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COMN 2500. INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY

 

 

Lecture: Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30, ACE 102.

 

Contact Information

 

Professor: Ganaele Langlois

Email: [email protected]

Office hours: DB 3017, Wednesdays, 10-12.

 

Course Description

 

This course focuses on critical stances with which to view our society’s preoccupation with information and technology. Different models and theoretical approaches are used to understand how information and technology affect social change.

 

Required Texts:

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2014). Culture and Technology: A Primer (Second Edition). New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc. ISBN: 1433107759

 

All other readings are available on Moodle.

 

Technology Requirements:

 

We will use Moodle for this course. Moodle is where you will find readings other than the textbook, where you will upload your written assignments, where you can discuss with your peers, and where you can see your grades.

 

Full policy on technology in the classroom can be found below.

 

Evaluation:

 

The grade distribution is as follows:

 

Tutorial attendance and participation: 15%

Weekly quizzes: 15%

Documentary analyses (4 in total): 20%

Literature review: 15%

Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: 15%

Final Paper: 20%

 

Further information can be found below. Detailed descriptions and rubrics are posted on Moodle.

 

Schedule

 

  1. September 14: Welcome and Introduction to the Course

 

Nicholas Carr – Is the Internet Making Us Stupid?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tqRMbg7MPc

 

PART 1: THE RISE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

 

  1. September 21: What do we mean by “information technologies”?

 

Gleick, J. (2012). Prologue. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. New York: Vintage.

 

Bush, V. (1945). As We May Think. The Atlantic. URL: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1945/07/as-we-may-think/303881/

 

Screening: Lo and Behold – Reveries of the Connected World

 

  1. September 28: An information revolution?

 

Mayer-Schönberger, V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Chapter 1. Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. Boston: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, pp. 1-18.

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2007). The Power and Problem of Culture, Progress, Convenience. Culture and Technology: A Primer. New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 3-48.

 

Screening: Lo and Behold – Reveries of the Connected World

 

  1. October 5: The rise of the Information society – Theoretical Frameworks 1

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2007). Determinism. Culture and Technology: A Primer. New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 33-58.

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2007). Control. Culture and Technology: A Primer (3 edition). New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 59-74.

 

**** Documentary Analysis on Lo and Behold Due****

 

  1. October 12: The Rise of the Information Society: Socio-Economic Aspects

 

Mosco, V. (2014). Chapter 4. To the Cloud: Big Data in a Turbulent World. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, pp. 123-174.

 

Benkler, Yochai (2006) Chapter 3: Peer Production and Sharing. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 1-34.

 

Screening: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.

 

  1. October 19: The Rise of the Information Society – Theoretical Frameworks 2

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2007). Meaning, Causality and Agency. Culture and Technology: A Primer (3 edition). New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 107-148.

 

Screening: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.

 

  1. October 25: The Rise of the Information Society – Theoretical Frameworks 3

 

Slack, J. D., & Wise, J. M. (2007). Articulation and Assemblages, Politics and Economics. Culture and Technology: A Primer. New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, pp. 149-178.

 

Screening: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.

 

  1. November 2: Critiques of the Information Society

 

Winner, L. (2010). Mythinformation. The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology. University of Chicago Press.

 

Serazio, M. (2013). Selling (Digital) Millennials: The Social Construction and Technological Bias of a Consumer Generation. Television & New Media, 1527476413491015.

 

****Documentary Analysis on The Internet’s Own Boy Due****

 

PART 2: POWER

 

  1. November 9: Information and Capitalism

 

Foster, J. B., & McChesney, R. (2011). The Internet’s Unholy Marriage to Capitalism. Consulted July 29, 2015, URL: http://monthlyreview.org/2011/03/01/the-internets-unholy-marriage-to-capitalism/

 

What the Sharing Economy Takes. (2015). The Nation. URL http://www.thenation.com/article/what-sharing-economy-takes/

 

  1. November 16: Commodifying Users

 

Fuchs, C. (2012). The political economy of privacy on Facebook. Television & New Media, 13(2), 139–159.

 

Simonite, Tom. (2012). What Facebook Knows. MIT Technology Review. Consulted July 29, 2015, URL http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/428150/what-facebook-knows/

 

  1. November 23: Free Labor

 

Terranova, T. (2000). Free labor: Producing culture for the digital economy. Social text, 18(2), 33–58.

