TC 375: New Media, Old Media

Fall, 2007      

Instructor: Dr. Nicole Ellison

Dept of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media

Michigan State University

Course Description

This class focuses on the social impacts of newer information and communication technologies. We will learn about theoretical approaches to the study of computer-mediated communication and explore how technology affects social processes such as identity formation and relationship-development. Key concepts such as privacy, the digital divide, community, and technological determinism will be discussed and critiqued.

Course Objectives

When students complete the course, they will be able to:

Required texts

Thurlow, C., Lengel, L. & Tonic, A. (2004). Computer-Mediated Communication: Social Interaction and the Internet. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Additional Materials

We will be relying heavily on online materials to supplement our textbook, so you will need regular access to a computer with Internet access in order to get the online readings.  Students are responsible for checking ANGEL and their MSU email accounts regularly to stay abreast of announcements, etc.  If you don’t check your MSU email account, you should forward it to an account that you do check. You may also forward your ANGEL mail to a non-MSU account.

Content and Reading Schedule

Note: Any aspect of this syllabus, including the content and reading schedule, may be adjusted throughout the semester. Any changes will be announced in class and via ANGEL. Students are responsible for checking ANGEL on a regular basis.


NOTE: “CMC” refers to the Thurlow, Lengel, and Tonic text.



Readings Due

Tues., Aug. 28, 2006

Introductions and Syllabus

Strongly recommended: “Intro 1: For students” (CMC, 1-7)

Thurs., Aug. 30, 2006

History of the Internet 

 Rheingold "Visionaries and Convergences: The Accidental History of the Net" ( Warning: this is a long article; you may need to skim sections



“BT 1: Defining CMC” (CMC, 13-22)



Recommended: Computer History Museum Exhibit on Internet History:

Tues., Sept. 04 2006

History of the WWW

“BT 2: Situating CMC” (CMC, 25-33)



Kelly, "We are the Web" (online at ) (note: article is 5 pages long)

Thurs., Sept. 06, 2006

Wikis, Web 2.0 

Schiff, "'Know it All" (from The New Yorker, online at )


O'Reilly, "What is the Web 2.0?" (online at   - Note it is multiple pages; Skim pages 4 and 5)



Recommended: Rosenberg, "Fear of links" (online at )

Tues., Sept. 11, 2006

Online Journalism/Blogs

Hiler, "Blogosphere: the emerging Media Ecosystem" (in ANGEL)


Selected pages from Pew Internet report on Bloggers (online at  (click on ‘View PDF of Report’); Read the following sections only: Summary of Findings, Part 2, 3, and 5)


Recommended: Hourihan, "What we are doing when we blog" (online at )

Thurs., Sept. 13, 2006

CMC Theories

“BT 3: Theorizing CMC” (CMC, 35-43)



To Be Determined

Tues., Sept. 18 2006

Interpersonal CMC

“BT 4: Describing CMC: Interpersonal Dynamics” (CMC, 45-55)



 Walther & Parks, "Cues Filtered Out, Cues Filtered In" pp 529-452 (in ANGEL) Note: This is a long document, so read online or only print the pages you will be using

Thurs., Sept. 20, 2006

Online Identity

“CI 2: Online Identity: Real or Virtual?” (CMC, 95-105)


 Who Am We? Interview with Sherry Turkle in Wired (online at ) (Note: read all ten pages)

Tues., Sept. 25, 2006

Instant Messaging and Language on the Net

“CI 4: Language and the Internet” (CMC, 118-127)



de Jager “IM N, RU?” (online at )

Thurs., Sept. 27, 2006

Catch-up and Review


Tues., Oct. 02, 2006

** EXAM 1 **


Thurs., Oct. 04, 2006

Ethics, Digital Divide, Race Online

Nakamura, "Race in/for cyberspace" (online at )


(Virtual Group Activity distributed)

“CI 1: Online Ethics and International Inequities” (CMC, 82-92)

Tues., Oct. 9, 2006

Gender and Technology

AAUW, "technology Savvy" pages ix -xiii (pdf available online at )



Bruckman, Finding One's Own in Cyberspace (available online as PDF and Word doc at )


“CI 5: Women and the Internet” (CMC, 129-135)

Thurs., Oct. 11, 2006

Online Communities

“CI3 3: Online Communities: Real or Imagined?” (CMC, 107-116)


Rheingold, "The Heart of the Well" (online at ) 

Tues., Oct. 16, 2006

Virtual Communities/ Governance.

Dibbell, A Rape in Cyberspace (available online: ) (contains descriptions of sexuality and violence)

Thurs., Oct. 18, 2006  

Avatars Offline (film)

No reading due


Virtual Groups Assignment Due

Tues., Oct. 23, 2006

Note: We will be meeting in another location; to be announced

CMC in Groups

“BT 5: Explaining CMC: Group Dynamics” (CMC, 58-67)

“BT6: Contexualizing CMC: "Flaming" and Embedded Media” (CMC, 69-80)

Thurs., Oct. 25, 2006


Boynton, "The Tyranny of Copyright" (in ANGEL)



Recommended: "The Creators Own Ideas" from Technology Review ( )

Tues., Oct. 30, 2006



Thurs., Nov. 01, 2006

**EXAM 2 **


Tues., Nov. 06, 2006


Brin, "The Transparent Society" (online at - 4 pages



Bradsher, "China enacting a high-technology plan ot track people." (online at

Thurs., Nov. 08, 2006

Gaming (Guest Lecture: Dr. Cliff Lampe

Nardi and Harris, "Strangers and Friends:  Collaborative Play in World of Warcraft" (in ANGEL)


Jenkins, "Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked " online at



Recommended: Steinkuehler and Williams, Where Everybody Knows Your (Screen) Name: Online Games as "Third Places" (online at )

Tues., Nov. 13 2006

Mobile Technologies

Ito, "A New Set of Social Rules for a Newly Wireless Society" (online at

Lipscomb, Totten, Cook & Lesch, "Cellular phone etiquette among college students" (in ANGEL or online at   )

Thurs., Nov. 15, 2006

Social Software

Gross, Acquisti, & Heinz, "Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social
Networks" (online at )

boyd and Ellison, “Overview of Social Network Site Research and History” (URL to be announced)

Tues., Nov. 20, 2006

Social Software continued

Ellison et al., "The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites" (online at ) - OK to skim


boyd,  Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace (online at


Recommended: Donath & boyd, "Public displays of connection" (pdf available online at

Thurs., Nov. 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Holiday

 Enjoy your holiday! Class does not meet.

Tues., Nov. 27 2006

Technology in the Organization

Brown & Duguid, "Home Alone" online at



Social Life of Paper (available online at

Thurs., Nov. 29, 2006


Parker, "Absolute PowerPoint" (online at



“Topic 8: Visual Communication"(CMC, 224-227)



Tufte, "PowerPoint does Rocket Science" (online at  Skim, don't read comments at bottom of page



Recommended: "How People with Disabilities Use the Web" (online at

Tues., Dec. 04, 2006

Future of the Internet

Pew Internet report on "The Future of the Internet," read the executive summary and one of the predictions (available online at

Thurs., Dec. 06, 2006



Wednesday, Dec. 12, 3-5pm

** Final Exam **