Course Details

Digital Literacies in a Networked World

EDUCATION 588.001 | SPRING 2016
Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
Thursdays, GSE 124, 7-9 pm

Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo
amystorn@gse.penn.edu or 215-898-9327
Office Hours: GSE 326, Thursdays 1-4 by appointment
(Contact Lorraine Hightower at lorrains@gse.penn.edu and Paula Rogers at progers@gse.upenn.edu (email both) or at 215-898-8435)

Teaching Team
Phil Nichols tnich@gse.upenn.edu
Veena Vasudevan veena.vasudevan@gmail.com
Jin Kyeong Jung jinkjung@gse.upenn.edu
Emily Plummer eplummer@gse.upenn.edu
Victoria Rodriguez vro@gse.upenn.edu

Course Description

This graduate seminar is designed to explore how literacy and learning are changing as people participate with digital technologies across intersecting local and global networks. We will collaboratively investigate how young people’s digital literacies—their culturally and socially situated meaning making practices mediated by digital tools—emerge in relation to constantly shifting technologies of communication and are constructed, reconstructed, negotiated, and embodied in multiple semiotic systems across everyday contexts. This course highlights how digital literacies are situated, and how these socio-cultural understandings illuminate issues of power and privilege.

The seminar is organized around the principles of participation and praxis in order to emphasize that our pedagogical uses of technology must be grounded both in everyday practices and analysis of current theories/research on digital literacies. Henry Jenkins and colleagues (2006) argue that participation is a “property of culture” as people take up active and collaborative roles in repurposing technologies for their own agentive ends (p. 8). Paulo Freire (2003) defines praxis as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it” (p. 51), a kind of informed action geared toward social justice. These two principles help to position us as active, collaborative, and reflective contributors to various communities, and to that end you will participate across a variety of professional networks as you engage with new tools and practices and reflect on that participation throughout the semester. This work is guided by the following questions:

What can we know together?
Over the course of the semester, class members will engage, discuss, challenge, and construct theories and research about how meaning making happens in and around the contexts of digital media. We will investigate these questions collaboratively, bringing our varied experiences and life histories to bear in asking questions like: How are audiences and authorship shifting in light of newly mobile, global, participatory, distributed, and collaborative practices? How are social relationships, discourses, and identities constructed and performed in and through digital literacies? How is knowledge constructed by, for, and with young people in digital contexts and whose knowledge (and literacy practices) count? Who is able to participate in digital contexts and in what ways?

What can we learn together?
Students will attend carefully to how people participate in varied digital contexts, carrying out a research project that explores how people make meaning locally and globally in digital communities.  Throughout our joint investigations in online practices, we will explore questions like: How are digital literacies practiced across spaces/places? What are young people doing with digital media, for what purposes, and to what ends? How are issues of race, class, and sexuality intertwined in our digital lives?

What can we do together?
The seminar requires you to participate in a variety of digital contexts as we explore the pedagogical implications of digital media. Class members will create and maintain public professional identities and participate in online communities of practice. We will also try out a variety of digital tools as we think together about the new mindsets and practices entailed in integrating them into classrooms, asking questions like: How can our understandings of youth participation inform teaching and learning? How are schools incorporating digital literacies into institutional spaces? What role might we play in fostering and supporting critical participatory acts?

Course Resources

We will use Google Plus (G+) as our online course platform, which will be coupled with our course website to make available all readings and materials. While we can use these materials in the course of our work together, students should not post course readings elsewhere online.  You are invited to bring your own device (BYOD) to class each week, but we will be in the computer classroom and have access to Mac laptops and iPads as well.

Course Policies

Attendance
On time attendance at all class sessions is required, and attendance/participation is a significant part of the course grade. You are allotted one excused absence without penalty on the following conditions: (1) you must inform me by email before your anticipated absence; and (2) excused absences are consistent with university policy and include illness, documented observance of a religious holiday, and funeral attendance. Unexcused absences and any additional absences will result in a deduction from your participation grade. In the event that you cannot attend a class, you should notify a fellow class member prior to your absence. Your partner will be responsible for taking notes for you and collecting any materials that are distributed. You are responsible for turning in all required assignments the same day that they are due as well as being prepared for the next class session.

Late Policy
All work is due by the beginning of class and will be counted as late any time thereafter. If you are having trouble with a deadline, you may negotiate an extension in advance of the due date (maximum one extension per semester without penalty, except for significant circumstances). Late work without an extension will be marked down one point per day (or partial day) late.

Grading
Grades will be weighted according to categories above, and all assignments will be calculated on a point system. Work should be turned in with appropriate APA (6th edition) formatting and following the following guidelines:

  • Name in the upper left, followed by course information (no cover page needed)
  • Title
  • Numbered pages
  • 1-inch margins
  • 12 point font
  • Double spaced (and if printed, single sided and stapled)
  • Reference page (APA formatted)
  • Submitted in .doc or .docx format

Academic Integrity
The Graduate School of Education prohibits conduct that is contrary to accepted principles of academic honesty. It shall constitute a violation of the GSE Code of Student Academic Integrity for any student knowingly and purposefully to engage in any activity that has the effect or intention of interfering with the education, pursuit of knowledge, or fair evaluation of a student’s performance. Examples of such activities include but are not limited to plagiarism and the submission of the same work for multiple courses.  Violations of GSE Code of Student Academic Integrity can result in a lowered or failing grade, a report to the GSE Office of Academic and Student Affairs, and/or a referral to the University’s Office of Student Conduct.

If you have any questions about properly citing sources, what constitutes plagiarism, or anything else related to GSE’s Code of Academic Integrity please do not hesitate to contact me. (http://www.upenn.edu/provost/PennBook/academic_integrity_code_of)

Academic Support
Please let me know if you need accommodations for particular learning needs or disabilities or if you have any concerns about the course. I also encourage you to visit the Weingarten Learning Resource Center (http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lrc/) if you feel you need additional academic support.