I’ve finished reviewing and editing all the conversation papers, and good work all around. As I mentioned in class, this was the first assignment graded on formal aspects (grammar, spelling, citations, etc.). Anyone who had a minimal number of errors (<5) got a no-edit Pass; you’re finished. If I asked you to do revisions, please make those and share them back to me by next week. But almost all the edits I noted were cosmetic; the thinking and writing was very impressive across the board. Well done, everybody.
I know this week’s reading is a lot of pages — when I assigned it, I understood that folks had read it as a “freshman book,” so it would really just be a re-read. I now understand that not to be the case, and I’ve had questions from a couple of students — so, my advice is to do the best you can and use the following advice if you find it helpful.
Part of what Neil Postman used to teach in media ecology seminar was how to “read” a book for ideas: strategies like a careful look at the first 50 pages, which often set up major themes, a focus on the beginnings and endings of chapters, and the closing sections where the author typically ties things together.
Due to the ongoing snow storm, the University has cancelled all classes after 5pm today. Please stay safe and use caution if traveling. The RWU alert page always has the latest information: https://www.rwu.edu/rwualert
This means that next week, we’ll be doubling up. We’ll finish the last half of “Amusing Ourselves To Death” and start on (and hopefully finish) “The Circle.” So, please bring paper copies of your reading logs for both books for our discussion.
And if anyone would like to volunteer to kick of the discussion of either book, you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
You will quickly learn that this course is not a ringing endorsement for social media—nor is it a stinging critique. It is a Media Ecology course using, as its theoretical foundation, the work of Neil Postman.
Media Ecology looks at media as environment. We also look at works that see both the bright and dark sides of technology. I believe you will find Postman’s writing engaging and eerily relevant to the issues of media and technology we face today. We are reading a little fiction, a little theory and a good dose of critique. It will prove interesting—especially for those of you well tethered to the social media landscape.