DTC 356 || Spring 2011

This class will explore the social, cultural and legal role of information. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which the self and society shape, and are shaped by, our changing information networks, and will look at the structure of these systems. We will examine such topics as social and collaborative networking, information retrieval and management, the function of creativity within an information economy, and copyright law. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to understand the function and limits of rhetoric within the current information economy.

You are now entering convergence culture. It is not a surprise that we are not yet ready to cope with its complexities and contradictions. We need to find ways to negotiate the changes taking place. No one group can set the terms. No one group can control access and participation." (Henry Jenkins)

Course Objectives

  • Understand how information is understood and circulated in the digital age
  • Consider the implications of multiple media platforms
  • Explore information as a social asset
  • Examine the role of copyright law in convergence culture
  • Consider how best to organize digital information for specific audiences
  • Learn how to keep rhetorical concerns at the forefront of all choices

Required Materials

  • Lessig, Lawrence. Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Penguin Press, 2008.
  • Miller, Paul D. Rhythm Science. Mediawork/MIT Press, 2004.
  • Weinberger, David. Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Holt Paperbacks, 2007.
  • A Twitter account, and the willingness to stay on top of it
  • A Blogger (or blog of yoru choosing) account (must allow comments)


Attendance: Because we will be working collaboratively on many assignments, and because learning is a communal effort, your regular attendance is important. You can miss three classes with no questions asked. After three absences, in order not to lose points you must contact me and explain your reasoning for the absence. More than five absences will result in a failing grade for the course.

Late work: Late work will only be accepted if agreed upon beforehand by Professor Arola.

Students with Disabilities: I am committed to providing assistance to help you be successful in this course. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC) during the first two weeks of every semester to seek information or to qualify for accommodations. All accommodations MUST be approved through the DRC (Admin Annex Bldg, Rooms 205). Call 509 335 3417 to make an appointment with a disability counselor.

Academic Honesty: All students are expected to act in accordance with the WSU policies on Academic Honesty found in the Student Handbook. These policies include falsification of information, fabrication of information, plagiarism, multiple submissions, and various others. Information about these policies can be found in the Handbook. These policies will be discussed in class and students will be asked to acknowledge that discussion and a basic understanding of the policies. For additional information on plagiarism, WSU has a great new site at If you are caught violating any academic honesty policy, you will fail the course and may be turned over to the proper WSU authorities.

Technology: If you bring a laptop to class please only use it for class-related purposes. IM-ing, checking email, web surfing (unless you're looking something up related to class), etc, are incredibly disrespectful of our time together. Also, no cell phones (thus no texting or I swear to God I'll throw your phone out the window). If you need to keep it on for any reason, please let me know. I consider college training ground for the workplace, so consider: would you text during a business meeting?

Grading: Final grades will be based on the major assignments as well as participation. The breakdown is as follows: forthcoming. Participation is based on your attendence, your level of attentiveness in and preparedness for class, your participation in class discussion, and your respect for others. A: 93-100 ||| A-: 90-92 ||| B+: 88-89 ||| B: 83-87 ||| B-: 80-82 ||| C+: 78-79 ||| C: 73-77 ||| C-: 70-72 ||| D+: 68-69 ||| D: 60-67 ||| F: 59 and below.