NEW 300-600 New Tech for New Media Syllabus

NEW 300-600 New Tech for New Media Syllabus

Spring 2017

Time and Location: Tuesday / Thursday 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Room: Newhouse 253 (CMR). Also regular meetings in the Innovation Lab and occasional field trips.
Professor: Dan Pacheco, Chair of Journalism Innovation
Office: Newhouse 2, room 494
Cell Phone: 303.465.5560 (texting preferred over voice)
Twitter: @pachecod and @JournovationSU
Office Hours: Posted here:

How to Contact Me
Feel free to reach out to me in email about anything you want to stay private, or via Twitter for anything public that you don’t mind others seeing. You can call me at the number above and it will forward to my cell phone, but it may go to voicemail if I’m not in speaking range or am otherwise tied up. Texting is preferred on my cell. Just be sure to identify yourself, or my response will always be, “Who is this?” I promise to get back to you within 24 hours about anything substantial that requires a response, usually much less than that.

Duration: Tuesday, April 4 – Thursday, May 5.
Note that the last day of class is two days after the official last day of classes. This is necessary to meet state requirements for contact hours in this irregularly-scheduled course. As a class, we can choose to meet on a different day than the scheduled date during final exams, but the entire class will need to agree on a day and time.


This course is about predicting and projecting change in media through the lens of technology. It will expose you to emerging technologies and trends that promise to further evolve the paradigm for how people access, interact with and publish information in the future. In the process, you will be better prepared for a career in which you embrace and exploit new opportunities, maybe even becoming an agent of change yourself, versus constantly adapting to or fighting external changes outside of your influence. The technologies we will research this semester include:

WEARABLES: The last 30 years reveals a progressive march toward personalized content and personal augmentation. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, consumers moved from tactile and analog media forms to computers and laptops. The 2010s ushered in a rapid shift to mobile, with many news sites now reporting 50% or more of their traffic coming from mobile devices. With 22 percent of us carry Internet-connected smartphones in our pockets, a new wave of products and services from pioneers like Google Glass, Android Wear, Autographer and smartwatches are moving information outside of the bounds of arms-length experiences and onto our eyeballs, ears and wrists. It can be summoned by subtle gestures and voice commands, or simply offered up at the right moment based on your observed daily patterns.

WAVEABLES: A new wave of body-responsive devices such as the Kinect depth camera and Oculus Rift promise to make information available not just at your fingertips, but from your hands and entire body. Rather than moving your fingers and mouse, you can navigate through information in a touchless way by moving your hands through the air, moving your body, or even simply looking at a screen.

FLYABLES: We think of cameras as bulky things we lug around, and recently small cameras in cell phones that we keep in pockets or purses. What happens when cameras can be anywhere in the air? The evolution of inexpensive, lightweight and semi-intelligent helicopters (also known as “drones”) creates new opportunities for aerial photography and videography. The FAA now has a process for people to register as drone pilots for non-commercial use, and it is still rolling out process to authorize commercial flying. While they initially expected 10,000 drones to fill U.S. skies by 2017, there are already well over a million, and they now estimate 20 million drones in the skies by 2020! We will examine what’s possible today, observe a flight, and discuss the privacy and legal implications of aerial photography.

VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY: SNew advances in 3D headsets and head tracking make it possible to make someone feel like they’ve been transported into an experience that’s either created using computer graphics, or captured using 360-degree cameras. We’ll investigate the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung GearVR, and also learn about upcoming headsets that support Augmented Reality, including Hololens and Magic Leap.

SENSORS AND “MAKING”: How’s the air quality or noise level where you live? To answer that question right now, you need to rely on data from somewhere else – perhaps from a governmental agency or private research study. Or … you can deploy your own sensor that collects data directly and dumps it all into a database. What happens when you get hundreds or thousands of people to do this at the same time, share the data and map it out? Journalists are starting to do this kind of thing, and it’s easier than you think. Also, in Makerspaces such as SU’s Makerspace, you can experiment with 3D printers, Arduinos and more.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the fundamental forces of technological change in media that in turn impact society and popular culture.
  • Research disruptive changes in the past, how were received, what they were expected to change, and what they actually changed.
  • Provide hands-on experiences with cutting edge media technologies.
  • Learn how to evaluate new technologies with respect to their impact on media.
  • Understand not just what’s possible, but the legal and privacy implications and responsibilities posed by new technologies.
  • Engage with a global community of futurists.

Class Workload

While this class meets for only five weeks, the amount of work required for those five weeks is equivalent to one-third of the work required in a full-semester class. The intensity during that five weeks is the same as it would be in a full-semester class, and if you fall behind it will be even harder to catch up due to the shorter duration of the course. Be careful not to assume that because this class meets for five weeks that it is only one-third of the work of your other courses.

Class requirements:

  • A Mac or Windows computer laptop that allows you to install software.
  • The latest Chrome and Firefox browsers.
  • A Google account.
  • A Twitter account.
  • A free account on the class blog at
  • Chrome or Firefox Web browsers.

Attendance and Attitude

You are expected to attend every class on time. If you cannot attend, you must notify me in advance via email and provide an explanation. One absence will be granted for any reason with no explanation. Each subsequent absence with an acceptable explanation will result in a half letter-grade reduction in your final grade (for example, and A becomes an A-, and a C- becomes a D+).

Please show respect for each other as well as for the instructor. Disagreements and spirited debate about concepts are acceptable and welcome. Personal attacks of any nature are not.

Textbook and Reading

There is no textbook for this course, but there are online readings, tutorials and exercises.

