Educational Technology 0858-501, Fall 2016

Key words: digital literacies, multileracies, new literacy, semantics, new media, communication theory, youth media, media studies, software studies


How do multimedia, texting, chat, status updates, and hypertext change the way we read and interpret texts? Students study various theories of literacy and how it changes with the introduction of digital technologies. Readings will include selections on new media, new literacy, multiliteracies, multimedia cognition, and visual semantics.

This foundational course provides students a conceptual framework to critically interpret digital media, and to author powerful and effective digital documents. Students have the opportunity to practice and develop these skills, which are central to many aspects of the degree in Educational Technology.

Class Information


Class dates: Monday, Aug 29 - Sunday, Dec 18

Class meetings:

This is an asynchronous online class, which will run on a weekly schedule, Monday-Sunday, beginning Monday, August 29. In asynchronous classes, there is no set time where the whole class “meets” online (e.g., via video chat). This does not mean that you will be working alone, or studying at your own pace. Each week, there will be short deadlines to post to the course websites and complete other assignments; many of these will be group assignments. You must commit to checking the online course materials (email, Moodle, Slack, & other communications) every day during the course. For us to be able to study together, it is crucial that everyone respect deadlines and submit their work on time.

Office hours:

  • Tuesday 3pm-5pm, Manhattan Center
  • Thursday 12-2pm, online
  • office hours by appointment

Goals & objectives

Two overarching goals drive this course. First, students should understand the literacy skills required to critically interpret digital texts. Second, they should learn how to communicate effectively using the tools and techniques of digital media. More specifically:

  • Students will develop a conception of “digital literacy” as a multifaceted, social process of decoding tex, audio, and visual symbols and signals.
  • Students will gain a familiarity with a range of research perspectives which engage with digital literacy.
  • Students will refine their understanding of the affordances of a range of media, and these features’ implications for literacy.
  • Students will confront and assess their own preconceived ideas about literacy and technology skills and how learners acquire them.
  • Students will be able to create a variety of digital texts to communicate in different genres and for multiple purposes.
  • Students will be able to articulate the cultural and political implications of communication, with attention to concerns of power and equity online and in classrooms.

Class sessions

Dates and Schedule

Week Start End Topic Due
1 Aug 29 Sep 04 Critical literacy
2 Sep 05 Sep 11 What is Literacy? Web portfolio
3 Sep 12 Sep 18 Multiliteracies
4 Sep 19 Sep 25 New Media
5 Sep 26 Oct 02 Studio workshop Collage
6 Oct 03 Oct 09 Media Literacy
7 Oct 10 Oct 16 Remix
8 Oct 17 Oct 23 Images & Visuality
9 Oct 24 Oct 30 Power, Media, & Race
10 Oct 31 Nov 06 Power, Media, & Gender Video critique
11 Nov 07 Nov 13 Privacy & Security
12 Nov 14 Nov 20 Visualizing data
13 Nov 21 Nov 27 Data Workshop Media analysis
14 Nov 28 Dec 04 Coding culture
15 Dec 05 Dec 11 Computational Thinking
16 Dec 12 Dec 18 Visual programming Data report

Week 0: Getting ready for Digital Literacies

Before our first class meeting, you must get your environment set-up and be ready to go.

Please go through this checklist:

  • can log into Moodle and Google with your account
  • can shoot and capture video of yourself (and audio)
  • have done a practice google hangout with a friend
  • created an account on our Slack team ( using your email (Slack is group chat that we will be using for informal help/discussions), join the #diglit channel
  • check out Adelphi’s Online Readiness Course for students

This is a technical course, and expects students to come with some basic technical expertise. In particular:

  • you should be an advanced user of your own computer:
    • you should be comfortable installing and configuring new software
    • freeing up room on your hard drive if it is full
    • backing up important work
    • understanding how (and where!) files are stored on your computer
  • you should be a competent user of the internet:
    • be able to install necessary plugins to access different media
    • understand basic internet troubleshooting
      • when you can’t reach a website, is the problem on your end or on the website’s end?
      • what do you do if you can’t connect to the wifi in your home, library, or cafe?
    • have a system for generating and securing passwords and logins for multiple websites
  • you should be an advanced user of media:
    • can transfer photos and video from your camera or phone to your computer
    • can download and play video in audio in multiple formats (.avi, .mov, .mp4, .mpg, .aac, .mp3, etc)
    • can particpate in video chat, with good clear audio and video (use headphones for sure, and an external mic if possible)
      • you have done this using Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, or similar software

Week 1: Critical literacy

Readings due:

Freire, P. (1971). Chapter 2 from Pedagogy of the Oppressed. (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). New York: Herder and Herder.

Week 2: What is Literacy

Gee, J. P. (1989). What Is Literacy? Journal of Education, 171(1), 18–25.

Delpit, L. D. (1992). Acquisition of literate discourse: Bowing before the master? Theory into Practice, 31(4), 296–302.

Week 3: Multiliteracies

Readings due:

The New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.

Week 4: New Media

Readings due:

Manovich, L. (2007). “What is new media?” from The language of new media. MIT Press.

