A Matter of Course: Emerging Media
April 14, 2014
A Matter of Course offers a snapshot of a current University class.
The Emerging Media course, taught by Sara Magee, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication, examines the social, political, economic, and cultural impact media in its various forms is having on the way we share and receive news and the world today.
What is the focus of the class?
“We examine various aspects of emerging media, from its effects on social, political, and economic issues to its impact on our culture,” Magee says. “The class focuses on how existing and emerging social media is changing or influencing different elements of basic society.”
Does the term “Emerging Media” mean social media?
“It’s social media, it’s new technology, it’s mobile—it’s pretty much anything technology-wise that is changing how we think about the way we do our jobs,” explains Magee.
“It’s heavily social-media based, it includes all communication technology, such as the Internet, mobile technology, and mobile broadband.”
How does this online class work?
“The online class makes it easier for people to complete their work wherever they are. We’re open to everybody interested in understanding this often complicated world of emerging media, but we are really focusing on professionals who want to see how emerging media is affecting and can improve the jobs they’re doing,” Magee says.
“Each module in the class is two to three weeks long. Students are assigned a series of readings followed by related activities and assignments—be they discussion boards or Voice Thread (a program that allows students to interact with other students via voice, video, or text). They can really do the work whenever they want, as long as it’s done by the deadline.”
What are students reading for the class?
“There are five different modules, each based on the title of the class: social, political, economic, cultural, and some of the digital divide. There’s no set book for my class; some classes in the program use books, but I really try to pull from what’s happening now. What are we talking about? What’s going on with media and mobile technology, and how is it affecting politics or the economy? How is it doing in global, national, and local levels? How is social media affecting the way we think about our culture, our society, and our communities?” Magee says.
“For example, students read a story about people in Africa who have Internet capacity and cellphones, but have no clean water. They then discussed how emerging media is good or bad in this situation, and what the impact of it is on that culture.
“The idea is to offer a series of readings, some videos, and some other materials for them to engage with, and then use online discussion boards to participate in thoughtful dialogue about the respective subject.”
How are students using social media?
Magee requires her students to post to the official EmergingMedia360.com blog, and at least once a week they tweet about emerging media or something that interests them.
They also have to follow people who have influence and/or are doing interesting things with social media. Students look at everything from Lady Gaga to Mashable.com.
Magee’s goal is for graduate students to examine what is going on with emerging media in the world around them—and discover ways that will help them better do their current jobs or enhance their careers.
What will students learn from this class?
“I really hope they’ll get a better understanding of the fact that emerging media is the future,” says Magee.
“I firmly believe that newspapers aren’t going away. They’re going online, changing formats. Television and news are not going away. They just have to become more multimedia-oriented. I would like students to have a sense of what’s out there, how it’s being used, and what its impact is.”