Course Description: Examines the history–and the future–of publishing to reveal how technological innovation has consistently and dramatically transformed the nature of human communication. The course develops historical knowledge of communicative technologies, surveying a sequence of disruptive changes: from ancient innovations (e.g. the alphabet, the book), through modernity’s revolutions (e.g. moveable type, the steam press, radio, film, television) to the most recent sites of textual upheaval (e.g. the internet, the smart phone). Students apply this historical knowledge to deepen their understanding of the ways such innovations have shaped—and still shape–our understanding of texts (both classic and contemporary) and the human beings that write, read, and interpret them.   To supplement this historical perspective, students get hands-on experience with textual technologies new and old such as bookbinding, letterpress printing, data analysis, and/or 3D printing.

Instructional Methods Used in this Course: This course will be grounded in hands-on activities, guest lectures, and group work.

Required and Recommended Texts, Manuals, and Supplies: All students must have login and check our class website everyday. All readings will be posted on the syllabus.


McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. The Medium Is the Massage. 9th edition. Gingko Press, 2001. Print. ISBN-10: 1584230703

Optional: Baron, Dennis. A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution. 1 edition. Oxford University Press, 2012. Print. ISBN-10: 0199914001


Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  1. Solve a loosely controlled research problem by synthesizing knowledge of publishing history in order to contextualize new media within a historical framework;
  2. Apply rhetorical theory to evaluate the distinctive strengths specific to a range of textual technologies both historical and modern, such as the codex, folio, print books, web publishing platforms, electronic literature, virtual reality, and 3D printing models;
  3. Compose academic texts that analyze the thematic and material interplay between literary works and contemporaneous technological innovation;
  4. Create a public digital humanities research project that patterns its use of digital space after exemplary works of professional digital publishing;
  5. Produce a compelling message that is appropriate to the study of digital humanities with highly credible supporting material and delivery techniques;
  6. Identify parallels between literary studies and diverse fields such as information science, computer science, communications, and media studies; and
  7. Negotiate the rapidly evolving, technical and rhetorical values of the Digital Humanities.

To determine if this course fulfills additional program or track outcomes, please see the department chair or program coordinator.


Grading Scale:

A 93-100 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 60-66 1.0
F 1-59 0.0

Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in courses that are used to fulfill the SEE requirement and major requirements.

Continuance and Progression Policies, if applicable (refers to any policy that dictates that a student must achieve a particular grade in the course to move on to the next course or to continue in the major, etc. For example, you must receive a C or better in a class taken to fulfill a SEE requirement.) Please discuss program requirements and standards with the Program Coordinator, Department Chair, or Dean.

Course Requirements:

  • Timeline Project 20%
  • Blog Posts 15%
  • Event Reflections 15%
  • Final Project 30%
  • Participation 20%

Policies: You must arrive to class on time and avoid leaving early unless there are serious extenuating circumstances. Please contact me if you will be absent and find a classmate to share their notes with you. Late journal entries and blog posts will not be accepted under any circumstances. However, extensions for essays and digital projects will be considered on an individual basis. Please come see me for help – I welcome you to visit my office hours to speak with you anytime!

Classroom and Studio Policies: The use of cell phones and headphones is prohibited unless explicitly stated in class. Remove your headphones before entering the room and put your phone on silent. You will be using a computer in class regularly. You are welcome to bring your own laptop. You are not to use this time to check social media, sports scores, gossip blogs, or anything other than our course work. Please respect our time together and use the computers to complete your assignments to the best of your ability…you are paying to be in this class and learn after all…

Submission of Assignments or Projects: All assignments will be submitted online on our course blog. A tag and category will be provided and must be used to receive credit for your work. All citations should be in MLA format. Please use OWL at Purdue for guidance in formatting your citations.


Each student is responsible for his or her own class attendance and regular attendance is expected. Every student is responsible for the material covered or the skills exercised during scheduled classes. Grades will be based on demonstrated achievement of the objectives of the course, not on attendance in class as such. Students who stop attending and fail to officially withdraw from a class will be given a grade of “FX” which calculates as an “F” in the GPA.

Course-Specific Attendance

Attendance and participation are essential to learning. You are expected to come to every class session and participate in our discussions. Every class you will complete a journal entry that will count toward your participation grade and help you formulate your thoughts to contribute to our group discussion. I will record your participation every day and add this to your cumulative total grade.