 

Davies, W. (2015, June 6). All the Happy Workers. The Atlantic. URL http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/all-the-happy-workers/394907/

 

  1. November 30: Algorithmic Power

 

Gillespie, T. (2012). Can an Algorithm be Wrong? Limn. URL: http://limn.it/can-an-algorithm-be-wrong/

 

Hallinan, B., & Striphas, T. (2014). Recommended for you: The Netflix Prize and the production of algorithmic culture. New Media & Society, 1461444814538646.

 

**** Literature Review Due Dec. 12****

 

  1. January 11: Search

 

Granka, L. A. (2010). The politics of search: A decade retrospective. The Information Society, 26(5), 364–374.

 

Graham, R. (2014). A ‘History’ of Search Engines: Mapping Technologies of Memory, Learning and Discovery. In Society of the Query Reader (p. 105‑120). Institute of Network Cultures.

 

  1. January 18: Privacy and State Power

 

Solove, D. J. (2007). “I’ve got nothing to hide” and other misunderstandings of privacy. San Diego law review, 44, 745-772.

 

Brunton, F. and Nissenbaum, H. (2015). “Why is Obfuscation Necessary?” in Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest, pp. 45-62.

 

Screening: Citizen Four

 

  1. January 25: The Surveillance Society

 

Simon, B. (2002). The Return of Panopticism: Supervision, Subjection and the New Surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 3(1). URL:

 

Lyon, D. (2015). The Snowden Stakes: Challenges for Understanding Surveillance Today. Surveillance & Society, 13(2), 139‑152.

 

Screening: Citizen Four

 

PART 3: INFORMATION CULTURE

 

  1. February 1: An Online Public Sphere

 

Habermas, J. (2001). The public sphere: An encyclopedia article. Media and cultural studies, 73.

 

Sunstein, C. R. (2009). The Daily Me. Republic.com 2.0. Princeton University Press, pp. 3-22.

 

****Documentary Analysis on Citizen Four Due****

 

  1. February 8: Citizen Journalism

 

Bruns, A., Highfield, T., & Lind, R. A. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production in Contemporary Theory, 80(2012), 15–32.

 

  1. February 15: Participatory Culture

 

Jenkins, Henry. (2012). Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars? Grassroots Creativity Meets the Media Industry. In Mandiberg, M. (Ed.), The social media reader. NYU Press, pp. 203-235.

 

Miltner, K. M. (2014). “There’s no place for lulz on LOLCats”: The role of genre, gender, and group identity in the interpretation and enjoyment of an Internet meme. First Monday, 19(8). http://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v19i8.5391

 

Screening: RIP! A Remix Manifesto

 

  1. March 1: Cultural Ownership

 

Lessig, L. (2009). Part I: Cultures. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. New York, NY: Penguin Books.

 

Screening: RIP! A Remix Manifesto

 

****Proposal and Annotated Bibliography due***

 

PART 4: LIFE

 

  1. March 8: Community and Collective Action

 

Christensen, H. S. (2011). Political activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or political participation by other means? First Monday, 16(2). http://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i2.3336

 

Gabriella Coleman. (2011). “Anonymous: From the Lulz to collective action. The New Everyday: A Media Commons Project. URL http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/pieces/anonymous-lulz-collective-action.

 

****Documentary Analysis on RIP! Due****

 

zx21. March 15: Being Together

 

Turkle, S. (2012). Chapter 8. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. New York, NY: Basic Books, pp. 151-170.

 

Screening: We Live in Public

 

  1. March 22: Trolls and Bullies

 

Phillips, W. (2015). Dicks Everywhere: The Cultural Logic of Trolling. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. The MIT Press, 115-134.

 

Shepher, T., Harvey, A., Jordan, T., Srauy, S. and Miltner, K. (2015). Histories of Hating. Social Media + Society (2015), pp. 1-10.

 

Screening: We Live in Public

 

  1. March 29: Race

 

Daniels, J. (2013). Race and Racism in Internet Studies: A Review and Critique. New Media and Society 15(5), pp. 695-719.

