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

Course Description

An overview of twelve media technologies: writing, manual printing, mechanical printing, photography, telegraphy, telephony, motion pictures, sound recording, radio, television, computers, and the internet. We will examine the technical development of each technology, the function of each, and the impact each had on the cultures adopting it.


This is an asynchronous online course run on Google Classroom, accessible with your QC CAMS account and a code I will provide to enrolled students via QC email (see “Google Classroom” below).

For each media technology, there will be a short pre-recorded lecture, about twenty minutes in length, that you will listen to at the time of your choosing. After auditioning the lecture, complete the assigned readings that you will do on your own and take a quiz on the material you just covered. At the end of each calendar week, after covering four media technologies, there will be an essay exam on the four media technologies you covered.


Juan Monroy


Office Hours

By appointment
via Google Hangout

You will need to sign in using your QC Google Apps account to participate.


These titles are available on two-hour, on-site reserve at Rosenthal Library.

Google Apps for Education

This course will make heavy use of Google Apps for Education using your QC CAMS account. You will not be able to access these Apps using your personal Gmail account.

About Google accounts

You can have more than one Google account. If you use Gmail, you already have a Google Account: it is likely a personal Google account. Google offers organizations—businesses and educational institutions—to establish accounts for its users. Since you’re enrolled at QC, you have access to a QC Google Apps account.

You can be logged into both accounts at the same time, but you will likely have to switch between accounts to access your QC Google Apps versus your personal Google Apps.

Activate Your QC Google Apps account

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers detailed instructions for activating (or claiming) your QC Google Apps account. The process comes down to three steps.

  1. Go to
  2. Sign in with your QC CAMS account. Use your QC username (e.g. jmonroy100) and your QC CAMS password.
  3. Accept the terms of service.

Access your QC Google Apps account at

Join Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a barebones, learning management system that we will use for our course. We will not be using Blackboard. I will also post announcements to Google Classroom, instead of emailing everyone in class. Here you will find all of your assignments including:

  • prerecorded lectures
  • required readings not found in the textbook
  • reading quizzes
  • midterm exams

On or before January 4, I will be sending you a course code to your QC email account. To add the class:

  1. Go to Google Classroom.
  2. Sign in using your QC CAMS login.
  3. Near the top-left of the browser, click the “+” to “Join class.”
  4. Enter the course code I emailed to your QC email account.

Download the Google Classroom mobile apps for iOS or Android.

Use the QC Google Apps

We will be using several QC Google Apps in this class.

  • Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage platform. Your QC Google Drive offers unlimited storage, compared to 15 GB with your personal Google Drive. Download the Google Drive mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  • Google Docs is a cloud-based, word-processing application. It is comparable to Microsoft Word except that all your documents are stored in your Google Drive. Be sure you’re using your QC Google Apps account, not your personal Google account. Download the Google Docs mobile apps for iOS or Android.
  • Google Hangouts is a video-based, communication platform used for office hours. Download the Google Hangouts mobile apps for iOS or Android.


Late Work

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

For assignments due on Google Classroom, it may mark an assignment as “late” if you don’t submit it as “Done” by the specified deadline. I will consider work as late if it is not ready when I go to grade it.

Please ensure that you complete assignments early in order to avoid any confusion and receive full credit.

“Incomplete” Grades

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.

Check Your QC Email

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.

Set up your QC email on your personal devices.

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

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?”.

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.



For each of the twelve media technologies, you will take a quiz on the lecture and reading materials. Each quiz is due by the end of the day noted below.

All twelve quizzes are required and constitute 40% of your final grade.


There will be three exams: two midterm exams and one final exam. Each exam will consist of five essay questions that you will submit on Google Classroom by the due date listed below.

  • Midterm 1: Tuesday, January 12, 5:00 PM New Deadline
  • Midterm 2: Tuesday, January 19, 5:00 PM
  • Final Exam: Wednesday, January 27, 5:00 PM New Deadline

All three exams are required and constitute 60% of your final grade.


As this course is asynchronous, the dates on this schedule are suggested dates of completion. However, the due dates for each assignment—including quizzes and exams—are firm and must be completed on-time in order to receive credit.

January 3 • Welcome

January 4 • Writing

The first media technology was writing because it allowed humans to store, transmit, and retrieve knowledge in ways that oral cultures simply could not.

