Learning Outcomes

By the end of the semester, you will be able to do the following:

  • Contextualize Internet culture within the broader history of culture and technology
  • Design computational approaches to questions about arts and culture
  • Analyze an artifact of digital culture using evidence-based reasoning
  • Evaluate competing social, ethical, and philosophical questions surrounding technology and social media
  • Craft a responsible digital online presence

Reading and Other Course Materials

There is one book to purchase for DIG 101: William Gibson’s Neuromancer (available in the Davidson College bookstore).

In addition to Neuromancer, there will be various journal articles, book chapters, and online material to read throughout the semester. I urge you either to print out the material or to use a PDF application to take notes on the digital version of the material. You are required to bring the day’s reading to class with you.

We will also watch several videos, usually available on Netflix or YouTube.

Content Warning: Some material this semester may disturb you. We will encounter graphic violence, substance abuse, explicit language, sexual content, and references to hate speech and abuse. Research shows that emotionally challenging material can still be engaged in productive and intellectually rigorous ways, provided you are prepared with coping strategies that allow you to regulate your emotional response to that material. I am always willing to help you strategize appropriate approaches to our course material.


The required work for DIG 101 will take several forms

(1) This class places a premium on engagement. It is essential that everyone has carefully considered the day’s material, attends class, and participates. I also expect students to bring the day’s readings to class, well-marked up with notes and annotations. More than three absences will lower your engagement grade by a letter grade. More than six absences will result in a zero for your engagement grade. Engagement is worth 20% of the final grade.

(2) Each student will contribute to the class blog at least seven times during the semester. You’ll post on your own domain, but the blog posts will feed into our course site. Blogging is worth 20% of your final grade.

(3) The labs are short reports that apply the material we are learning about to new contexts. You’ll usually work in groups of 3 for the labs, though each student will submit their own individual report. The lab reports are collectively worth 20% of your final grade.

(4) The Snapchat Research Story uses Snapchat as the platform for sharing research. As most of you know, a Snapchat Story is a sequence of still images or short videos (no more than 10 seconds each) viewed as one video. In this case, your story will be an analysis of some artifact of digital culture. The Snapchat research project is worth 20% of your final grade.

(5) The final project is a comparative analysis of at least two aspects of digital culture using some of the digital tools we’ve explored during the semester. The project will be public, hosted on your own Davidson Domain. The final project is worth 20% of your final grade.

Inclusive Learning

I am committed to the principle of inclusive learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to inclusive learning.

Davidson College values the diversity of its community and is an equal access institution that admits otherwise qualified applicants without regard to disability. The college seeks to accommodate requests for accommodations related to disability that are determined to be reasonable and do not compromise the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact Beth Bleil, Director of Academic Access and Disability Resources, in the Center for Teaching and Learning by visiting her office in the E.H. Little Library, by emailing her at, or by calling 704-894-2129. It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period, however, requests can be made at any time in the semester. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive.

Academic Integrity

Students at Davidson College abide by an Honor Code. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else’s work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.

Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Classroom Courtesy

While this course embraces the digital world it also recognizes that digital tools and environments complicate personal interactions. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class often receive lower grades than those who don’t. Even more worrisome are studies that show laptop users distract students around them. I permit laptops and tablets in class, but only when used for classroom activities, such as note-taking or class readings. Occasionally I may ask students to turn off all digital devices.

Messaging or other cell phone use is unacceptable. Any student whose phone rings during class or who texts in class will be responsible for kicking off the next class day’s discussion.

Late arrivals or early departures from class are disruptive and should be avoided.