Professor Mark Sample
Office Hours: 1:30-2:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and by appointment
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
- Critique 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: M.T. Anderson’s Feed (available in the Davidson College bookstore).
In addition to Feed, 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. Engagement refers to your involvement in the course, both in and outside of the classroom. Factors include preparation, participation, focus, use of office hours, and so on. 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 for reasons not recognized by Davidson 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) Roughly every other week a small group of students will lead the rest of the class through a role-playing case study focused on some slice of digital culture. The group will prepare a scenario inspired by a real life example and assign roles for students. In addition to putting together the case study as a group, each individual in the group will write their own analysis of the case study and how it played out in class. The precise topic of a group’s case study is up to that group, although the case study should resonate with the broader topic of that week or section of the course. Possible topics include trolling, commercial content moderation, privacy, machine learning, algorithms and so on. Your case study is worth 20% of your final grade.
(4) The Life Online Project asks you to document and analyze what life online is like in 2018, from your own perspective or even a perspective that is not your own. This is an open-ended project that may be completed individually or in groups. In either case, two key principles of this project are that it must be public and that it mostly take place offline. Examples of such work includes zines, pop-up galleries on campus, performances, or installations. The Life Online Project is worth 20% of your final grade.
(5) The final interview is a one-on-one conversation between each student and me toward the end of the semester. During this meeting you’ll try to synthesize what you’ve learned. Together, we will evaluate your overall work for the class. The final interview is worth 20% of your final grade.
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.
The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library: Beth Bleil, Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 704-894-2129; or Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director, email@example.com, 704-894-2939. 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.
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.
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.