January 5 • Manual Print

Early print allowed information to be printed in books that were produced using manual (hand-operated) machines, such as the medieval printing press. Beginning in the fifteenth century, the printing press would shape modern Europe.

January 6 • Mechanical Print

The steam engine and the attendant industrial revolution of the eighteenth brought mass production. The mechanical printing press brought new print forms—inexpensive books, newspapers, and magazines— and the attendant mass culture of the nineteenth century.

January 7 • Photography

Beginning in the 1830s, the reproduction of light becomes a mechanical, photochemical process, that produce images that both memorialize individuals and bind together entire cultures.

January 8 • Midterm Exam 1

This first midterm exam will cover the material on writing, manual and mechanical print, and photography and is due on Tuesday, January 12, 5:00 PM. New Deadline

January 11 • Telegraph

Electricity and communication merge for the first time in the electromagnetic telegraph of the 1840s and annihilate space and time in the nineteenth century.

January 12 • Telephone

Though hardly designed to do so in 1876, the telephone renders many functions of the telegraph obsolete. Throughout the twentieth century, the telephone emerges as a communication utility controlled by a monopoly.

  • Audition the lecture: Telephone: Where’s My Disruption?
  • Read the following chapters:
    • Fang, Chapter 6, “Telephone: Reaching without Touching”
    • Claude Fischer, “The Telephone Takes Command”
    • Tim Wu, excerpt from the Master Switch on Bell and Western Union Recommended
  • Take Quiz 6, due Wednesday, January 13, 11:59 PM.

January 13 • Motion Pictures

A combination of earlier photographic technologies yields the motion picture camera in the 1890s and the emergence of a popular entertainment form in the 1900s.

January 14 • Sound Recording

In the late nineteenth century, the recording of sound evolves from preserving speech to disrupting the printed music industry and establishes a commercial industry producing musical sound recordings.

January 15 • Midterm Exam 2

This second midterm exam will cover the material on telegraphy, telephony, motion pictures, and sound recording and is due on Tuesday, January 19, 5:00 PM.

January 18 • Radio

Martin Luther King Day: Because today is a national holiday, you are welcome to complete this day’s work on another day. However, both the second midterm exam and the quiz for the radio material is still due on Tuesday, January 19. Please plan accordingly.

Radio emerges as the first technology to transmit an electromagnetic signal without a physical medium, potentially undermining every other communications media theretofore established.

January 19 • Television

In the 1930s, television emerges as electromagnetic motion pictures—known as video—transmitted using radio signal. Television would have cannibalized broadcast radio were it not for the radio companies developing television in the first place to cannibalize themselves.

  • Audition the lecture: Television: How Video Became ‘Radio With Pictures’
  • Watch the following early TV programs:
    • The Story of Television. A RCA promo film touting its contribution to the development of television. Produced in 1956, after the introduction of RCA (NTSC) color.
    • The Camel News Caravan. An early, fifteen-minute newscast. “Today’s News Today” for Camel cigarettes on NBC.
    • Marty. Perhaps the most famous live anthology drama, this presentation of Philco Television Theater
    • See It Now: A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. The famous and perhaps most influential TV program of the 1950s that exposed the fear-mongering demagoguery of the Wisconsin senator and ultimately led to his downfall.
  • Read the following chapters:
    • Fang, Chapter 12, “Television: Pictures in Our Parlours”
    • William Boddy, “Television Begins”
    • Lynn Spigel, “Making Room for TV”
  • Take Quiz 10, due Wednesday, January 20, 11:59 PM.

January 20 • Computers

Computers emerge as a media technology with digital media—the merger between modern media forms and computable code.

January 21 • Internet

Developed as a distributed computer network transmitting binary code as packets, the Internet emerges as the connective tissue for digital media throughout the world.

  • Audition the lecture: The Internet: Connecting Computers and Users
  • Watch: Computer Chronicles, The Internet
  • Read the following chapters:
    • Fang, Chapter 14, “Internet: The World at Our Finger Tips”
    • Janet Abbate, “Popularizing the Internet”
  • Take Quiz 12, due Friday, January 22, 11:59 PM.

January 22 • Midterm Exam 3

This third midterm exam will cover the material on radio, television, computers, and the Internet and is due on Wednesday, January 27, 5:00 PM.