There are 4 sections, each section has A and B questions,
These sections are designed to get you engaged with the concepts from the readings, and for you to apply them to real-world examples. Read the prompts carefully, answer both A and B of each section. For each section there is a word limit of 500 words. This is to force you to express your argument in a clear and concise way. Also in order for your argument to be complete, make sure you think of counterarguments to your position – imagine you’re taking the other side, what would they say to your argument and how would you refute that claim.
1. Week 2: Throughout this course, we’ll have to ask the question of what exactly is the information society, and what features/characteristics define the information society. Respond to the prompt below. For this question I care most about how well you understand the concept and the justification for your position (500 words maximum, 25 points).
A) Defend a definition of information society, or make one up yourself, that you think best describes what characterizes the period we are going through – make sure you explain why the criteria you choose is indicative and important. Conversely, whatever your definition, it is important to consider whether places are not information societies and why (perhaps looking at the Graham, Hale, and Stevens reading).
B): Varnelis and Jenkins argue that there are several key characteristics that are features/outcomes in the new media environment, accessibility, aggregation, one-to-one to many-to-many, value at the edges, how it changes space, etc (see readings and week 2 slides). Choose one or two that you believe demonstrate how much we have moved toward an information society, explain those concepts clearly, and give examples where you see that being an important part of our society.
2. Week 2-4: History and Shape of Information Industries: Respond to the prompt below, using examples from Wu/Curran. You can answer the question from a variety of perspectives but a) make clear what your position is b) make sure your position is internally consistent. (500 words maximum, 25 points):
Prompt: Weeks 2-4 were about the shape of information industries, beginning with the open disruption of innovation, the Kronos effect and the ways that existing industries try to absorb/stunt/destroy these threatening technologies, how various actors attempt to monopolize, commercialize, and close these technologies by aligning with powerful regulatory actors, and some of the implications that has for the technology itself.
The origins of how media institutions and technology developed, grew, organized, and regulated in the case of radio/film/television/telephony is arguably similar, analogous to, and instructive to our current internet environment. In fact, some of the actors today evolved from historical players in those industries.
A) Make an argument for how the internet is similar/dissimilar in its development and evolution compared with those industries (Curran/Wu).
B) Based on the history and consequences of what happened (Wu), propose a policy solution that might lead to/prevent the same outcome for the internet. Using examples to illustrate your point is required, make sure to engage counterarguments.
3. Week 5: We spent week 5 discussing the role of participatory culture and what that means for our culture. Jenkins highlights several different ways we can think about participation – consumers becoming producers, lurkers being legitimate participants, participation as resistance, audiences as publics, remix culture. (500 words maximum, 25 points).
A) Choose a couple of those concepts, and explain what Jenkins means when he uses those concepts to describe changing ‘participation’ in the new media environment.
B) Choose an online community that you are familiar with, and analyze the ways that the community is changed, shaped, and formed by these different kinds of participation. I don’t need a thorough background/history of the community – you can assume I know about it – for this question I care most about how well you understand the concepts and how well you analyze the participation in your case
4. Week 6: We spent week 6 thinking about Lessig’s argument about how code creates the architecture of the internet but also constrains what people are able to do. (500 words maximum, 25 points).
A) Explain the four prongs of regulation, specifically comparing differences between physical space and internet space.
B) Pick an issue related to the internet that raises certain regulatory issues/puzzles that Lessig describes. Then, given that problem, propose and defend a regulatory solution, either through code, architecture, norms, laws, markets, or some combination thereof, to address that problem. I care primarily about your understanding of the issue and the principles, and then the defensibility of your proposed solution. Using examples to illustrate your point is required, make sure to engage counterarguments.