Syllabus: Digital Culture

Instructor:Phil Tietjen, Ph.D.

Course Description

The wide array of digital tools and social networks have enabled the creation and dissemination of information to happen at an exponential pace. Yet as these tools and networks become increasingly pervasive and embedded parts of our lives, it’s easy to overlook their impact on us, as well as our families, friends and civic institutions. In this class, we set aside time to explore how various digital technologies impact and shape these different parts of our lives. More specifically, we examine how digital technologies have shaped and changed our conceptions of community, political participation, privacy, economic activity, journalism and entertainment. We'll engage these topics and questions through readings, class discussions and various project-oriented assignments.

Course Objectives


Chayko, M. (2018). Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media, and Techno-Social Life (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.



Discussions of course readings will take place primarily through Blackboard. See Blackboard for specific details.

Reading Journal

As a way to explore your interpretations of the course reading and build analytical insights, you will maintain a regular, weekly journal. Each week, I will post one or more questions for you to respond to as the basis for developing your weekly journal entry.

Group-Facilitated Discussion

At least once during the term, you will collaborate with other students and facilitate a discussion of a topic of related to digital and/or internet culture. This will generally involve finding a couple of readings for the class to read and then developing a set of open-ended questions designed to generate a thoughtful, meaningful discussion of those readings. Groups will use the collaborative messaging tool, Slack to coordinate work (see BB>Web Links).

Deep Dive Essays

You will write two Deep Dive essays. For each essay, you will select an issue related to digital/internet culture discussed in our readings and explore it more in depth. More details will be provided in Blackboard.


As a complement to your Deep Dive essays, you will create two videos regarding digital/internet culture. The first video will be collaborative in which you work with an assigned partner or team and the second will be individual.

Research Project

The research project will involve you finding an online community of interest (e.g., photography, fitness, movies) and conducting a study of it. In general, this will function as a type of mini ethnography where you analyze the patterns of communication and knowledge sharing that occurs within that community space. See Blackboard for further details.

Late Work Policy

I accept late work, however, it's reduced by half a letter grade for each day it is late.