Spring 2013

Ramapo College of New Jersey, School of Contemporary Arts

COMM 201-02, 4 Credits

Instructor: Najlah Feanny Hicks,

College Closing Number: 201 236-2902


The personal computer, the Web, and social media have caused profound changes in the way we communicate and create.  Digital Literacy asks students to consider their relationships to digital media as both producers and consumers.  This class will investigate multiple aspects of the digital world including mobile, interactive media, social networking, emerging digital cultures, digital aesthetics, and additional topics students introduce. We will examine issues around your networked life, learn and teach one another practical applications of various digital programs and publishing tools.

Readings provide frameworks for thinking about our relationships to technology and assignments inspire you to develop creative projects using digital tools. Students will examine the impact of social networking, learn how to publish and license creative work, and discuss the personal, cultural, and political significance of recent technological developments. Students will navigate and use sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, WordPress, Delicious and Google+.

Lectures, readings, and discussions will supplement project work, introducing the topics of authorship, networked culture, and the analysis of the use of technology in design and our everyday lives.


I do not hold office hours but I am happy to set up individual meetings via Skype, email or iChat.


Mandiberg, Michael, ed. The Social Media Reader. New York: NYU Press, 2012.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together. New York: Basic Books, 2011

Additional readings, videos, and links will be made available electronically via the course blog.

It is not necessary to purchase books as readings will be provided digitally.


In accordance with College policy, I will use your Ramapo College email address ( to communicate with you. You are expected to check your email regularly. I will do the same, and will make every effort to respond to emails within 24 hours. Please do not send large attachments without prior approval. In addition, you must sign up for a free account with, which we will use for blogging.    


Attendance, participation, Delicious bookmarking and blog postings: 35%

Creative and Technical Assignments 20%

Quizzes 20%

Final Project 25%


You are expected to attend each scheduled class meeting and to be on time. There are no ‘excused absences’ for this course. If you are sick or have a family emergency it counts as an absence. If you are going to be absent because of religious observance, you must notify me within the first three weeks of the semester, otherwise it will count as a regular absence. If you miss a class, you are still responsible for handing in the assignment and completing the readings. Late work will not be accepted. Refer to the course blog for the new assignments and communicate with your classmates. Absences and lateness WILL affect your grade. 3 occurrences of lateness= 1 absence. 2 absences= reduction of final grade by one full letter. 3 absences= automatic failure of the class.


You are expected to participate in all discussions and activities in a meaningful way. It is important that you read the assigned texts engage with the material. Be prepared to discuss it intelligently. You will be required to formulate questions on assigned readings and read other students’ blogs.

This course entails a number of in-class and out-of-class activities. Participation requires both preparation for each class meeting and an active involvement during each class. If I find class discussion and engagement lagging, you may find yourself encountering pop quizzes from time to time on readings and concepts central to each week’s work.

If you find yourself struggling at any point in the semester with the work or concepts, contact me as soon as possible so that I can help you early on!


Students are required to design and maintain a blog for this course. Do not use a blog that you use for personal use or for other classes. The blog will house your reflections, and responses to readings, class discussions, and virtual experiences. You will also organize vocabulary and concepts, pose questions, and respond to assignments.  Students will have rotating reading partners. Partners will read each other’s blogs and prepare responses to each other’s questions.


As part of your participation grade, you are required to surf the web often and ask that you share content you feel is relevant to the class. You will use Delicious, a social bookmarking service to tag and comments on sites. Your comments should include a brief description of what it is and why it is interesting or relevant. Links can be anything that relates to the themes of this course.


Mini assignments will be announced throughout the semester.


There will be at least two quizzes.


The final project will be an important part of your grade and your experience in the class. It should be related to the content of the course, but relevant to your own interests. Specific project options will be outlined in class.


This course will include a minimum of five hours of homework weekly.


Letter Number Description

A    95-100 Outstanding

A-  90-94 Very Strong.

B+ 87-89

B  84-86 Good.

B- 80-83 Better than average.

C+ 77-80

C  74-76 Meets requirements.

C- 70-73

D 67-69 Barely acceptable.

F 66 or below Failing. Does not meet minimum standards.


I may occasionally announce relevant events/exhibitions/performances, which you may attend for extra credit, demonstrating your attendance by writing a blog post on the event.


Please note: you must cite sources using proper MLA format (see Instances of suspected plagiarism will be reported to the provost for review.


Students are expected to read and understand Ramapo College’s Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found in the Ramapo College Catalog. The policy outlines four types of academic dishonesty including: cheating, plagiarism, academic misconduct, and fabrication. Members of the Ramapo College community are expected to be honest and forthright in their academic endeavors. Students who are suspected of violating this policy will be referred to the Office of the Provost.


In accordance with college policy, I will use your Ramapo College email address ( to communicate with you. You are expected to check your email regularly. I will do the same, and will make every effort to respond to emails within 24 hours. Please do not send large attachments without prior approval.


If you need course adaptation or accommodations because of a documented disability, please let me know at the beginning of the semester. Students must be registered with the Office of Specialized Services (OSS) to receive accommodations. OSS can be reached at or 201.684.7514.


The Center for Reading and Writing offers one-on-one, face-to-face consulting sessions in writing, reading, and study skills. They encourage all Ramapo students to visit, whether you want to improve your reading, learn strategies for strengthening your writing, or brush up on study skills. The Center also offers Student Workshops on a range of topics from writing the argument paper to critical reading and MLA, APA, and Chicago style guidelines. These 30-45 minute workshops are facilitated by Center staff, faculty and peer tutors. See the website for a list of upcoming workshops. The Center is located George T. Potter Library, room L-211.


The college experience is a time of personal growth and change; this can be both exhilarating and challenging. Sometimes, these challenges can be stressful and interfere with your academic, social, or emotional adjustment to college. If you think it could be helpful to talk to someone about what you are going through, the counseling center on campus provides safe, confidential services. It is located in Building D, room 216. Hours are Monday- Friday 8:30-4:30, and they also have evening hours by appointment. You can stop to make an appointment or call 201.684.7522. If it is an after-hours emergency, call public Safety at (201) 684-6666 and ask to speak to the on-call counselor. More information available at

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