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Week 2: What do our digital lives look like right now? And how did we get here?

I apologize for the somewhat odd nature of our first class session (iPads! syllabus! movie! no interaction!), and I promise that our future classes will look nothing like last night’s class. In fact, next week will be all about you—your digital history and habits—so be thinking about your personal answers to the questions in the title of this post. We will balance our individual, anecdotal accounts with an interesting historical piece and some contemporary data about the relationships between humans and the technologies that surround them.

To read before class:

  • The first major section of Networked, “The Triple Revolution.” In the print version, it’s pages 1–113. In the ebook, it’s the first four chapters, plus the first “Interlude.”
  • “As We May Think,” by Vannevar Bush. The easiest way to read the article is on the Atlantic’s website, but be sure to take a look at a PDF scan of the original article from 1945, which has some important illustrations.

To do before class:

  • Create a Twitter account, if you don’t have one already. Choose a username you are willing to share publicly, upload a photo to your profile, and write a short bio for your account. When your account is set up, send me your username.
  • Set up an account on the Blogs@VT website. You are welcome to blog about the readings for Wednesday’s class, but it’s not required yet. We will discuss the parameters of the blogging assignment in class and review some best practices for academic blogging.
  • Watch for an email invitation from me to join a shared Google Drive folder for this class. Once you accept that invitation, each of you will have an individual folder that you can use to share drafts with me and submit your final projects.

Bonus reading (as time and interest permit):

Last but not least, thank you for completing the two surveys during class last night. I’ve been looking over your responses today, and they have really helped me refine my plans for the syllabus this semester. I will be finalizing the reading schedule over the weekend, and we will review it in class next week.

If you have any questions about these plans, please drop by during office hours (T 1-4 and W 9-12 in Shanks 427), email me, or contact me on Twitter.