Course Description

This is the first core course in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy certificate program.  We will examine the economic, social, and intellectual history of technological change over time, as well as technology and digital media design and use. Our primary focus is on the mutual shaping of technology and academic pedagogy and academic research—how people and technologies have shaped academic classroom and research interactions in the past, and how they are reshaping the university in the present.  By examining the uses and design of technologies inside and outside of the academy, we are, of course, reflecting on what it means to be human in a world increasingly dominated and controlled by various technologies.

The course also explores the history and theory of digital media, including hypertext and multimedia, highlighting the theoretical and practical possibilities for research, reading, writing, teaching, presentation, interaction, and play.  We are particularly interested in the ITP program in the possibilities that new, nonlinear digital tools have opened up for teaching and research, including the emergence of the Digital Humanities as an academic field.

Course Requirements:

Students will write two formal papers: an interim essay focused on the readings in the Prologue and the first two parts of the course syllabus (due no later than midnight, 11/6/17) and a larger research paper linking selected readings with aspects of teaching and learning and/or research in one’s area of academic interest (due TBD). We will provide more complete information about the two papers during the semester. We will also assign several short, informal writing assignments, including one on Wikipedia, related to specific areas of concern and discussion in the course.

We will be using the CUNY Academic Commons extensively, particularly a course group site ( for routine communications (and where course readings in .pdf format will be posted in the “Files” section); and a course blog ( on which we will motivate and extend our class discussions about the readings and where we will all participate in posting additional readings and other materials relevant to the course and its content. Each student will be expected over the course of the semester to motivate several blog discussions focused on the readings and online materials. The idea of motivating a reading is to offer a “provocation” (in the form of a critical commentary) about that reading, not merely a summary of what the author said.

We plan to invite a number of ITP faculty members and other scholars and practitioners to join us as guests for particular class sessions this semester. As such, the assigned readings listed in the Preliminary Syllabus may be tweaked/changed prior to class sessions in response to specific requests from guest presenters.

NOTE:  Prior to our first class meeting on August 28th, everyone should watch the film Blade Runner (the 25th Anniversary “Final Cut” edition on DVD  from 2007 is the best version), which can be purchased on Amazon ( or streamed on Google Play, etc. We also will expect you to read the short Phillip K. Dick sci-fi novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, that inspired the film.

Books to Purchase:

All books are available in paperback and most for e-readers (Kindle, iPad, etc.).  If you do use Amazon, you are encouraged to purchase books via the tiny icon link to Amazon on the bottom right corner of the GC Mina Rees Library webpage (, which yields a 5 percent contribution from Amazon to the GC library for book and electronic resource purchases.

  • Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks, Yale Univ. Press, 2006.
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Any edition/version; there are PDFs online.
  • Michael Fabricant & Stephen Brier, Austerity Blues: Fighting for the Soul of Public Higher Education, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2016).
  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology and the Future of the Academy, NYU Press, 2011.
  • Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, orig. pub. 1970 (any edition).
  • James Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy?, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Franco Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for Literary History, Verso, 2007.

Books available by purchase or freely available online:

  • Matthew Gold, ed., Debates in the Digital Humanities, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2012. (available in an e-version at
  • Matthew Gold and Lauren Klein, eds., Debates in the Digital Humanities, Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2016. (available in an e-version at
  • Michael Mandiberg, ed., The Social Media Reader, NYU Press, 2012. (available on

Optional Supplementary Texts/Films  (to be used for the first paper only):

  • Alex Rivera. Sleep Dealer (2008 film).  Available for purchase or download on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.
  • Cory Doctorow, Little Brother. Available in a variety of formats under a Creative Commons license from —