Students will take away from this course a set of conceptual tools, a vocabulary, and an analytical framework with which to recognize, understand, and more effectively manage new social practices online, together with a familiarity with the literature regarding social media and identity, community, collective action, public sphere, social capital, and social networks. Students will also develop skills at using online forums, blogs, Twitter, wikis for research, collaboration, and communication.
Students who successfully complete this course will be on the way to mastering the 21st century meta-skill of knowing how to learn to use new social media, to assess a new social medium’s potential cognitive, social, and political impact, and to tune or relinquish use of the medium for their own purposes. In addition, students will have practiced mindful self-observation of the ways they use their own attention. Increased facility at inquiry and collaboration are other meta-skills dedicated students should expect to gain: the methodology of collaborative inquiry used in this course generalizes beyond the classroom.
Students apply the tools we use in this course in five interrelated kinds of activity: research, reflection, collaboration, presentation, and networking. In the course of team co-teaching, and collaborative note-taking, students will use one or more of these interactive presentation media. Group project teams will use social bookmarking to conduct research, blogs to discuss how to organize the project on the basis of this research and to reflect on the personal, social, political significance of the project, wikis to collaboratively organize and document the creation of a presentation and to record learning and assessment reflections, and interactive media to augment their presentations. In addition, students will practice skills that will become increasingly important in their lives — the ability to assess themselves, assess others, and communicate honestly about both modes of assessment
Practical facility in the use of social media
By the end of the term, students will know how to use forums, blogs, wikis, microblogs, social bookmarking, and blogging. Students will also gain an understanding of the affordances and limitations of each medium, and practice at assessing the best ways to use each medium
Cyberculture theory, science, and scholarship
Along with the practical experience of communicating online, this course introduces the fundamental documents of the interdisciplinary study of cyberculture and online social behavior. These theories can be practical lenses for seeing what tomorrow’s media forms and practices will mean for you and those around you. Your objective is, in part, to grind your own new set of analytical lenses through which to view and better understand online behavior. By examining core scholarship in this area, in tandem with learning how to use social media, we will learn how to analyze new technologically-enabled social forms as they are emerging. Particularly important core orienting concepts include social dilemmas, the commons, collective action, the presentation of self in everyday online life, the role of gift economy, social capital and reputation, the construction of digital bodies and personae, peer to peer economics, the relationship between network form and function, the role of the public sphere in connecting individual citizen communication with the process of self governance.