Digital Diversity

AMST 475/ DTC 475


Assignment Guidelines

Assignment 11: Group work reflection

**Due Fri April 29, by 5 PM

You all spent a good deal of time working on your group projects researching a topic directly related to digital diversity.

For this blog post:

  1. Reflect on your group work and discuss the process by which you came up with your presentation research questions, thesis and presentation style.
  2. Discuss what you would do differently now that you have completed the assignment.
  3. Include on outside link in your post.

Assignment 10: Implication of the “Always On” digital life

**Due MON April 18, by 5 PM

  1. Produce a pie chart of your weeks media use. Use different colors to denote the different categories of use. Provide a key.
  2. Look back over Chapter 7.  Watkins notes that “the young and the digital are widely viewed as masterful multitaskers, capable of managing several technologies, screens, and conversations fluidly and simultaneously. They multitask habitually and according to many observers, they also do it instinctively.” (162) After discussing the research and the myths of multitasking efficiency and the difference between that and dividing our attention between multiple tasks, Watkins suggests that the shift for the young and the digital to continuous partial attention has both neurological and sociological implications (169). In Chapter 8, he looks at school as one way to understand the sociological implications.
  3. Pick one other part of your life (not school) and critically analyze the impact of your always on media pie-chart. This should be at least 2 full paragraphs.
  4. Use at least 2 quotes from Watkins.
  5. Link to at lest one outside study about the always on media use phenomenon.

Assignment 9: The Social Network and “Generation Facebook”

*Due FRI April 1, by 5 PM

Last week we watched the movie “The Social Network” in class. The movie was largely concerned with giving us a glimpse of both Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook with all  its twists and turns. Granted that the movie IS fiction, although based on a book that chronicles Facebook’s rise and Zuckerberg’s persona, it still gives us a narrative about both Facebook as a social phenomenon and Zuckerberg as a leader in the rise and popularity of social networking sites.

Read this article by Zadie Smith critiquing the movie and to some extent Zuckerberg and the “Facebook generation.”  In part, Smith argues that:

World makers, social network makers, ask one question first: How can I do it? Zuckerberg solved that one in about three weeks. The other question, the ethical question, he came to later: Why? Why Facebook? Why this format? Why do it like that? Why not do it another way? The striking thing about the real Zuckerberg, in video and in print, is the relative banality of his ideas concerning the “Why” of Facebook. He uses the word “connect” as believers use the word “Jesus,” as if it were sacred in and of itself: “So the idea is really that, um, the site helps everyone connect with people and share information with the people they want to stay connected with….” Connection is the goal. The quality of that connection, the quality of the information that passes through it, the quality of the relationship that connection permits—none of this is important. That a lot of social networking software explicitly encourages people to make weak, superficial connections with each other (as Malcolm Gladwell has recently argued), and that this might not be an entirely positive thing, seem to never have occurred to him.

For your post, you MUST comment BACK to Smith. Your post needs to be a response to Smith’s arguments about what she dubs “Generation Facebook” (that is YOU). Your response should be grounded in evidence from the movie, outside sources and especially the readings thus far, particularly The Young and the Digital and Digital Media Ethics. Your blog post must include:

  1. A clear argument/stance about Smith’s thesis on Generation Facebook
  2. Two quotes from class readings
  3. One link to a quote from the real Mark Zuckerberg
  4. At least one direct quote from the movie
  5. A visual (static or video)

Assignment 8: Group Projects

*Due FRI March 11, by 12:00 PM

Each group was assigned a topic in class on Wed. In this blog post you need to:

1. Pick a representative for your group to post a 2 paragraph research summary of the issues you have raised so far, your preliminary research questions and a general overview of how you will be looking at the research topic. This person should have a list at the end of their post with links to the other group member’s posts.

2. Each person in the group, including the representative writing the 2 paragraph post above, needs to post one paragraph on their blog discussing a sub-topic and preliminary research question/focus for the sub-topic. Each individual also needs to provide three links to sources they have found so far.

3. The representative should email me so that I know where to begin reading.

Assignment 7: E-Waste and the Digital Divide

*Due WED March 2, by 5 PM

In class we watched the Frontline special “Ghana: the Digital Dumping Ground” in which we saw how the digital divide plays out globally through various networks, economic spheres and technologies. The chapter we read suggested that in order to understand the “digital divide” we need to get past looking just at mere “access” as the only barrier to digital equality and a ethical digital culture.

