NMS 501: Proseminar in New Media Studies (Autumn 2015)

Course Description

The Proseminar in New Media Studies is an introduction to the field of New Media Studies (NMS), 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 to identify how these perspectives can inform your own new media practices. We will focus our inquiry on a series of key questions, each of which asks how we might productively and ethically use new media technologies in the so-called ‘digital age.’ As a gateway into the NMS program, NMS 501 will also help you to articulate your area(s) of interest and professional development goals, and to determine how to pursue these during your time at DePaul.

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

  • Describe key concepts, theories, and disciplinary conversations in the study of new media
  • Compare ethical positions in the development and use of new media technologies
  • Articulate your particular area of interest in the field of new media studies
  • Produce strategically conceived online content that contributes to your online persona as a new media professional
  • Collaborate on writing and new media projects



boyd, d. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale UP.

Jones, R.H. & Hafner, C.A. (2012). Understanding digital literacies: A practical introduction. New York: Routledge.

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.

Chapters & Articles

Eggers, D. (2013, September 13). We like you so much and want to know you better. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/magazine/dave-eggers-fiction.html?pagewanted=all

Halvorson, K. & Rach, M. (2012). People. In Content strategy for the web (2nd ed.) (pp. 128-157). Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Johnson-Eilola, J., & Selber, S. A. (2007). Plagiarism, originality, assemblage. Computers and Composition, 24(4), 375-403.

Johnson, S. (2015, August 19). The creative apocalypse that wasn’t. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/23/magazine/the-creative-apocalypse-that-wasnt.html

Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and Composition, 22(1), 5-22.

Marantz, A. (2014, January 5). The virologist: How a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes. New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/05/virologist

Malaga, R. A. (2010). Search engine optimization—black and white hat approaches. Advances in Computers, 78, 1-39.

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.

Ridolfo, J. & DeVoss, D.N. (2009). Composing for recomposition: Rhetorical velocity and delivery. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy 13.2. Retrieved from http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/13.2/topoi/ridolfo_devoss/velocity.html

Ross, A. (2013). In search of the lost paycheck. In T. Scholz (Ed.), Digital labor: The Internet as playground and factory (pp. 13-32). New York: Taylor and Francis.

Shirky, C. (2010). Means. In Cognitive surplus: Creativity and generosity in a connected age (pp. 31-64). New York: Penguin Press.

Tuten, T.L. & Solomon, M.R. The horizontal revolution. In Social media marketing (2nd ed.) (pp. 3-42). Thousand Oaks: Sage.


  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. At the end of the term, you will submit a WordPress blog or portfolio site, which consists of at least six blog posts, written on a combination of self-selected and assigned topics, plus written editorial guidelines and at least two target-audience personas.
  2. Academic Paper: Early in the term, you will complete a 5-6 page academic paper that pursues a question or makes an argument about what Turkle, boyd, and van Dijck collectively teach us about the perils and possibilities of networked new media. The paper will be an opportunity for you to practice making academic claims and to learn—or refresh your knowledge of—the conventions of working with scholarly sources.
  3. Discussion Leader Activities: Once during the term, you and a team of 2-3 other students will be responsible for synthesizing the week’s readings for your classmates and providing us with a set of questions to guide our in-class discussion, which your team will lead. Deliverables include a D2L post of “Key Concepts, Key Claims, and Prompting Questions and Activities,” as well as an after-discussion D2L post that lists the key debates and unanswered questions from the class discussion.
  4. Term Inquiry Project: Over the term, you will explore a topic that you find personally or professionally interesting, partnering with a classmate and together conducting research around a “key question” of mutual interest. Examples include, “How do you participate in politics in the digital age?” “How do you make a living off of art in the digital age?” “How can you practice mindfulness in the digital age?” “How do you become a sports journalist in the digital age?” Your final deliverables will be a co-authored annotated list of key sources/experts on your topic, a collaboratively delivered presentation to the class, and an independently written synthesis paper.