Digital Culture Syllabus

Digital Culture

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

  • Explore aspects of digital and internet culture through various analytical lenses
  • Investigate diverse perspectives on digital and internet culture phenomena through writing and visual media
  • Facilitate group discussions of relevant readings
  • Experiment with different digital media for expressing interpretive positions
  • Build digital literacy skills by creating web-based forms of interpretive expression
  • Build analytical skills by providing feedback on peer-produced work


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


  • Discussions: 10%
  • Reading Journal: 15%
  • Group-Facilitated Discussion: 5%
  • Deep Dive Essays: 20%
  • Videos: 15%
  • Research Project: 35%

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 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. Your group will use the collaborative messaging tool, Slack to coordinate your work.

Deep Dive Essays

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


As a complement to your Deep Dive essays, you will create two videos regarding an aspect of internet or digital culture. The first video will be collaborative in which you will 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 kind of mini ethnography where you analyze the patterns of communication and knowledge sharing that occurs within that community space. As noted above, see Blackboard for the specific details on this project.

Late Work Policy

I will accept late work; however, it will be reduced by one full letter grade for each day it is late.