Monday, September 3, 2012


Convergence Culture Fall 2012
Tuesdays + Thursdays 10:00 - 11:20pm Hill Hall 101
Department of Arts, Culture and Media – Rutgers University
Professor Doris Caçoilo
Office hours by appointment in Bradley Hall 316
doris   (^at^)
In this course students will be introduced to key issues and theoretical approaches in the study of media. The course begins with an examination of the socio-cultural conditions in which media technologies have evolved as means of cultural production and moves to explore the contemporary development of “digital convergence.” Students will read across various fields to interpret and critique media examples and theories of mass media.

Students will be able to critically examine the impact of media on past and contemporary societies. Students will develop the ability to create thoughtful and engaging projects and writing assignments. In addition to a rigorous reading schedule, students are required to write various projects for the class blog and sustain continued research and writing throughout the course.

Students are expected to use theory, criticism and philosophy to understand contemporary media. Feedback from classmates is a valuable resource for the improvement of student writing and work. Critiques and discussions allow us to share our projects and analysis of the readings with others and express our intentions and interpretations. Class participation is essential and mandatory.

Class sessions will be divided into presentations and class discussion of the readings. Presentations will address both theoretical and analytical issues related media literacy, history of mass communication and digital convergence. Students are responsible to be prepared for class, read all assignments on time and post all writing and projects to the blog, paying attention to technical and aesthetic presentation as well as thoughtful and well-developed content.


Mass Media in a Changing World (Editions 1 or 2 are ok), by George Rodman, McGraw-Hill, 2005-2010.
Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, by Henry Jenkins, NYU Press, New York: 2008.

READINGS Various weekly reading assignments will be assigned from the required texts, linked on the blog and posted on Blackboard. The reading schedule will be distributed on the blog. Readings are due each week. All readings are REQUIRED unless otherwise stated.

BLOG You must consult the class blog daily to check for announcements, readings and to post your assignments. The blog is crucial to the course and completion of the requirements. You MUST have access to the blog to complete assignments, readings, post work and comment on students’ posts.

Four writing assignments published to the blog as well as two short exams and a semester project will be developed during the semester. Students must also complete all readings and participate in class discussions. Students must complete all assignments thoroughly and on time.

Attendance is required. Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class, and will be considered when determining the final course grade. More than four (4) absences will result in an 'F' (failure) for the class. No exceptions. Class begins on time, so you must be punctual. Lateness, leaving early or leaving class unexcused for an extended period of time will also be recorded. Two of these instances will count as one absence.

You are required to make up any and all work that is missed if you are absent. Notify the professor if you will be absent. As work will not be accepted late, please contact the professor to hand in work on time!

All assignments must be finished and handed in on time to receive a passing grade for this course.

20% 4 blog posts
40% 2 in-class exams
20% semester project
10% group presentation
10% attendance/participation (Contributions to class discussion, on the class blog + attendance)

NOTE: BACK-UP your work frequently, even as you are working on the projects. Write and edit your posts locally before uploading them to the web. No excuses!

Statement on Originality of the Work
All work completed for this course must be completed by the student enrolled in the course. All work for this course must be made in this course and not fulfilling the requirements of another prior or current course unless pre-approved by the instructor. Plagiarism is a very serious academic offense that will result in penalties ranging from reduction of class grade to failure in the course. Plagiarism occurs when the ideas, images, and words, published or unpublished, of others are presented as one's own without citing the original source. Plagiarism also occurs when the papers, research, or creative works of another person are presented as one's own work.

 ALL READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE SPECIFIED IN CLASS AND ON THE CLASS BLOG EACH WEEK. If you ever have questions or concerns about the schedule, due dates, changes or anything else please e-mail me doris (-@-)

Readings from required texts are found below. Additional readings for each class will be found on the blog. It is the student’s responsibility to check the blog for additional readings.

Week 1:            9/4 T - Introduction and discussion. Set up students on the class blog.
                        9/6 Th – What is Convergence? – The Big Picture Readings Due: Jenkins, Introduction to Convergence Culture pgs.1-24 and check the blog for Blackboard readings.

Week 2:      9/11 T – The Big Picture – Game Changer Understanding Mass Media in a Changing World. Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 1, Debord, The Commodity as Spectacle on Blackboard and check the blog for additional readings.

                        9/13 Th – The Big Picture Discussion session. Readings Due: review Jenkin’s Introduction, Rodman, Chapter 1, and check the blog for additional readings.