Week 6: Media Literacy

Readings due:

Baker, F. W. (2012) Teaching Media Literacy from Media literacy in the K-12 classroom. International Society for Technology in Education.

Watch: “Fifteen Million Merits” Black Mirror Season 1, Episode 2.

Week 8: Images & Visuality

Readings due:

Debord, G. (1967). The Commodity as Spectacle from The society of the spectacle. New York.

Mitchell, W. J. (2005). There are no visual media. Journal of Visual Culture, 4(2), 257–266.

Week 9: Power, Media, & Race

Readings due:

Fanon, F. (2000). The fact of blackness. In L. Back & J. Solomos (Eds.), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (pp. 257–266).

Mirzoeff, N. (2015). #BlackLivesLooking: A Year After Ferguson. Tidal. (read online)

Week 10: Power, Media, & Gender

Readings due:

Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, 393–404.

Week 11: Privacy & Security

No readings, just video

Watch Citizenfour

Week 12: Visualizing Data

Readings due:

Tufte, E. (2001) The cognitive style of PowerPoint.

Week 13: Data workshop

No readings, just data workshop.

Week 15: Coding culture

Readings due:

Ford, P. (2015). What is code? Bloomberg Businessweek, 11. (read online)

Kang, C., & Frankel, T. C. (2015). Silicon Valley struggles to hack its diversity problem. The Washington Post.

Kang, C., & Frankel, T. C. (2015, July 16). Silicon Valley struggles to hack its diversity problem. The Washington Post.

Week 14: Computational thinking and CS4All

Readings Due:

Grover, S., & Pea, R. (2013). Computational Thinking in K–12: A Review of the State of the Field. Educational Researcher, 42(1), 38–43.

Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the Societies of Control. October, 59, 3–7.

Week 16: Visual programming

No readings, just some coding.


Digital portfolio

Item 1: Web Portfolio

For this course you will be setting up and creating your own website that will showcase you work in this class. You will use the hosted Wordpress content management system for your site. Your portfolio will be assessed on its logical structure/organization, its usability, and its use of design and other digital media elements to enhance its appeal and message. In short, your portfolio should demonstrate your mastery of the specific tools made available by Wordpress, and of the general techniques of expressing ideas through a multimedia website.

Item 2: Digital Collage

We live in a visual culture, and the ability to communicate using images is essential. The verb, “to photoshop” something has become common place in our society. You will create a collage where you exhibit your skills in digital image editing: cropping, scaling, selecting, composting, using layers, combining text and images. In addition to these technical requirements, your collage must also strive for expressive content, common in our study of new media: playfulness, non-linearity and multiplicity, irony/paradox, etc. You are free to choose the subject and style of your collage.


Item 3: Youth Media Video Critique

This is a group project. All group members will receive the same grade. Working with your group, you will produce one video critique of a youth media topic.

The main point of the video is to practice and display your critical media analysis skills. To do so, though, you will also need to produce a high quality amateur video.

Technically, your video must have:

  • clips from each person on your team (either voice over or on-screen)
  • still images or video clips to illustrate your points
  • multiple cuts with simple transitions (e.g. fades)
  • an opening title screen with text

Item 4: Media analysis

While we will be writing short reading response posts on most weeks, during this course you will also write a more formal paper where you analyze a piece of digital media, using the frameworks discussed in our readings. The paper must ~1,000 words in length. For this paper we will practice peer editing and the drafting/revising process that is essential to writing high quality scholarly work. You should select a new media work (website, software/app, film, tv show, etc) and offer an original analysis of it. To complete your analysis you should refer to the various analytic frameworks we have studied in this course. Your analysis is not a summary or description of the work, but a pointed critique that uses the work you are analyzing to offer new insight and new ideas.

Item 5: Data report

The networked society is characterized by the problem of overabundance rather than scarcity of information. This means you must be able to to gather, analyze, and communicate large amounts of data. While not all of this information is quantitative, this portfolio item focuses on quantitative analysis. You will demonstrate your data literacy skills by:

  1. Finding and downloading an interesting (and sufficiently large) data set.
  2. Analyzing it using spreadsheet software.
  3. Discovering something interesting in the data.
  4. Creating a multimedia (textual and visual) representation of your interesting finding (like a series of graphs or an infographic).


Your participation in the class is crucial for the class to succeed for all of us. You are expected to post your work on time. You should treat your peers professionally and with respect. Your participation grade will be based on your efforts in Wordpress reading responses and comments, and in participation in Slack.


Item % of grade
Web portfolio 10%
Collage 20%
Video critique 20%
Media analysis 20%
Data report 20%
Participation 10%

Web & Digital Media Toolbox

Software & Tools

  • Web Browsers
  • Media editing
    • Gimp for photo editing and raster images (instead of photoshop)
    • Inkscape for vector graphics (like SVGs)
    • Audacity for editing and creating audio files
    • LibreOffice Draw is great for creating charts and diagrams

Books and online resources

Design, accessibility, UX

Media Resources

University Policies and Resources

Student Access Office and Disability Accommodation

If you have a disability that may significantly impact your ability to carry out assigned coursework, please contact the Student Access Office (SAO) at 516-877-3806 or send an email to The staff will review your concerns and determine, with you, appropriate and necessary accommodations.

