evolving ecological media culture(s)



Note: I’ve changed this post title from “Glossary” to “Scrapbook.” Since we didn’t get to the online posting of glossary items in our Jan. 22 class, we can keep this page for posting miscellaneous items that don’t fit into weekly themes or that come well after those theme discussions have occurred. If they’re more appropriate elsewhere (such as links that can be added to our “Links” list on the right), I will add them there later.

The original post read as follows:

This post begins a process of building up a glossary of key terms for the course. For now, these will be developed in the comments section, with initial entries added by the in-class break-out groups responsible for them. Later we may transfer the glossary to another form (such as a wiki); or we might just decide there are better glossaries (or encyclopedia articles, etc.) online and we will link to them.

Individual entries can take the form of:

Term: One- or two-paragraph summary (including rival perspectives, if significant).


  1. Here’s the link we found with a breakdown of the 6 major corporations that control 90% of America’s media – wahoo!


  2. The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age” is a document drafted by several scholars, technologists, and entrepreneurs. It addresses issues that are (somewhat) central to this course. Have a glance at it when you get a chance. And at videogame programmer and philosopher Ian Bogost’s response to it. Let’s talk about it sometime.

    • I like the idea of such a Bill of Rights, but I don’t trust this. The writing has some flourishes familiar from Wired magazine-style techno-utopianism… “novel technologies that can catalyze learning are bubbling up in less time than it takes to read this sentence” and “this brave electronic world” jump out at me. I also think the statement that “artificial divisions of work, play and education cease to be relevant in the 21st century” attempts to naturalize some very constructed exploitation.

      I also find it disappointing that the statement in the Learner’s Bill of Rights about the ownership of student work – “Students also have the right to create and own intellectual property and data associated with their participation in online courses” – echoes the limited way that the terms for Facebook and other services are often discussed. That is, the issue of the user’s “ownership of content” is noted without considering how, in a digitally networked environment, the ownership of content is largely the right to assign (or negotiate) licenses to it.

      We’ve come to expect and (more-or-less accept) such licenses from commercial services but I expect something different in an educational environment.

      Using Coursera, for example, means giving the company “a fully transferable, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, sublicense, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display” your “user content.” The user content includes things like term papers, homework assignments, etc.

      Imagine if your brick-and-mortar university claimed a license like this on everything a student turned in for a class. More to the point, imagine that the company that owned the building in which the class was held claimed the license. If one of the universities involved with Coursera needed to lease some classrooms would you expect it to agree to let the building owner impose these conditions on their students?

      Of course, an online service needs some type of license to user content in order to operate. You can’t even have a simple threaded discussion if you’re not storing the comments on the server. But does the license really need to be “perpetual” and “fully transferable”? Wouldn’t a license that expires two weeks after the end of the course be sufficient? Or, to give the platform some breathing room, two years after the end of the course?

  3. http://vimeo.com/4208772
    A conversation with renowned philosopher, media activist and cultural agitator Franco Berardi (aka Bifo) and media theorist MacKenzie Wark, author of Game Theory and A Hacker’s Manifesto.

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoMam-oFOzY
    Manuel Castells: Communication power in the Network Societies

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