NCSU Department of Communication

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



Class schedule



Readings & resources


Week Day Topic Readings due Presentations Assignments
0 Mon. 08.15


no class
Wed. 08.17


course overview      

Part I: history of internet and computer interfaces

Cyberspace = cybernetics + space

Mon. 08.22 Introduction to cybernetics and information theory. First, second and third cybernetic waves. The influence of cybernetics theory on the vision of cyberspace as an information and immaterial place.


    Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 08.24

Where does the information space come from? The history of represented spaces.


Adriana de Souza e Silva , "From Simulations to Hybrid Spaces: How nomadic technologies change the real " (pp. 209-221)


Research presentwation 01:
Atlas of cyberspace, by Kevin G. Reopelle
Weekly reflections (blog post)
Cyberspace as space / Interfaces
Mon. 08.29

The origins of computers as space: (real-time demonstration of the software).


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

Research presentation 02:
Zork, by Natalie J. Alford
Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 08.31

The mouse, the monitor, and windows (Douglas Engelbart, demo). The Memex and the first idea of Ted Nelson’s hypertext.


Steven Johnson, "Bitmapping: an introduction" (pp. 11-41)   Weekly reflections (blog post)
Mon. 09.05 no class: Holiday (Labor Day)


Wed. 09.07  Guest lecturer: Prof. Steve Wiley





Mon. 09.12 The Macintosh and the desktop metaphor: First signs of immersion in the “computer for the rest of us.”


Steven Johnson, “The Desktop” (42-75) Research presentation 04:
Xanadu (Teld Nelson), by Kyle Lockhart

Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 09.14

Computers as calculators/simulators.


Sherry Turkle, “A tale of two aesthetics” (29-49) Research presentation 05:
Evolved Virtual Creatures (Karl Sims), by Leslie M. Holleman
Weekly reflections (blog post)
Mon. 09.19 Simulations. Karl Sims / The Game of Life / cellular automata.


Janet Abbate, “Popularizing the Internet”

Research presentation 06:
TCP/IP, by Craig. D. Williamson
Weekly reflections (blog post)

Group discussion 01 directions.

Wed. 09.21 Group discussion



Part II: Contemporary issues on the Internet: Visualization, communication, society, body, identity

Mon. 09.26 Connecting information spaces: the Internet and WWW. Technical facts.


Wed. 09.28 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)


Research presentation 07:
LambdaMOO, by Blake A. Schlukbier
Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- Group discussion report 01 due.

Mon. 10.03 Visualizing communication environments: Chats.

Judith Donath, Karrie Karahalios, Fernanda Viegas, “Visualizing Conversations” (pp. 2023-2032)


Research presentation 08: Seascape (Sociable Media Group), by Leigh C. Samuel Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- Final paper announcement.

Wed. 10.05 Visualizing MUDs. MUDs as communities.
Judith Donath, “Part I: the virtual society” (pp. 15-42) 


Research presentation 09: Active Worlds, by Simone E. Houslin


Weekly reflections (blog post)
Body and Identity
Mon. 10.10 The construction of the online body. Angela Thomas , “Digital Literacies of the Cybergirl”

(pp. 358-382)
Research presentation 10: Bodies Incorporanted (Victoria Vesna), by Christopher Culpepper

Research presentation 11: Notime (Victoria Vesna), by Cynthia V. Saur


Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- Topic proposal for final paper.

Wed. 10.12 Telepresence Art. How artists represented virtual spaces. Immersion before the internet.

Inke Arns, "Interaction, Participation, Networking" (pp. 333-348)

Research presentation 12: Telematic Dreaming (Paul Sermon), by Alexander D. Rogers



Weekly reflections (blog post)
Art, games, and virtual environments
Mon. 10.17 MUDs as libertarian places? Other representation of virtual spaces: Technosphere. Kevin Robins, “Cyberspace and the world we live in” (pp. 77-95)


Research presentation 14: Technosphere (Jane Prophet), by Staci N. Watkins


Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 10.19 MUDs as libertarian places?

Research presentation 15: Whyville, by Lincoln H. Hamer

Research presentation 16:
Moose Crossing (Amy Bruckman), by Colby Lou Cobb


Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- mid-term assignement 02 directions.


Art, games and virtual environments
Mon. 10.24 MUDs as games, MUDs as learning environments.


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


Research presentation 18: Wikipedia, by Jenn Obrien


Wed. 10.26 Group discussion.

Virtual Worlds: Active Worlds, The Palace, and Lambda MOO.




-- Initial references list for final paper.

Part III: The mobile Internet

The mobile Internet: an introduction
Mon. 10.31 The mobile internet: an introduction




Wed. 11.02 Cell phones in the USA   Research presentation 18:
WAP, by Katie Lee Saunders

Research presentation 19:
ImaHima, by Julie E. Thorpe

Research presentation 20:
Lovegetty, by Zachary W. Munford

Weekly reflections (blog post)



Mobile Internet
Mon. 11.07 Japanese I-mode. Howard Rheingold, “Shibuya Epiphany”

(pp. 1-12)


Research presentation 13:
Placeholder, by Carolina Oliva


Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- mid-term assignment 02 due.


Wed. 11.09 Scandinavian countries: mobile email, and SMS. Howard Rheingold, “Shibuya Epiphany” (pp. 12-28)


Research presentation 22:
Happy slapping, by Nick J. Sovich

Research presentation 23:
Botfighters, by Michael J. Fox

Weekly reflections (blog post)
Interfaces of immateriality
Mon. 11.14 Ubiquitous, wearable and pervasive computing

Film: Cyberman


Research presentation 24: Wearable computer (Steve Mann), by Meghan L. Locklear

Research presentation 25: Dangling String (Natalie Jeremijenko), by Lindsay M. Biggers


Weekly reflections (blog post)

-- Final paper outline.

Wed. 11.16 Ubiquitous computing. New mobile interfaces: location awareness.

Mark Weiser, "The world is not a desktop" AND "Designing calm technology".


Research presentation 26:
Siemens' Digital Graffito, by Hannah Correll

Research presentation 27: Geocaching, by Jeff Reeves


Weekly reflections (blog post)
Cell phones and places  
Mon. 11.21 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"

Research presentation 28: 100-dolar computer (Alan Kay), by Andrew B. Stein

Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 11.23


Thanksgiving Holiday: no class
Mobile Games/Art
Mon. 11.28 Hybrid reality games Klopfer, Squire & Jenkins, "Environmental Detectives".


Research presentation 29:
Mogi, by Masood A. Sayed
Weekly reflections (blog post)
Wed. 11.30 Mobile Art


Research presentation 30:
Blinkenlights, by Chris Crutchfield


Finals week
Mon. 12.05 Individual critique/help on work in progress on final paper.


Wed. 12.07 Final paper due.   Final paper due. Final paper due.