Please note that reasonable accommodations are also available for courses conducted through an online learning format. Due to the nature of online courses, some accommodations approved for in-person classes may not apply. Please allow for a reasonable time frame for requesting ASL Interpreters or Transcription Services.

Student Counseling Center (SCC)

The Student Counseling Center (SCC) provides confidential and professional virtual mental health counseling services, resources, and referrals to support the academic and personal success, health, and well-being of Adelphi students without additional charge. Especially with the additional stress resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, students are encouraged to seek support from the SCC when needed. Counselors are available to help students cope with a variety of stressors and personal issues that may interfere with their academic and personal experiences. The Center also supports students who may be feeling suicidal or in crisis. To schedule an appointment, please call (516) 877-3646, email If you need immediate assistance, walk-in services are available during the fall and spring semesters Monday-Friday 9am-5:00pm. Additional information can also be found by visiting

Need support when the SCC is not available? For 24/7 emergency counseling, referral, or assistance, please contact:
Long Island Crisis Center (516) 679-1111
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text PAWS to 741741
Adelphi Office of Public Safety:
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On campus: Extension 5 on any campus phone
911 (for immediate health-related emergency)

The Center for Academic Support and Enrichment (CASE; formerly The Learning and Writing Centers)

CASE programs and services--like individual tutoring in writing and subjects across the curriculum, small group study sessions, academic coaching, and targeted workshops--help students explore, deepen, and extend their classroom learning. Support programming focuses on establishing foundational skills and techniques of studentship, like time management and note-taking. Enrichment services develop higher-order critical thinking skills and problem solving skills inherent in both abstractions and applications of curricular study.

Contact us as (or, at ext. 3200, or via our eCampus tab, to review our full slate of real-time (in person and remote) and asynchronous services. These are included in your tuition so you've already bought them! Don't miss out on the opportunity to supercharge your college experience! Many services require reservations, especially late in the semester. Reserve a spot on our scheduling portal, and/or join the self-directed virtual CASE LAB. Get on the CASE, and take your Adelphi experience to the next level.

The Adelphi Honor Code

The University is an academic community devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. Fundamental to this pursuit is academic integrity. In joining the Adelphi community I accept the University’s Statement of Academic Integrity and pledge to uphold the principles of honesty and civility embodied in it. I will conduct myself in accordance with ideals of truth and honesty and I will forthrightly oppose actions which would violate these ideals.

Code of Academic Honesty

The Code of Academic Honesty prohibits behavior that can broadly be described as lying, cheating, or stealing. Violations of the Code of Academic Honesty will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Fabricating data or citations
  2. Collaborating in areas not approved by the professor
  3. Unauthorized multiple submission of one’s own work
  4. Sabotage of others’ work, including library vandalism or manipulation
  5. Plagiarism
  6. The creation of unfair advantage
  7. The facilitation of dishonesty
  8. Tampering with or falsifying records
  9. Cheating
  10. Other forms of academic dishonesty

Copying and pasting from any source into your assignments or exams without quotation marks, citations and references, constitutes plagiarism. Students are expected to produce and submit original work and to cite all sources appropriately. Unauthorized collaboration on any work, or the presentation of someone else’s work as your own, is plagiarism. Content generated by an Artificial Intelligence third-party service or site (AI- generated content, e.g. ChatGPT) without attribution or authorization is also a form of plagiarism. Unless explicitly stated, artificial intelligence-based technologies, such as ChatGPT or word mixing software, cannot be used to generate responses (partial or otherwise) for student assignments or exams.

If you are unsure about what plagiarism or another form of academic dishonesty are, please reach out to me to discuss it as soon as possible. An allegation of an academic integrity violation of this section may be referred for further review and could result in disciplinary action.

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We value human dignity and diversity in all forms, embrace our differences, and honor all voices. We understand the collective power inherent in fully inclusive communities where each may meet their full potential to contribute.

Student Course Evaluations

During the last two weeks of the class, you will receive notification, via email and eCampus, that the course evaluation is available for your input electronically. Your feedback is valuable and students are strongly encouraged to respond. Please be assured that your responses are anonymous and the results will not be available to the instructor until after course grades have been submitted after the semester ends.

Religious observance policy

Adelphi University welcomes diversity in its community, and respects various religious observances. Students who anticipate being absent, due to their religious observance, are required by Adelphi University to notify their professors at the start of the semester. This will allow the faculty to take these observances into consideration in light of their course exam and assignment schedules. Students absent from class, clinical experiences, practice, labs, etc. on those days, after prior notice to the professor, will not be penalized for any exam or assignment deadline missed because of those absences. Students must contact the instructor to work out suitable arrangements for make-ups or other satisfaction of academic requirements. adelphi university
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Last modified: Tuesday, 29. August 2023 02:19PM