials, assignments, and exams for this course.

January 20 • What is New Media?

  • Edison, Thomas A. “The Phonograph and Its Future.” The North American Review 126, no. 262 (May 1, 1878): 527–36. doi:10.2307/25110210.
  • Vanderbilt, Tom. “The Call of the Future.” Wilson Quarterly 36, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 52–56.
  • Berners-Lee, Tim. “Long Live the Web.” Scientific American 303, no. 6 (December 2010): 80–85.
  • Manovich, Lev. “What is New Media?” In The Language of New Media, 18–26. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001.

January 27 • No Class

Class canceled due to winter storm.

February 3 • Learning from the Telegraph


Please share your article for our News We Can Use assignment. Submit at Theme is digital media.


February 10 • New Media Forms


Please share your article for our News We Can Use assignment. Submit at Theme is speed.


February 17 • No Class

Classes today run on a Monday schedule.

February 24 • Disruptions and Creative Destructions

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam test questions distributed in class today. Due Saturday, March 7.


March 3 • The Almighty Google

Midterm Exam

Your midterm exam is due by the end of the day Saturday, March 7.

Further Reading

March 10 • Net Smarts


March 24 • Networked Individualism


March 31 • Beware the Filter Bubble


April 7 • How We Network Socially

Further Reading

April 14 • Technological Utopianism


April 21 • Creative Communities


Please share your article for our News We Can Use assignment. Submit at Google Classroom. Theme is creative communities

Further Reading
  • John, Nicholas A. “File Sharing and the History of Computing: Or, Why File Sharing Is Called ‘File Sharing’.” Critical Studies in Media Communication, September 18, 2013, 1–14. doi:10.1080/15295036.2013.824597.

April 28 • Silicon Valley and Popular Culture


Your Final Paper is due by the end of the day on Friday, May 8. Submit to Google Classroom.

In-Class Screening
  • Silicon Valley, “Minimum Viable Product” (2014)

May 11 • Final Exam

We will take our final exam during the “V” Block, on , May 11, from 1:30 – 3:30 PM.