NCSU Department of Communication

COM487::Internet & Society
Instructor: Dr. Adriana de Souza e Silva



Class schedule



Readings & resources


Part I: cyberspace and computer interfaces


Week Day Topic Readings due Presentations Assignments


Mon. 01.09


course overview      
Wed. 01.11


Cyberspace vs. Internet: an introduction      
Cyberspace = cybernetics + space

Mon. 01.16 no class. Holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)


Wed. 01.18 (The utopia of) cyberspace as an immaterial and libertarian place.


Kevin Robins, “Cyberspace and the world we live in” (pp. 77-95)

  Blog post
Cyberspace as space
Mon. 01.23 Introduction to cybernetics and information theory. First, second and third cybernetic waves.


Adriana de Souza e Silva, "Cyberspace = cybernetics + space" (pp. 20-32)


  Blog post
Wed. 01.25 Computers as (narrative) spaces. What's an interface?

Janet Murray, “From additive to expressive form” (pp. 65-96)


  Blog post
Mon. 01.30


Steven Johnson, "Bitmapping: an introduction" (pp. 11-41) Presentation 01: Interfaces.
Memex (Vannevar Bush), and Sketchpad (Ivan Sutherland): by Ashton Wingate, Andrew Tanker

Blog post
Wed. 02.01 The Macintosh and the desktop metaphor: First signs of immersion in the “computer for the rest of us.


Steven Johnson, “The Desktop” (42-75)



Blog post
Mon. 02.06 From calculations to simulations. Computers as simulation machines.


Sherry Turkle, “A tale of two aesthetics” (29-49)   Blog post
Wed. 02.08

Computer simulations


Watch movie: The Thirteenth Floor Presentation 02: Computer simulations: Evolved Virtual Creatures (Karl Sims), A-Volve (Christa Sommerer & Laurent Mignoneau), and Technosphere (Jane Prophet), by Lia Kotsopoulos, Vanessa Rodriguez and Katie Kox

-- mid-term 1 announcement.

Part II: The Internet as a social environment: space, body, identity

Internet / MUDs
Mon. 02.13 Connecting information spaces: the Internet and WWW. Technical facts.



visit from the library



Wed. 02.15 MUDs as communities


Presentation 03: MUDs.
MUD (Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw), LambdaMOO, Habitat (LucasFilm): by Meghan Woodall, John Martin, Callahan Warlick.


mid-term 1 due
MUDs as spaces / Chats
Mon. 02.20 Building the Internet as a social place (e-mail, e-group, list-serv, Usenet). Communication and sociability -- the history of MUDs.


Julian Dibbell, “The scarlet balloon (or tinygeography, a long view and an overview)” (pp. 39-59)   Blog post
Wed. 02.22 Visualizing communication environments: 2D and 3D Chats. Judith Donath, Karrie Karahalios, Fernanda Viegas, “Visualizing Conversations” (pp. 2023-2032)

  Blog post

-- topic proposal for final paper due


Chats / Bodies
Mon. 02.27

Judith Donath, “Part I: the virtual society” (pp. 15-42)


Presentation 04 : Chats. Habbo Hotel, The Palace, Active Worlds: by Jessica Hegele, Michael Breedlove, and Quavonda Raiford

Blog post


Wed. 03.01 computer lab class



Spring break
Mon. 03.06

no class. Spring break





Wed. 03.08 no class. Spring break



Bodies / MUDs as learning environments
Mon. 03.13   T. L. Taylor, "Life in virtual worlds", (pp. 435-449).

Presentation 05:Avatars. Bodies Inc., n0time (Victoria Vesna), and Placeholder (Brenda Laurel): by Kendrick Flor, Todd Theede, Eric Tschudi


Blog post

-- initial references for final paper

Wed. 03.15 The construction of online bodies: avatars.

Angela Thomas , “Digital Literacies of the Cybergirl” (pp. 358-382)




Blog post


MUDs as learning environments
Mon. 03.20 Educational MUDs

Sasha Barab et. al., “Making Learning Fun: Quest Atlantis, a game without guns ” (pp. 86-107)


  Blog post

-- mid term exam 2

Part III: The mobile Internet

The mobile internet


Wed. 03.22 The mobile internet: an introduction




Cell phones, society and places
Mon. 03.27 Mobile phones (site-specific factors): Japan



mid-term exam 2 due

Wed. 03.29

Howard Rheingold, “Shibuya Epiphany” (pp. 1-28)

Presentation 07: Happy Slapping Thumb Tribes, and Flash Mobs, by Miriam Tolbert, Guilherme Oliveira, and Navpreet Lubana.

Blog post


Cell phones, society and places
Mon. 04.03 Cell phones in South America: relationships between cell phones, fixed phones, and the Internet. Armando Montilla et. al., "'R-A-M' ('RENT-A-MINUTE') The Nano-enterprise: Mobile telephony letting by street vendors in the context of informal sub-economies".



Blog post

-- paper outline


Wed. 04.05 Location-based services. Digital Graffitto, Lovegetty, and Ima-Hima

Bharat & Minakakis, "Evolution of mobile location-based services" (pp. 61-65)



Blog post


Wearable and ubiquitous computing
Mon. 04.10 Wearable computing Film: Cyberman




Wed. 04.12 Ubiquitous Computing Mark Weiser, "The world is not a desktop" AND "Designing calm technology".




Blog post


Hybrid reality gaming  
Mon. 04.17 Hybrid reality games.

Christian Licoppe & Yoriko Inada, "'Seeing' one another onscreen and the construction of social order in a mobile-based augmented public space", (pp. 1-16)


Presentation 09: Location-based games. Geocaching, Botfighters, and Mogi Mogi: by Misti Pinter, Karl Stromberg, Ryan Rieth


Blog post
Wed. 04.19


Hybrid reality games. Benford et. al., "Uncle Roy All Around You ", (pp. 1-10).


Blog post
Mobile Art
Mon. 04.24 Hybrid Reality Games / Mobile Art

Adriana de Souza e Silva, "Art by Telephone".



Blog post
Wed. 04.26 Mobile Art



-- final paper due

Finals week
Mon. 05.01        
Wed. 05.03