 

Nakamura, L. (2013). “It’s a Nigger in Here! Kill the Nigger!”: User-Generated Media Campaigns against Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in Digital Games. In Angharad N. Valdivia (Ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies,pp. 1-15.

 

****Documentary Analysis on We Live in Public Due****

 

  1. April 5: Gender and Information Technologies

 

Tiidenberg, K. and Gomez Cruz, E. (2015) Selfies, Images and the Remaking of the Body. Body and Society 21(4), pp. 77-102.

 

Shade, L. (2014). Missing in Action: Gender in Canada’s Digital Economy Agenda. Signs 39(4), pp. 887-895.

 

****Final Paper Due April 20***


 

TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM

 

No multitasking in the classroom!!

 

Technology can be wonderful, and we will be using it judiciously throughout the term and at the discretion of the professor and/or tutorial assistants.

 

However, it has now been widely proven that multitasking on laptops and other electronic devices in the classroom is highly detrimental to student learning. Look at the following sources is you want more information:

 

To put it concisely, you are asked as a student in this class to engage in prolonged, focused and detailed thinking of the kind that requires no distraction. All the apps on your laptops and tablets will only prevent you from reaching this kind of focus. As a result, not only will your grades suffer, but you will also feel alienated from this learning community.

 

More importantly perhaps, multitasking does not simply impact your learning, but the learning of all your peers around you who have your screen in their field of vision, and their grades will suffer as well as a consequence of your choices.

 

For these reasons, laptops and tablets can only be used for class activities for this course only. Students using a computer or electronic devices for anything other than this course during class time will be asked to leave the class.

 

It is highly recommended that you install a no distraction app on your devices to help you focus by preventing you from accessing or getting pinged by email updates, social media and entertainment websites. Here is a list: http://99u.com/articles/6969/10-online-tools-for-better-attention-focus

 

Mobile phones should be turned on silent and should not be used unless for emergencies or other special circumstances.

 

Email and Electronic Communication

 

Emails to the should be properly written, including salutation, proper use of English, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc. Emails without proper grammar or tone will not receive a response.

Email is not a substitute for face-to-face meeting with the professor and/or tutorial assistant. Office hours are the time to ask questions about the course material and assignments and to discuss issues relating to the class.

Please check with your tutorial assistant about their personal email policies. Most emails will be answered by the professor within 48 hours. Emails sent over the weekend will be answered the following Monday. Remember that others in the class may have similar questions and they may also have the answer to your questions. Use the Class “General” discussion forum on Moodle. Remember also to check both the syllabus and Moodle updates: most of your questions will be answered there.

Please Note: Emails sent after 4 pm regarding an assignment due the following day will not be answered by the professor. Please plan accordingly.

 

MATTERS RELATING TO ASSIGNMENTS

 

Tutorial Attendance and Participation 15%

 

Attendance will be taken in tutorial. Your tutorial leader will explain participation requirements.

 

Weekly Quizzes 15%

 

Weekly quizzes will be on the lecture content and the readings, and will be available on Moodle.

 

Four Documentary Analyses 20% – Due the week following the last screening

 

You will write four documentary analyses, one in each term. Altogether, we will be viewing selection from five documentaries, so you have a choice as to which two documentaries you want to focus on.

 

The documentary analysis assignment is a 500 word short paper, where you will use your lecture notes along with one assigned readings from the weeks associated with the screening of the documentary to discuss an issue raised in a documentary.

 

The five documentaries are:

  • Herzog, W. (2016). Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World. Documentary.
  • Knappenberger, B. (2014). The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz. Documentary.
  • Gaylor, B. (2009). RiP: A Remix Manifesto. Documentary.
  • Poitras, L. (2015). Citizenfour. Documentary.
  • Timoner, O. (2010). We Live in Public. Documentary.

 

Literature Review: 15%

 

For this seven-page assignment, you will focus on one issue emerging from lectures and assigned readings and review the existing scholarly literature on this topic. In order to do so, you will need to formulate a precise research problem and examine how up-to-date research has answered this problem.

 

You will choose two assigned readings and select seven scholarly sources that illustrate the dimensions of your problems, and, relying on your lecture notes, you will analyze how they complement each other. Finally, you will identify what research gaps still exist, and what kind of research questions remain to be asked.

