Course Description:
The purpose of this class is to explore the social, political, and economic implications of new media technologies. First, we will study specific technologies and trace the growth of some major ones, such as digital television, satellites, computers, and the Internet. Next, we will examine the development of regulating agencies and recent laws that impact and control these technologies. We explore how life in the digital age will affect our conceptions of privacy, copyright, and relationships. We will then turn to examine media conglomeration, ownership, and globalization.

Course Objectives:
By the end of the semester you should:

  • Be able to critically assess the impact of new technologies on society.
  • Understand the impact of media conglomeration, and how new regulations will impact society.
  • Understand the global interconnectedness of media systems, including the effects of American media abroad as well as the effects of globalization on local media
  • Have first-hand experience exploring new technology. In particular, have participated in an on-line community and analyzed your experiences doing so throughout the semester.
  • Have completed an extensive research paper and gain a special knowledge of a particular contemporary issue or phenomenon within society.
  • Developed your critical analyses skills, writing skills, research skills, and have increased your interest/knowledge of our changing media environment.

Academic Honesty
MMC fosters an academic community where students and faculty work together to create a learning experience that imparts knowledge and forms character. All work submitted should be done by the student in preparation for this specific class (for example, you may not hand in a paper for this class that you are also preparing for another class). Plagiarism and cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Students will jeopardize their grade not just for the assignment but also for the entire course. If a student has difficulty understanding how to cite sources or has questions concerning the above, contact the professor as soon as possible. The College requires all members of the community to adhere to the policy of Academic Honesty that can be found in the Student Handbook, the College Catalogue and on the College website.

Class Website
The class website is located at:

You will need to login in order to download readings and post to the discussion forums. Please do this by the end of the week to make sure you can access the site.


All reading materials will be made available through the class website.

Grade Weights - details below

Participation 10%
Reading Responses 25%
Peer Reviews 15%

Final Project
Research Proposal 5%
Literature Review 10%
Interview Analysis 10%
Final Paper 25%

Participation 10%
Attendance and participation are essential for you to do well in this course. Attendance will be taken in each class, and more than 2 absences will result in a drop in your final grade. More than 3 absences (excused or unexcused) will jeopardize your ability to pass this class. It is also necessary for you to participate in each class. Vibrant participation allows all members of the class (including the professor) to benefit from the exchange of ideas, questions, and criticism of the readings. If you find that you are uncomfortable, you need to see me during my office hours to discuss alternative contributions to the class.

Reading Responses 25%
One-page Essays - you will write 5 one-page essays over the course of the semester. Each essay will be based on one or more of the assigned readings and is due no later than one class after the reading was due.

  • topics: You will decide what to focus each essay on. Each essay must have both a thesis and evidence (data, quotes, examples, etc from the readings)
  • format: Your essay must fit onto one page of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper - you can use any legible font (10, 11 or 12 pt) and any spacing (single, double or 1.5)

Quick Writes - occasionally I will give "pop" in-class writing assignments, in which you will be asked to make critical reflections on the day's readings.

Peer Reviews 15%
This course has a peer review component. You will be part of a team of 3 students. For the three stages leading up to your final paper (Research Proposal, Lit Review, Interview) you will be required to provide written and verbal feedback of your classmates work.

Final Project
During the semester, while we as a class explore new technology and how changes in communication technology impact society, you will be working individually to further examine an aspect of the new media environment. You will pick a subject to focus on and conduct a research project where you analyze this topic in a number of ways. You will examine research already completed on this subject (secondary research) and you will incorporate an interview with a person relevant to your topic (primary research). Your sources should be wide-ranging and varied, including books, articles from scholarly journals, newspaper and magazine articles, technology blogs and trade journals for communication professionals.

You will have a significant amount of flexibility in choosing this topic so you should pick one that interests you or could help you learn more about new media in a field that you are considering for your career. In other words, this paper will be as useful to you as make it. In previous classes, students have used the paper they wrote to obtain a job, an internship, or to apply to graduate programs. You should plan to spend time in the next month looking over our entire course schedule and thinking deeply about what you would like to investigate to ensure that the topic you take on is sufficiently interesting to sustain a semester-long focus. Sample topics and areas will be discussed in class and I encourage you to engage me in discussions about possible topics well in advance of the prospectus due date.

To aid you in deciding upon a topic and developing your paper in a timely manner throughout the semester, I have broken the process down into several specific assignments. Note that these assignments are mandatory and failure to complete them will jeopardize both your final grade and also the quality and success of your final essay (since you will deny yourself feedback from your peers and me.)

note: The final essay should be submitted in no larger than 12pt. type, double-spaced, number pages and STAPLED in the upper left hand corner.

note: Papers that are one class session late will lose one full grade. I will not accept papers past one class session beyond the due date.

Research Proposal 5% - due September 25
In a two-page document present your project as you are currently thinking about it. The first section should be a narrative of what brought you to your subject, what interests you about it and why you want to investigate it further. The next section should pose the issue you are going to research further and the various areas you will explore as you work towards the creation of your essay. This section should include at least six questions through which you will approach your topic. The last section should discuss your research strategy. Indicate possible readings/sources and possible candidates for the interview component of the final paper.

Literature Review 10% - due October 23
In this 5-7 page paper you will review secondary sources relevant to your field of inquiry. Your research should include a minimum of 8 sources, 2 of which may be readings assigned from class. This paper should do more than simply summarize the sources you select. Rather you should attempt to draw connections between them and how they relate to your research topic. We will discuss the form of this paper in more detail during class.

Interview Analysis 10% - due November 15
You will conduct an interview with an individual relevant to your field of inquiry and then write a 5-7 analysis paper. We will discuss the form of this paper in more detail during class.


  • Identify and contact the person you would like to interview.
  • Prepare a set of questions around your research focus.
  • Conduct and record a live interview.
  • Prepare a transcript of your interview and write up your analysis.

Be sure to turn in the raw transcript of your interview.

Final Paper 25% - due December 6
Your 15-20 page paper with a complete list of works cited.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must either enroll in the Program for Academic Access or register with the Office of Student Support Services. For any accommodation, the instructor must be presented with either a letter from the Assistant Director of the Program for Academic Access or an Accommodations Card from the Office of Student Support Services during the first week of classes.