Week 3:     9/18 T – Publishing and Mass Amateurization Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 3 and Clay Shirky, Everyone is a Media Outlet on Blackboard
                        POST 1 Due - Group 1 presents

                        9/20 Th – Publishing - User Generated Content Discussion session. Readings Due: Jenkins, Why Heather Can Write pg.175-216 and check the blog for additional readings.

Week 4:     9/25 T – Journalism – New News is Old News Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 4 and check the blog for additional readings.
                        Group 2 presents

9/27 Th – Journalism – Publish, then Filter Discussion session. Readings Due: Clay Shirky, Publish, Then Filter on Blackboard and check the blog for additional readings.
                        Post 2 Due

Week 5:     10/2 T –The Internet – Here Comes Everybody Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 10 and check the blog for additional readings.
                        Group 3 presents

                        10/4 Th – The Crowd – Collective Intelligence Discussion session. Readings Due: Jenkins, Spoiling Survivor pg. 25-58 and check the blog for additional readings.
Week 6:     10/9 T – News in a Digital Age Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 11 and check the blog for additional readings.
                        Group 4 presents

10/11 Th –Media Support Industry-Advertising Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 13 and check the blog for additional readings.
Proposal Due for Semester Project

Week 7:            10/16 T – Discussion session/review
                        10/18 Th - EXAM 1

Week 8:     10/23 T - Social Media and Identity Discussion session. Readings Due: check the blog for readings due.         
                        Group 5 presents

10/25 Th – Social Media and Identity Discussion session. Readings Due: Sherry Turkle, Alone Together on Blackboard and check the blog for readings due.

Week 9:     10/30 T  CANCELLED
11/1 Th –  CANCELLED

Week 10:     11/6 T – Movies/Transmedia Storytelling Discussion session. Readings Due: Rodman, Chapter 6 and Jenkins, Searching for the Origami Unicorn pg.95-134 and check the blog for additional readings.

                    11/8 Th – Games - Transmedia and Collective Intelligence
                   Reading: Jane McGonigal - Why I Love Bees: A Case Study in Collective Intelligence Gaming -
                  Group 6 presents
                  Draft Bibliography/Resource List due for Semester Project

Week 11:     11/13 T – Games for change - Transmedia Activism Discussion session. Readings Due. Johnson, The Sleeper Curve on Blackboard and check the blog for additional readings.
                    Post 3 Due

11/15 Th – 
 Group 7 presents

Week 11:     11/20 T – Politics of Participation - Politics and Popular Culture
 Discussion session. Readings Due:  Jenkins, Conclusion pg. 251- 270 AND Jenkins, Photoshop for Democracy pg.217-250 Suggested READING: Rodman, Chapter 9 
Group 8 presents
                    11/22 Th- NO CLASS  Thanksgiving Break 

Week 12:     11/27 T- Future of Convergence Discussion session. NO READINGS due – work on your semester projects.
11/29 Th- Future of Convergence (con’t)
Visit from Hashem Bajwa (  - @hash)
NO READINGS due – work on your semester projects. Post 4 Due (edit until 12/4)

Week 13:            12/4 – SEMESTER PROJECT PRESENTATIONS – all projects posted to the blog
                        12/6 – SEMESTER PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

Week 14:            12/11 T - Review for Exam  
                        12/13 Th - READING DAY

FINAL:            12/20 Th - EXAM 2  (8:30 – 11:30am  *to be confirmed)
*Two quizzes
Students must be prepared for two quizzes of class readings and discussions (short answer, slide identifications and essays.)

*Posts 1-4.
Students must develop researched responses to readings and discussions in class. Each post will be specific to the topics covered in class at that time and will be explained during class. Students are responsible to write and edit these posts as well as illustrate them and successfully post them to the blog for discussion and critique in class.

*Group presentation
Create a presentation that illustrates the readings for that day. You can choose to focus on one particular theme, reading or theory or give a general overview of themes covered. Presentations should be organized, clear and engaging and should include a visual component in addition to an exciting interactive presentation. All students in the group must participate. These should be 7-10 minutes. The presentations should spur discussion within the classroom. Presentations should end with a question or questions posed to the class. MAKE IT AWESOME! Presentation summaries must be posted to the blog. Every student will present once throughout the semester.

*Semester Project
Based on the discussions and projects presented in class and on the blog, please create a short piece of media which focuses on a social (or political) issue and reframe the issue to specifically address the role of media, technology, audience, owners and media makers. Choose one of the following formats for your project. These will be published to the class blog.

1.     Essay with embedded images.
2.     Video- music, documentary, performance
3.     Researched article or extensive slideshow with captions or narration (think NYTimes)
4.     Magazine/Zine
5.     Interactive Web Project/Site

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