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

Course Description

The advent of digital communication has ushered in a revolution in virtually every aspect of modern life. The digital revolution has transformed point-to-point and mass communication, specifically how we form and participate in social networks, how traditional media 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


Juan Monroy



Course Materials


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

Required course materials qualify for a tax credit. For more information, see, a website published by the National Association of College Stores.

Course Blog

There is a course blog where you will find important announcements, lecture analyses, assignment guidelines, exam study guides, and links to relevant resources. Everyone’s blog entries and extra credit assignments (see Assignments below) will also be posted on this website.


We will be using Blackboard 9.1 for announcements, your assignment guidelines, and your individual grade book. You will use Blackboard to submit each assignment, except for the blog posts.


If you don’t use it already, I highly recommend using Dropbox to exchange files with me. You can sign up for free and receive two (2) gigabytes of cloud-based storage. This is an invaluable tool for accessing all of your files anywhere without having to carry a USB flash drive. I hate those things.


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


Each class will form the basis of the material I expect you to know for the exams and most assignments. We will cover the historical, technological, and cultural context relevant to new media technologies. I will post notes and relevant links from each class, as appropriate, but believe me, those serve as poor substitutes for attending each class.


The most significant demand on your time will be reading each week’s assignments. Please read the assigned reading prior to each week’s class. Consult the Course Schedule for the required reading assignments.


All written 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.


Everyone will present in class on a reading and its relationship to what we’ve covered this semester. Because you must be present in class for your presentation, this assignment cannot be made up except for the most extraordinarly difficult circumstances.


Exams comprise half of your course grade and are written to reward regular attendance and diligent studying. The Midterm Exam will be administered in class and must be taken at the specified date and time. The Final Exam will be a take-home exam and must be submitted on time as any written assignment.



Please respect the classroom environment. You should pay attention to the lecture, take notes, and avoid distractions, such as web surfing and using your mobile phone. 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. 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.

Mobile Phones

Please silence or turn off the radio in your mobile phone (power down the phone or set to “Airplane” mode). Not only do ringing phones disrupt class, most phones will also interfere with the media equipment in the room.


Please check your Queens College email account on a daily basis, if not more frequently. I will broadcast announcements and send person-to-person 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.

Academic Integrity

Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.

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. Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting & pasting” from various sources without proper attribution. Obtaining Unfair Advantage is any activity that intentionally or unintentionally gives a student an unfair advantage in his/her academic work over another student. Additionally, falsification of records and official documents constitutes academic dishonesty.

All students are invited to read the CUNY policy.

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.


Profile of an Internet Technology

Write a 1000-word profile of the Internet technology you were assigned in class. Please use only academic and journalistic sources for your research. Your profile should:

  1. briefly summarize the technology, describing its purpose and primary application;
  2. explain its history, paying particular attention to its origins and evolution;
  3. locate and analyze at least three examples of its use on the Internet;
  4. evaluate this technology based on its ease of use, effectiveness, and possible applications

You will receive two (2) extra-credit points for posting this assignment on the course blog, in addition to submitting it on Blackboard and in class, before class on the day it is due.

  • Due: October 1, in class and on Blackboard.
  • Weight: 15%

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. You presentation should include a summary of the author’s argument, three discussion questions for the class, and a close examination of a case study or example that they author discussed.

In-class presentations should last about 25–30 minutes and you will receive three (3) extra credit points for posting a 250-word individualized summary of your presentation on the course blog, by 6:00 PM the day after your presentation.

  • Due: Nov 12, Nov 19, Nov 26, and Dec 3 in class.
  • Weight: 15%

Response to In-Class Presentations

Immediately before the presentations, I will pick a group of students from the class roster. Each of these students will respond to the in-class presentation by composing a 400- to 500-word response. Your response should address a specific single issue or question raised by the group’s in-class presentation. Please do not summarize the entire book in your response.

Your response must be posted on the course blog no later than 12:00 noon on the day it is due.

  • Due: Nov 19, Nov 26, Dec 3 and Dec 10, at 12:00 noon, on the course blog.
  • Weight: 15%

Response to Net Delusion

In order to makeup the class we missed due to Hurricane Sandy, please read and craft a 200-word response to Morozov’s Net Delusion. Your response must be posted on the course blog.

  • Due: Monday, December 17, at 6:00 PM.
  • Weight: 5%


Midterm Exam

The exam will consist of five identification questions, each requiring about a 100-word response, and three short essay questions, requiring a 500-word response. The questions will be based on the material we covered in the first-half of the course.

  • November 5, in class.
  • Weight: 20%

Final Exam

The final exam will be a take-home test with four essay questions, each requiring about a 500-word response. The exam will cover class material from the entire semester and will be distributed at our final class session. Your completed exam will be uploaded to Blackboard.

  • Due: December 21, 6:00 PM on Blackboard.
  • Weight: 30%

Course Schedule

August 27 • Welcome


September 10 • Bits and Bytes: Fundamentals of Digital Media


In today’s class, you will be assigned an Internet technology that will be the subject of your first assignment, due on October 1. Don’t miss this class!

  • Digital Nation (Rachel Dretzin, 2010) 83 min.

September 24 • Master Switch


October 1 • Internet Technologies


Profile of an Internet Technology is due in class and on Blackboard.

  • Green, Lelia. Chapter 1, “History.” The Internet: An Introduction to New Media. Oxford, UK: Berg, 2010.

October 10 • Facebook

In-Class Screening
  • We Live in Public (Ondi Timoner, 2009) 90 mins.

October 15 • Master Switch 2


October 22 • Google

Outside Screening

October 29 • Class Cancelled

Class cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy.

November 5 • Midterm Exam

We will take the midterm exam during our regular class session.

November 12 • Program or be Programmed

  • Group 1 will present in class today.

November 19 • Free Culture

  • Group 2 will present in class today.

November 26 • Filter Bubble

  • Group 3 will present in class today.

December 3 • Cognitive Surplus

  • Group 4 will present in class today.

Make up for Hurricane Sandy • Net Delusion

  • Post a 200-word response to Morozov’s book, on the course blog, by Monday, December 17, 6:00 PM.

December 10 • Open Source

Final Exam

Final Exam distributed in class today.


December 21 • Final Exam

Your final exam must be submitted on Blackboard by Friday, December 21, 6:00 PM.