<SPC 260 Introduction to New Media>

Spring 2016. MW  4:00-5:50 p.m.  Carnegie Rm. 113.

Instructor: Dr. Steve Macek              Office Hours:     MW 12-2 p.m., TH

                                                                10-12 noon and by appointment.

Campus Phone: 630-637-5369                     

E-mail: shmacek@noctrl.edu                       

Webpage: http://shmacek.faculty.noctrl.edu

Office: Pfeiffer Hall, Room 38


<Course Description>

For the past fifteen years or so, we have been living through a revolution in communication, a revolution driven by the spread of cheap personal computers and the digitization of all previous forms of media.  In the late 1980s it was estimated that only 10 percent of the nation’s population had ever gone on online. Today, more than 80 percent of U.S. citizens have Internet access.  In 1993, the World Wide Web boasted only 130 web sites; by 2013, the number of sites on the web had grown to more than 700 million. By 2001, AOL’s instant messaging software was carrying more than 800 million messages a day (more than the volume of mail carried daily by the entire U.S. Postal service). Millions of people pour out their souls and their minds on personal “blogs” and on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook every day and millions more read their ramblings.  Listening to music and radio, playing games and watching TV/movies/video via the web has become increasingly popular, so much so that existing media content providers are having to adapt their businesses to the new medium despite not yet knowing how to profit from it. Virtually every aspect of life in the advanced industrialized world—education, scientific research, healthcare, commerce, entertainment, sports, politics, social movements, personal relationships—has been altered by the growing popularity of the Internet.  

This course offers you a critical introduction to this emerging “wired” or “cyber” culture and to the technologies and economic and political infrastructure that make it possible. In this class, you’ll learn about the historical development of the Internet and other forms of new media and examine the repercussions of the digital revolution for our communities, our identities, our politics, and our daily lives. You’ll also learn how to create a web page and how to blog. Through a variety of online and offline projects, you will not only develop a critical, sociologically and historically informed perspective on the digital communication revolution and the Internet, but you’ll also develop some of the skills you’ll need to be an active participant in the new media culture.

Danah Boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens Yale University Press, 2014.

Howard Jenkins. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide NYU Press, 2008

In addition, you’ll be expected to read a number of online articles and reports the links for which can be found on the webpage for this course at:



Course Essentials

My Contact Information

E-mail: shmacek(at) noctrl.edu
Office: Pfieffer, Rm. 38