Assigned readings are posted in a Twitter by @pachecod using the hashtag #NTNM. Scan that hashtag daily and read anything posted there by the professor. Try also to read what your colleagues post.

At minimum, I expect you to regularly peruse the following news sites that cover new technologies that impact media:

  1. Wired:
  2. Engadget:
  3. Mashable:
  4. Niemanlab:
  5. Re/code:
  6. The New York Times bits blog:

Share your own finds

Because emerging technology is ever changing, I want you to constantly be out there looking for news an opinion about the technologies we are studying, or new ones that you think will impact the future of media. Post a link and short comments on Twitter and include the hashtag #NTNM. If you post something that I think the rest of the class should see, I may ask you to talk about it to the class – and you will receive extra credit for being chosen. Note that anything you share socially is public to the world, and will be out there forever. I also reserve the right to include your finds in a list of resources for future class participants.


The assignments for this class will all be done online using interactive tools that are specified in the assignment. You will turn in most assignments by posting entries on the class blog, then tweeting a link to your post with the #NTNM hashtag. This will cause it to appear on the class site through Rebelmouse.

Class Labs

Generally speaking, every Tuesday will consist of instruction and every Thursday will consist of a lab. Note that because of limitations in some of the available technology (for example, Oculus Rift), it will be impossible for you to have extensive direct experience with a technology in every lab. Each class lab will be designed to give everyone in the class the best direct experience possible, but in some cases you will assist someone else in an activity or simply observe and provide feedback.

Grading Scale

The grading scale for assignments and final grade is as follow:

  • 96-100: A
  • 92-95: A-
  • 88-91: B+
  • 84-87: B
  • 80-83: B-
  • 76-79: C+
  • 72-75: C
  • 68-71:C-
  • 60-67: D
  • 0-59: F

I will make every effort to post grades online through Blackboard, or by email if there are Blackboard issues, within one week (often less) of assignments being turned in. I require a 24-hour waiting period before discussing any posted grade. This is to give us both a chance to think rationally about the assignment and grade so that we can have a meaningful discussion.

Grading Methodology

Your overall class grade will be calculated based on a point system, with100 total points possible in the class. Points will be awarded in ½-point increments. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Blog posts: 20 points possible. One post each week for five weeks, with 4 points possible for each post. I will assign the topic and items to address each week.
  • Professionalism and participation: 20 points possible.Includes attendance, sharing finds, participating in discussions, quizzes.
  • Field Test: 30 points possible.In field tests, you will test assumptions and report back in the blog on what you learn.
  • Vision Post on the future of media: 30 points. Due by Wednesday, May 11 – the official last day of final exams at Syracuse University.

Policy for Late Work

In the professional world, you never get credit for something that is submitted late without a prior discussion and agreement on a different deadline. This means anything you submit late without a discussion with me in advance will get an F grade.

In what circumstances would I accept late work? Only for those that would fly in the business world, and for which you can provide evidence. These are usually “Act of God” types of issues. For example, if you get hit by a car and are in the hospital, I will understand and we can work something out, but I may ask to see something from the hospital. I reserve the right to reduce the score for an assignment by a half-letter grade for each day it is submitted late, even if you have an excuse.

Academic Integrity

Syracuse University sets high standards for academic integrity. Those standards are supported and enforced by students, including those who serve as academic integrity hearing panel members and hearing officers. The presumptive sanction for a first offense is course failure, accompanied by the transcript notation “Violation of the Academic Integrity Policy.” The standard sanction for a first offense by graduate students is suspension or expulsion. Students should review the Office of Academic Integrity online resource “Twenty Questions and Answers About the Syracuse University Academic Integrity Policy” and confer with instructors about course-specific citation methods, permitted collaboration (if any), and rules for examinations. The Policy also governs the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. Additional guidance for students can be found in the Office of Academic Integrity resource: ‘What does academic integrity mean?’ Please also note this additional Newhouse School Rule: “It is not permissible for any student to submit the same material, with substantially the same style, structure, or wording, to instructors in two or more courses.”

Persons With Disabilities.

If you believe that you need accommodations for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS),, located at 804 University Avenue, room 309 or call 315 443 4498 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting accommodations. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related accommodations and will issue students with documented disabilities “Accommodation Authorization Letters,” as appropriate. Since accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.

Our community values diversity and seeks to promote meaningful access to educational opportunities for all students. Syracuse University and the Newhouse faculty are committed to your success and to supporting Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990). This means that in general no individual who is otherwise qualified shall be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity, solely by reason of having a disability.

You are also welcome to contact your professor privately to discuss you academic needs although faculty cannot arrange for disability-related accommodations.

Religious Observances

SU’s religious observances policy, found at, recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holy days according to their tradition.  Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes.  For fall and spring semesters, an online notification process is available through MySlice/Student Services/Enrollment/My Religious Observances from the first day of class until the end of the second week of class.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets forth requirements regarding the privacy of student records. FERPA governs both the access to and release of those records, known as education records, and the information they contain. Under FERPA, faculty have a legal responsibility to protect the confidentiality of student records. For additional information about FERPA and SU’s FERPA policy, see or contact your school/college records office or the Registrar’s Office (315-443-3535).


University policy is that all university communications should be sent to students’ SU account, i.e. If you’d like that email forwarded to another account, see

Use of Student Work

The professor may use academic work that you complete this semester for educational purposes in this course during this semester. Your registration and continued enrollment constitute your permission.

The professor may use academic work that you complete this semester in subsequent semesters for educational purposes with your permission. Before using your work for that purpose, your professor is required to either get your written permission or render the work anonymous by removing all your personal identification.


You can review the class schedule here.


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