Blog post 12: Government surveillance

Three articles are assigned for the week. Read all articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares. The West and Meyer articles are linked on the Course Schedule.

Content of the post: After reading the articles (and making notes, as always), you will choose two (2) specific points from West’s article about Edward Snowden’s “lessons.” The points are numbered 1–17 in the article, so specify by number the point you are addressing, and avoid excessive quoting.

You must then discuss the relevant arguments in Richards (2013) for EACH of your two points from the Snowden article.

Alternatively, you may choose one (1) point from West’s article and also Meyer’s article (the entire article), and then discuss the relevant arguments in Richards (2013) for EACH of those.

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Blog post 11: Crowdsourcing

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares/online.

After reading the two articles, search online and find a recent case of crowdsourcing. NOTE: NOT crowdfunding. (“Recent” means: published in 2014 or after.) The case can be described in an article (news or journal) or a report, or the case might have its own website. (If it is in a journal article, link to the abstract that everyone can see.) Try to find a case that is interesting to YOU. I hope students will not write about the same cases. Continue reading

Blog post 10: Implications of the mobile Internet

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

One article describes a qualitative study conducted in Sri Lanka. The other article discusses a tribal group, the Maasai, in Tanzania, based on a study using mixed methods. First, make some notes about what each article focuses on when discussing how the people in that article use the mobile Internet and mobile apps. Make two lists — one for each article. Read closely and make a clear and accurate assessment.

Do not read other students’ blog posts before you write your own. Students make mistakes. Trust your own powers of reasoning. Continue reading

Blog post 9: Remix culture

This week’s “reading” is the video documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto (1 hour 28 minutes) AND a 10-minute TED Talk video. The links are on the Course Schedule page. Watch both videos and make notes before you begin doing the activity.

This week you are going to make a video. I encourage you to use the grammar and principles of remixing as much as you like.

Please be very careful NOT to use TOO MUCH of someone else’s work. I say this not only because of copyright concerns but also because my motivation is to see you think for yourself. If you are going to “quote” (copy) a big portion of someone else’s work, you are wasting everybody’s time (we could just go to the original — why do we need you to quote for us?). I want to see YOUR ideas and YOUR creativity. Do not use 5 photos from one source — use ONE. Do not use more than 30 seconds from one video — better to use 5 or 10 seconds. Continue reading

Blog post 8: Digital outlaws

This week’s articles are difficult. I will not apologize for that. You signed up for graduate school, after all! You are supposed to struggle with new ideas that are challenging to understand. Through such struggles, we learn. These articles present such ideas.

Ideas in these two articles sit at the core of changes occurring in democratic societies — which are, of course, bound up with the market economy, which is bound up with digital technologies.

Read both articles thoroughly. I expect you to look up and research ideas you are not familiar with — for example, historical materialism and technological determinism. You can’t really understand Söderberg’s article if you don’t know what those terms mean. So research them! Continue reading

Blog post 7: Foreign policy and the Internet

Two articles are assigned this week. Read both articles. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

After reading the two articles (and making notes, as always), your task is to find an opinion column or editorial (Op-Ed) or analysis at a news website that you can use as a case for your discussion of the two articles. For example, a case might concern the U.S. reaction to censorship of free speech on the Internet in another country. (That is just one example. Your case does NOT need to include censorship.)

Both of the assigned articles discuss U.S. foreign policy and the Internet. Each article is really about a distinct aspect of U.S. policy regarding use of the Internet and other nations. You need to read both articles carefully before you will understand this distinction. Make sure you can state clearly — in one or two sentences — what each assigned article is really about, in a way that makes obvious the difference between them. Continue reading

Blog post 6: Viral online media

Three articles are assigned this week. One is very short and NOT academic! It comes fromBuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti — so read it. Find all of the articles in the Course Schedule and the two journal articles on Ares.

Step 1. Read all three assigned articles (and make notes, as always).

Step 2. Find a case in which a media item “went viral” online. It can be any kind of media (video or any other). It can be commercial, advertising, news, p.r., or personal. Some things (often videos) go viral by accident. Other cases might be part of a deliberate campaign. However — NOT ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE. We all know that one. Also, NOT KONY 2012. That is also very well known. Continue reading

Blog post 5: Algorithms and their consequences

Two articles are assigned this week. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

Content of the post: There are three parts. Complete all three in your post.

Part 1: How would you explain algorithms to a young child, around 8 years old, so that she could understand them? Do not quote or copy any definitions from anywhere. Use your own words and write out this explanation. Continue reading

Blog post 4: Privacy in a digital world

Two articles and one video are assigned this week. Find them in the Course Schedule and on Ares.

After reading the two articles and watching the complete video (and making notes, as always), your task is to apply what you read to the privacy policy of a website or web service that you have used more than once. This might be any kind of social media site — it might also be a shopping site or another kind of online service.

This assignment will probably be more meaningful if you select a site or service that you really like or depend on. In other words, investigate a privacy policy that really, truly applies to YOU, yourself! Continue reading