NMS 501: Proseminar in New Media Studies (Autumn 2013)

Course Description

The Proseminar in New Media Studies is an introduction to the field of New Media Studies, in both its academic and professional dimensions. The course will acquaint you with the humanistic and rhetorical approaches to new media that characterize the NMS program at DePaul, and help you identify how these perspectives can inform your own new media practices. As a gateway into the NMS program, NMS 501 will also help you to articulate professional development goals and explore how to advance these goals during your time at DePaul.

By working through the materials and assignments, you should complete the class with an expanded ability to

  • Engage in conversations about new media from multiple perspectives (e.g., critical, rhetorical, technical), using a voice that is both professional and intentional
  • Scrutinize new technologies and platforms, and make informed judgments about their appropriateness for specific, local purposes
  • Assess a local ecology to determine how technologies function within this ecology
  • Narrate your professional development plan, and begin planning a course of study and professional development activities to meet your program, academic, and professional goals


Manovich, L. (2002). What is new media? In The language of new media (pp. 18-61). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Murray, J. (2012). Affordances of the digital medium. In Inventing the medium: Principles of interaction design (pp. 51-80). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Nardi, B.A. & O’Day, V.L. (1999). Information ecologies: Using technology with heart. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rainie, L. & Wellman, B. (2012). The new social operating system of networked individualism. In Networked: The new social operating system (pp. 3-20). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Redish, J. (2012). Planning: Purposes, personas, conversations. In Letting go of the words: Writing web content that works (2nd ed.) (pp. 17-36). Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Rheingold, H. (2013). Attention! Why and how to control your mind’s most powerful instrument. In Net smart: How to thrive online (pp. 35-75). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Robbins, J.N. (2012). Learning web design: A beginner’s guide to HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web graphics. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly. * OPTIONAL: PURCHASE IF YOU WANT/NEED ASSISTANCE WITH CODING.

Selber, S.A. (2004). Reimagining computer literacy. In Multiliteracies for a digital age (pp. 1-29). Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.

Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.

Van Dijck, J. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. London: Oxford UP.


  1. Blog Posts, Target Personas, and Reflection on Your Developing Online Presence/Voice: Create and make regular posts to a WordPress blog, and complete several related planning and reflection tasks. The aim of this project is to develop your capacity to communicate academic and professional learning to professional peers, as well as to determine sustainable and rewarding forms of online engagement.
  2. Collaborative Report and Presentation About a Social Media Platform: Use the framework described by Van Dijck to research and analyze a particular online platform not treated in her book (e.g., LinkedIn, Meetup, Vimeo, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest). You will write a portion of a collaborative report and contribute to an in-class presentation in which your team delivers its key findings.
  3. Description and Analysis of Technology Use in a Local Ecology: 1500-1700-word report based on your investigation of technology use in a particular workplace or other setting. Your description/analysis will use Nardi and O’Day’s methods and ideas to explore why a particular set of technologies is or is not working in the local ecology.