Diversity Statement

Stevenson University commits itself to diversity as it relates to awareness, education, respect, and practice at every level of the organization. The University embraces people of all backgrounds, defined by, but not limited to, ethnicity, culture, race, gender, class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, physical ability, learning styles, and political perspectives. The University believes its core values are strengthened when all of its members have voice and representation. The resulting inclusive organizational climate promotes the development of broad-minded members of the University who positively influence their local and global communities.

Standards of Academic Integrity

Stevenson University expects all members of its community to behave with integrity. Honesty and integrity provide the clearest path to knowledge, understanding, and truth – the highest goals of an academic institution. For students, integrity is fundamental to the development of intellect, character, and the personal and professional ethics that will govern their lives and shape their careers. Stevenson University embraces and operates in a manner consistent with the definitions and principles of Academic Integrity as set forth by the International Center for Academic Integrity.

Students are expected to model the values of academic integrity (honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage) in all aspects of this course. Students will be asked to assent to and to uphold the University Honor Pledge:

I pledge on my honor that I have neither given nor received

unauthorized assistance on this assignment/exam.”

Suspected violations of the Academic Integrity Policy will be reported and investigated as outlined in the Policy Manual, Volume V.

If you are unsure what counts as plagiarism – for instance if you cut and paste part of a paper, buy an essay online, have someone help you write your paper, or borrow a paper from someone else – this STILL counts as plagiarism. Come ask me, or a tutor, or a librarian for help!!!


Disability Services
The Office of Disability Services (ODS) facilitates equal access for every student who self-identifies as having a disability. If you are a student with a disability who needs accommodations in this class, please contact the Director of Disability Services at ODS@stevenson.edu. Once accommodations are authorized by ODS, please provide me (your instructor) with your approved accommodations memo as soon as possible. Accommodations are not retroactive. This is the link to the University’s Disability Support Services: http://www.stevenson.edu/academics/academic-resources/disability-support-services/

Academic Link
The Academic Link,
located on Owings Mills in the Center for Student Success (GHS 101) and on Greenspring in Knott Hall (KH201), provides free tutoring for many classes. If you are having difficulty with or would benefit from discussing the material with an upper level peer, seek assistance early in the semester. Tutoring often makes a difference in a student’s grade. For more information regarding hours, scheduling appointments and accessing additional resources, please visit: http://www.stevenson.edu/academics/academic-resources/academic-link/

SU Library
The SU Library provides electronic and print resources to support your coursework. Subject specific Research Guides and Databases by subject can be found on the library home page as well as brief tutorials and directions to assist you in using these resources.

Online Learning Resources

Atomic Learning, available through Blackboard, is an online learning resource available to all Stevenson students that provides video tutorials for instruction on a wide variety of topics.

Lynda.com is an online learning resource available to all Stevenson students. On lynda.com students can view video tutorials for hundreds of computer applications, including the Adobe Creative Suite.


SU Goal No. 1: Intellectual Development (ID)

The SU graduate will use inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, scientific reasoning, and quantitative skills to gather and evaluate evidence, to define and solve problems facing his or her communities, the nation, and the world, and to demonstrate an appreciation for the nature and value of the fine arts.

SU Goal No. 2: Communication (C)

The SU graduate will communicate logically, clearly, and precisely using written, oral, non-verbal, and electronic means to acquire, organize, present, and/or document ideas and information, reflecting an awareness of situation, audience, purpose, and diverse points of view.

SU Goal No. 3: Self, Societies, and the Natural World (SSNW)

The SU graduate will consider self, others, diverse societies and cultures, and the physical and natural worlds, while engaging with world problems, both contemporary and enduring.

SU Goal No. 4: Experiential Learning (EL)

The SU graduate will connect ideas and experiences from a variety of contexts, synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations.

SU Goal No. 5: Career Readiness (CR)

The SU graduate will demonstrate personal direction, professional know-how, and discipline expertise in preparation for entry into the workplace or graduate studies.

SU Goal No. 6: Ethics in Practice (EIP)

The SU graduate will practice integrity in the academic enterprise, professional settings, and personal relationships.

For more information about the SU learning outcomes and goals, please see the Stevenson catalog.