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

Course Description

An overview of media technologies, including early writing and the printing press, the rise of mass culture, and the digital revolution.

Time and Place

Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:20 PM
Rathaus Hall, Rm 112
Section: MEDST 100–02 (58227)


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

G Building, Room 102-D
Wednesday, 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Course Materials


The following textbooks are available through online retailers and on reserve at Rosenthal Library.

Electronic versions of Alphabet to Internet (Amazon / iBooks) and The Master Switch (Amazon / iBooks) are available and might be acceptable alternatives.

Reserve Readings

Required course readings not found in the textbook are available electronically from the course website under the particular class session. You may need to use either your QC Library Card barcode or QC CAMS login to access the reading.

Review Materials

After each class, I will post a lecture outline, copies of the slides, and review questions based on the material we covered in class. Use these materials to prepare for the midterm and final exams.

Google Apps for Education

As you likely already know, Queens College uses Google Apps for Education. We will be using Google Classroom to submit your assignments and Google Drive. You might also consider using the other core apps, such as Docs, Sheets, or Slides, for your own work.


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

New York Times

Use your Queens College email account ( to activate a free, fifty-two–week digital subscription to the New York Times.


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 each electronic media technology. Although I will review questions each week, they 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 (below) 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 seven calendar days, the assignment will not be accepted and you will likely fail this class.


Exams comprise half of your course grade and are designed 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 for this class 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 before the beginning of the following semester.

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.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York. Penalties for academic dishonesty include academic sanctions, such as failing or otherwise reduced grades, and/or disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion. Examples of Academic Dishonesty include cheating, plagiarism, obtaining an unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents.

Cheating is the unauthorized use or attempted use of material, information, notes, study aids, devices or communication during an academic exercise. Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. Obtaining Unfair Advantage is any action taken by a student that gives that student an unfair advantage in his/her academic work over another student, or an action taken by a student through which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in his or her academic work over another student.

For tips and information on how to maintain academic integrity, consult Writing at Queens document, “What is Plagiarism?”.

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.

Students must surrender mobile phones, tablets, and computers on exam days.


Please check your QC 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.

Students with Disabilities

Queens College has a history of commitment to the enhancement of education of students with disabilities. The Office of Special Services for Students with Disabilities was established in 1974 to provide equal opportunities for a college education to academically qualified students with physical disabilities. The office offers comprehensive support services to students with various disabilities. Queens College prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities and it ensures full access and equal opportunity to qualified students with disabilities to all academic programs and social activities on campus.

To receive these services, a student must first register with the office in Kiely 171. To do so, you must bring proper documentation pertaining to the nature of your disability from a qualified professional. To learn more about CUNY Assistive Technology Services and the office located at Queens College, call (718) 997–3775 or visit Kiely Hall 173. For more information, visit The Office of Special Services.


Writing and Print Revolutions

Irving Fang argues that communication media technologies that are both products and factors of deep social changes. Read the chapters on the first two information revolutions he surveys: the writing revolution and the printing revolution, and consider two cultural impacts of these two media technologies.

Media Technologies and Cycle

In his recent book, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu outlines how virtually every media technology introduced since industrialization has followed a “cycle.” Using one of the media technologies he discussed, evaluate his argument that this media followed this rise-and-fall pattern.

There are two parts to this assignment.

Draft and Outline
Final Paper


Midterm Exam

The midterm exam is an in-class exam, consisting true-false, multiple-choice, identification and short essay questions. The exam will cover the course material from the first half of the course.

  • Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 PM
  • Weight: 20%

Final Exam

The final exam is an in-class exam consisting of fifty (50) questions total: twenty (20) true-false, twenty (20) multiple-choice, and ten (10) identification. The exam will cover the course material from the entire course.

  • Wednesday, May 20, 6:15 – 8:15 PM
  • Weight: 30%

Course Schedule

January 28 • Welcome

February 4 • Writing


February 11 • Early Print


February 25 • Mass Print

  • Fang, Irving. “Mass Printing: Reaching Still More.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 59–85. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

March 4 • Telegraph


The assignment Writing and Print Revolutions is on Monday, March 9, 5:00 PM on Google Classroom.


The Great Transatlantic Cable is available on reserve and from Amazon

  • Fang, Irving. “Telegraph: Uniting the United States.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 111–123. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Carey, James W. “Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph.” In Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society, Rev. ed., 155–77. London: Routledge, 2009.

March 11 • Photography

  • Fang, Irving. “Photography: Personal and So Much More.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 163–181. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

March 18 • Midterm Exam

We will take our midterm exam in class today.

March 25 • Telephone

  • Fang, Irving. “Telephone: Reaching without Touching.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 125–146. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

April 1 • Motion Pictures

  • Fang, Irving. “Silent Film: The Audience Awaits” and “A Movie Century: Moving Us.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 183–223. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

April 15 • Sound Recording


The Draft and Outline of your Media Technologies and the Cycle assignment is on Monday, April 20, 5:00 PM on Google Classroom.


April 22 • Radio

  • Fang, Irving. “Radio: Helping Us Through the Rough Years.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 225–249. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Recommended Screening

April 29 • Television

  • Fang, Irving. “Television: Pictures in Our Parlors.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 251–276. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

May 6 • Computers

  • Fang, Irving. “Computers: Beyond Calculation.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 277–291. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

May 13 • Internet


The Final Paper of your Media Technologies and the Cycle assignment is due by the end of the day on Monday, May 18, on Google Classroom.

  • Fang, Irving. “The Internet: The World at Our Finger Tips.” In Alphabet to Internet: Media In Our Lives, 293–313. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.

May 20 • Final Exam

We will take our final exam in class on Wednesday, May 20, 6:15 – 8:15 PM.