 

Proposal and annotated Bibliography: 15%

 

You will identify one issue emerging from the course that you wish to explore in depth. You will write a one-page proposal and provide annotations for 10 relevant scholarly sources (70-100 words each).

 

Final Paper: 20%

 

Building on the proposal, you will write an 8-10 page paper on an issue emerging from the course. You will identify a problem and its attending research questions, and you will develop an informed argument as to how to answer this problem.

 

Matters Relating to Assignments

 

Assignments must be double-spaced and uploaded as .doc or .docx files, using Times New Roman 12 point font. Please use standard margins of no more than one inch. Pages must be numbered. Please use proper scholarly form in APA or Chicago style. If you use external sources for your work at any time, you must include a “Works Cited” page. To insure that you are graded on a complete assignment, put your name in the header of each page.

 

All assignments must be original, produced by you, and prepared for this course alone. An essay prepared for, or used in, another course will be failed automatically. If you are drawing from assignments done for previous or current courses, please discuss this with your tutorial leader before submission.

 

You must hand in a paper copy and upload on Moodle an electronic copy of each written assignments. Please make sure to title your file in the following way:

Tutorial number, your last name, your first name, title of the assignment. So, for example: T01-SmithMaggie-DocAnalysis1.doc

 

Grading Scale

 

The grading will be based on the following table

 

Grade Grade Point Per Cent Range Description
A+ 9 90-100 Exceptional
A 8 80-89 Excellent
B+ 7 75-79 Very Good
B 6 70-74 Good
C+ 5 65-69 Competent
C 4 60-64 Fairly Competent
D+ 3 55-59 Passing
D 2 50-54 Marginally Passing
E 1 (marginally below 50%) Marginally Failing
F 0 (below 50%) Failing

 

 

Late Assignments:

 

Non-negotiated late assignments  

This is an assignment that has been handed in late, without a prior agreement between the student and the professor and/or tutorial leader to extend the time for submission of the assignment. Late assignments without a valid excuse will lose one mark (A goes to A-, and so on) for every 12 hours after the due date/time.

 

Negotiated Late Assignment 

This is an assignment that has been handed in late with the permission of the professor and/or tutorial leader. The professor and/or tutorial leader and student, through discussion, have mutually agreed on the time/extension and penalty (if applicable) that the student will receive.

 

Extenuating Circumstances

The professor and/or tutorial leader will consider individual, rare extenuating circumstances that may cause an assignment to be late. The student must provide documentation to validate the extenuating circumstance, which might include hospitalization, death of a family member or significant other. The professor will have the discretion to determine any extension in such situations

 

Individual Needs and Diversity:

 

If you have any concerns about the course as a result of any special needs, please talk to me and your teaching assistant as soon as possible. I designed this course in an effort to meet the various ways that individuals learn.

 

Academic Integrity:

 

Students are expected to be familiar with York University’s regulations on Academic Conduct, which can be found at:

http://secretariat-policies.info.yorku.ca/policies/academic-honesty-senate-policy-on/.

The policy sets out the kinds of actions that constitute academic misconduct, including plagiarism, copying from another student or allowing your work to be copied by another student, use of unauthorized aids in examinations and tests, submitting work prepared in collaboration with another student when collaboration is not authorized by the professor, and other academic offences.  The regulations also describe the procedures for dealing with allegations, and the sanctions for any finding of academic misconduct, which can range from a written reprimand to permanent expulsion from the university.  A lack of familiarity with York University’s regulations on academic conduct does not constitute a defense against its implications.

 

As you complete the writing assignments, remember that plagiarism is the act of presenting the ideas, words, or other intellectual property of another as one’s own. The use of other people’s work must be properly acknowledged and referenced in all written material. Please refer to the York University Academic Integrity website for assistance in avoiding plagiarizing:

http://www.yorku.ca/acadinte/students/index.htm

 

DISCLAIMER

 

This outline documents the instructor’s intentions for this course. Over the period of the academic term it may become clear that some modifications may be necessary. Any modifications that may influence student success or the marking scheme will be made only after frank discussion with the students.

 

LICENSING

 

 

 

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, PO Box 1866, Mountain View, CA 94042, USA.

 

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