NMS 501: Proseminar in New Media Studies (Autumn 2014)

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, socio-cultural), using a voice that is both professional and intentional
  • Scrutinize new technologies and related practices, and make informed judgments about their appropriateness for specific, local purposes
  • Narrate your professional development plan, and begin planning a course of study and professional development activities to meet your program, academic, and professional goals


Hall, E. (2013). Just enough research. New York: A Book Apart.

MacDonald, M. (2014). WordPress: The missing manual, 2nd edition. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.

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

Selber, S.A. (2004). Multiliteracies for a digital age. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP.

Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York: Penguin Press.

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 Editorial Guidelines: Throughout the term, you will engage with class readings and other professional development activities by writing blog posts. The aim of this project is to help you develop your capacity to communicate academic and professional learning to professional peers, as well as to determine sustainable and rewarding forms of online engagement. Early in the term, you will submit three posts, along with one target audience persona and a short reflection paper that describes the technical and editorial decisions that you’ve made thus far. The final assignment requires six blog posts (the original three are included in this number), written on a combination of self-selected and assigned topics, plus written editorial guidelines and at least two target audience personas.
  2. Discussion Leader Activities: Once during the term, you will collaboratively compose, with one or two classmates, a 2-3 page, single-spaced “Significant Statements” paper on the reading(s) for an upcoming class. Your team will also have the responsibility of leading the evening’s class discussion on your assigned reading.
  3. Description and Analysis of Technology Use in a Local Ecology: You will identify, in a specific ecology that you are a part of, a technology that is neglected, or abused, or potentially worth adopting but not yet in use. Using Nardi and O’Day’s ideas, you’ll conduct research and write a 1750-2000-word report that describes the ecology and the issue at hand, and then propose a course forward, one that will help you and the others in the ecology to determine how technologies and social practices together can best support human needs and objectives.