Syllabus, Fall 2022

Details about weekly topics and readings can be found in the dropdown links or the menu to the right. Below is an overview of the schedule.


Week 1: Internets That Weren’t

Aug 29             Lecture: England’s Victorian Internet, France’s Minitel, and the Soviet Internyet                         Discussion: How did you use the Internet today?  


Sept 5              NO CLASS, Labor Day
Sept 9              Assignment 1—Consumption: Your Futurist Internet
Sept 12            Reading: Driscoll, 1–28; Licklider and Taylor, “The Computer as a Communication Device”                         Lecture: The Culture of and around ARPANET, or How No Technology Is Neutral       
Discussion: Visions of the future internet                    

Week 3: Bulletin Board Systems

Sept 19             Reading: Driscoll, 29–89                        
Lecture: Afronet and the Digital Divide                        
Discussion: Minitel vs. BBSs
Sept 23             Assignment 2—Production: Bulletin Board Systems  

Week 4: Hacking

Sept 26             Reading: Driscoll, 90–131; “NSA Files: Decoded,” Guardian, November 1, 2013,                        
Lecture: Open Networks and the Walled Gardens                        
Discussion: Multimedia journalism as example for final project
Sept 30             Final project topic  

Week 5: World Wide Web

Oct 3                Reading: Noble, 1–63                        
Lecture: Hypermedia and the World Wide Web                        
Discussion: Minitel vs. WWW, Wikiracing
Oct 7                Assignment 3—Regulation: Walled Gardens  

Week 6: Navigation

Oct 10              Reading: Noble, 64–133                        
Lecture: Browsers, Portals, Search                        
Discussion: Micropayments vs. Advertising  

Week 7: Social Media

Oct 17              Reading: Driscoll, 132–200                        
Lecture: Friends, Feeds, and the Hidden Work of Content Moderation                       
Discussion: Algorithmic feeds
Oct 21              Assignment 4—Representation: Search Engine Analysis  

Week 8: Web Hosting

Oct 24              Reading: Reynolds and Hallinan, “Haunting of GeoCities”
                       Lecture: Personal Creation on the Web from GeoCities to WordPress  

Week 9: Streaming

Oct 31              Reading: Noble, 134–182                        
Lecture: From Jennycam to Zoom
Nov 4               Assignment 5—Identity: Archaeology of a GeoCities Site  

Week 10: Peer-to-Peer Networks

Nov 7               Reading: Walmsley, “Brandenburg’s Dream”; Cohen, “Incentives Build Robustness in Bittorrent”                        
Lecture: A History of File Sharing: Music and Piracy
Nov 11             Final project annotated bibliography

Week 11: Blockchain

Nov 14             Reading: Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,”; Iansiti and Lakhani, “The Truth about Blockchain,”                         Lecture: Peer-to-Peer Networks, from Pirated Music to Blockchain                         Discussion: Forensics of a blockchain heist  

Nov 21             NO CLASS, FALL RECESS  

Week 12: Final Presentations

Nov 28 Final presentations  

Week 13: Final Presentations

Dec 5 Final presentations

Dec 7 Final webpage due