Spring 2019 Syllabus

Syllabus for Spring 2019
Generally Wednesdays: 9:30-12:30, but sometimes Mondays. See Google Calendar for details
Juan Pablo Alperin, jalperin@sfu.ca

DESCRIPTION

PUB802 asks the fundamental question: what happens to publishing in an era where the vast majority of publishing and reading happens on the Internet? More broadly, this course is intended to encourage a critical examination of the ways in which technologies are shaping every aspect of our personal lives, and the very structure of our society. For how can we understand the intersection of technologies and publishing without first exploring the role of technology, and technology companies, in shaping our values, our psychology, and our daily habits?

After a discussion of the way Web has changed us, and the way it has evolved itself, the course will explore some aspects of how technology has affected making, discovering, and consuming content. The discussion will include an exploration of publishing platforms, making works available in the marketplace (both digital and physical), and the digital reading experience. By the end of it, we will hopefully have a sense of how digital technologies have redefining the value and even the very meaning of publishing.

PUB802 is a seminar, but it is not your typical seminar. While there is a syllabus below, it is only a starting point. We will work on filling it out together during the first class, and you will continue to shape it every week as the course progresses. In pairs, you will each take responsibility for a week and a topic, and we will all learn together about the things that matter or concern you most regarding tech. Expect and be prepared to be challenged, but also to challenge others—without discussion, there is no seminar. PUB802 is also a graduate course. This means the discussions are based around ideas, not around specific technologies or moments in time. We will, however, endeavour to ground these ideas with concrete examples and case studies.

SCHEDULE

We will meet mostly on Wednesdays for 3 hours, but there is some variation in the schedule. Below is a summary of the dates, which will be input into the MPub Google Calendar.

Jan 9 – Wednesday
Jan 14 – Monday
Jan 21 – Monday
Jan 30 – Wednesday
Feb 6 – Wednesday
Feb 13 – no class (Emerging Leaders)
Feb 20 – no class (Reading week)
Feb 25 – Monday
March 6 – Wednesday
March 13 – Wednesday
March 20 – Wednesday
March 27 – Wednesday
April 3 – Wednesday

OUR ETHERPAD

can be found here

OUTLINE

The following is a rough outline of the course’s coverage. In reality, we will be much more flexible around topics to allow our discussions to go on as long as we feel is necessary and to cover topics as they come up.

Week 1, January 9: Introduction to the course

Week 2, January 14: The Web changes things

b-side:

prompt for next week:

Gopnik describes three classes of people: the Never-Betters, the Better-Nevers, and the Ever-Wasers. Which are you? Where are we as a society? Or is there a different category you and we belong in?
#S19W2

Week 3, January 21: The Web changes itself

Prompt for next week:


#S19W3

start of Wikipedia assignment

b-side:

Week 4, January 30: Internet Business Models (Part One)

#S19W4

Week 5, February 6: Internet Business Models (Part two)

#S19W5

b-side:

February 13: (Emerging Leaders)

  • no class

February 20: (Reading week)

  • no class

Week 6, February 27: Copyright

Optional:

prompt for next week:


#S19W6

b-side

Week 7, March 6: Data Privacy

Blog Prompt: 

#S18W7

Week 8, March 13: Distribution & Discovery

[[ Guest: Jamie Broadhurst, Raincoast books (to be confirmed) ]]

new from 2018

b-side:

Blog Prompt: 

#S18W8

Week 9, March 20: Measuring & Tracking

b-side

for fun:

Blog Prompt:

#S19W9

Week 10, March 27: Digital reading

b-side:

Blog Prompt:

#S18W10

Week 11, April 3: Interacting and Socializing with Text

Blog Prompt:

#S19W11

Tech Lessons

some possible topics that we could spend some time going over in class

  • character encodings
  • Pandoc
  • RegEx
  • Twitter network analysis
  • trackers and ad-blockers

The B-list

readings that haven’t made it into the topic list above, but have been in previous syllabi

introductions

Production concepts

Production processes

Possibilities and new models

b-side:

GRADING AND ASSIGNMENTS

Your final grade will be made up of the following components:

  • Participation (in class): 10%
  • Participation (annotations): 10%
  • Weekly blogs: 30%
  • Public Contribution (Wikipedia): 10%
  • Meeting learning objectives: 40%

The determination of your grade for each is done in a slightly unconventional way, which is explained in detailed here.

ON OPENNESS

All seminar materials and will be publicly accessible. Similarly, all student writing must be made available online (although you may choose to keep select content behind a password). Work will be openly peer-reviewed online as well, and all readings will be openly annotated. Feedback on written work will also be provided through open annotations and comments. In short, this class does as much as possible in the open, and wherever possible, it licenses any content produced with open licenses.