In this blog post discuss how inserting “e-waste” into the definition and understanding of the digital divide expands the term and produces a more ethical digital terrain. For this post you need to:

1) Have a clear argument about the notion of the digital divide

2) Clearly define and use e-waste as a central part of your argument for expanding the notion of the digital divide

3) Use one quote from the DME text, one quote from the TRT chapter and one example from the movie

4) Provide at least one outside link to a source that provides evidence for your argument

5) Use one image in your post

Assignment 6: Getting past “either/or”

*Due WED Feb 23rd, by 5 PM

During our in-class digital media ethics debates we used an “exclusive” model to ask if an issue was either this way or that way (either yes OR no, not BOTH). We saw in the DME text that this strategy is often deployed in the media around popular debates and creates the illusion that there are no other scenarios, no other possibilities for seeing an “inclusive either/or” that allows one to suggest that there are portions of both (or several) arguments that one could claim are beneficial and/or true.

In your blog post, frame the debate you were part of as an INCLUSIVE debate. Write two paragraphs detailing how BOTH sides could be true and or false. Come to some compromise and list how there might be alternative views that we miss if we focus just on right or wrong exclusively. Use at least one quote from the DME text book, provide at least one external link and embed one video clip and or image in your response.

Assignment 5: Reading Technology

*Due MON Feb 14, by 5 PM

There has been much reporting in the news lately about social networking platforms (especially twitter and facebook) and the revolution in Egypt. Watch this video (Cairo’s Facebook Flat) from the New York Times Online and write an analysis of HOW technology is framed: is technology “just a tool”? Is there an either or framework? Are there certain cultural assumptions being made about the technology and its impact? How are the protesters framed in relation to the technology? Are the protesters seen as “cosmopolitans? Does that change the framework?

Use Chapter 4 in the DME book to frame your analysis. You should also include ONE external link and ONE image or video clip in your post.

Assignment 4: movie post

*Due Wed Feb 2, by 5 PM

In the next two class periods we will be watching two films that look at issues of “reuse” of materials in their digital and material form. The movies have very different cultural, historical and legal perspectives on the notion of “remix” and/or appropriation. While you watch each film, take careful notes to determine what the filmmaker wants you to understand about cultural appropriation, privacy rights, group and individual rights, intellectual property laws and remix of digital and material objects. Make sure to focus on cultural, legal and historic aspects of each films point of view.

After you have watched BOTH films write a 2 paragraph blog post discussing the issue of cultural appropriation and remix in the digital age emphasizing the ETHICS of each set of practices. Use examples from the films and at least one quote from the in-class readings from the Digital Media Ethics book chapters 1-3. Your post should have a clear point (ie your argument) and should have at least one OUTSIDE link.

Assignment 3: Group blogging

*Due Wednesday January 26th by 8 am

  1. In your group decide how you will report on the topic in relation to the theme of the class marked with the topic (what questions need to be asked, what facts need to be defined, what sources should be used, etc)
  2. Divide up the work–assign each person a task
  3. Each person must post their portion of the report to their blog and link to all the blog posts in the group
  4. Each group must have at least 5 outside links in their report
  5. Each group should have at least one video embedded in the report
  6. The report should be cohesive, with a clear set of ideas and evidence for support
  7. One person in your group needs to submit to me ( where I should begin with your report (ie: whose blog post do I start with to grade the assignment)

Assignment 2: Finish creating your blog

*Due Monday January 24th by 8 am

  1. Finalize your theme
  2. Add widgets: blogroll, “about” box, top posts, categories (and any others you wish)
  3. Add “pages”– “About,” and “Project” (and any others you wish)
  4. Add your first post: introduce yourself to your readers (you can add audio, video, images etc to your post)

Assignment 1: Creating Your Blog

*Due Tuesday January 18th by 9 PM

  1. Go to
  2. Click “sign me up”
  3. Decide on a blog title
  4. Continue registering
  5. follow the directions here:
  6. Send me an email with your blog URL by Tuesday Jan 18, 2011 @ 9 PM

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