Aug 31, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Syllabus


Course Syllabus


Tuesday – Thursday 11-12:15pm


Dr. Jason Farman


Office: 2107B Holzapfel Hall

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:15-2:00pm or by appointment

Office Phone: 301.405.9524



The spatiality of “cyberspace” has been theorized since the early-1980s when William Gibson invoked the term; however, this space is being inhabited in a significantly different way with the advent of mobile technologies. With mobile phones that connect to the Internet or GPS receivers that are utilized for a wide array of purposes, locating one’s self simultaneously in cyberspace and in material space has become an everyday action for many people. With this alteration of embodied space, the cultural objects we are producing and interacting with are also being transformed. This course will analyze how mobile devices are changing interpersonal communication and the ways they have affected the areas of the arts, gaming, social networking, and narrative. Though the majority of the course focuses on the cultural transformations that are accompanying the rise of mobile media, location-aware technologies, and pervasive computing culture, students will also explore the implications of these theories through hands-on practice with various mobile media.


Course Objectives:

  • To investigate the variety of cultural imaginaries and uses of mobile technologies across human culture and history (from papyrus up to the iPad) and demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which cultures have changed through their interactions with “mobile media” (broadly defined).
  • Students will utilize a wide range of methods to investigate mobile media and its cultures, including methods drawn from the humanities, qualitative and quantitative studies of intercultural and interpersonal communication on mobile devices, and theoretical approaches to studies of space and the senses in pervasive computing culture.
  • The course will describe the ways in which communication on mobile devices (including voice communication, text messaging, and email) reflects a way of thinking, cultural heritage, and the larger set of cultural values and aspects of the societies we will study.
  • Students will identify their own assumptions and values about mobile media and identify the underlying premises in these assumptions.
  • Students will use a wide range of mobile and pervasive computing technologies to conduct their research and design their final projects.


Required Texts (available in the campus bookstore):

  •  Rich Ling, New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2010. ISBN: 0262515040
  •  The Reconstruction of Space and Time, ed. Rich Ling and Scott Campbell, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press, 2009. ISBN: 1412811082
  •  Eric Gordon and Adriana de Souza e Silva, Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. ISBN: 1405180609



Reading assignments are listed on the day they will be discussed in class. You are expected to arrive to class having read the works listed. All written assignments are to be turned in at the beginning of class. No papers will be accepted via e-mail and computer problems are not an excuse for late work. NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED. Note: You must bring your iPad to every class meeting.



  • Essay #1: 15%
  • Mis-Guide Project:  10%
  • Midterm:  15%
  • Mobile Narrative Project: 20%
  • Final Paper: 20%
  • Quizzes:  10%
  • Twitter Responses: 10%



You will be responding to quiz questions in class sessions throughout the semester. You will be using your iPads as clickers, utilizing the ResponseWare app. You must register for a ResponseWare License in order to use the iPad as your clicker. Registration can be done at: If you have not done so, you must create an account at: and insert your license ID. Then, be sure to log in on your device using the ResponseWare app. There you’ll see your Device #, which you can use to register your device at Quizzes are worth 10% of your grade. When launching the ResponseWare app during class to take a quiz, log in to your account and then join the Session ID: farman


Twitter Responses (to Readings and to Lectures):

You will need a Twitter account to interact with the course readings and the in-class lectures. For each set of readings, you must write a short reaction (comment, question, challenge) to one or more of the readings. You will post this before class every Tuesday and Thursday, which must include the hashtag #dcc208. At the end of the semester, you will be posting updates about your field work and project progress. During lecture, we will have a backchannel for Twitter responses. You must write a similar reaction to the content covered and can take any form (reaction, question, conversation with other students) and must include the course hashtag. You will need to provide at least one reaction during each class. I recommend setting up a Twitter archive through a service like so you can track how many times you have contributed throughout the semester. Your Twitter Responses are worth 10% of your grade.


Students with Disabilities:

The University is legally obligated to provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. The campus’ Disability Support Services Office (DSS) works with students and faculty to address a variety of issues ranging from test anxiety to physical and psychological disabilities. If a student or instructor believes that the student may have a disability, they should consult with DSS (4-7682, email Note that to receive accommodations, students must first have their disabilities documented by DSS. The office then prepares an Accommodation Letter for course instructors regarding needed accommodations. Students are responsible for presenting this letter to their instructors.

Please Note: This syllabus is subject to change at any time according to the professor’s discretion.  The assignments below may also include readings handed out in class, which each student is responsible for completing.



Week 1: Introduction

Thursday, Sept. 1: Course Introduction


Week 2: The History of Mobile & Pervasive Computing

Tuesday, Sept. 6:

  •  Howard Rheingold, Introduction and Ch. 1 in Smart Mobs
  •  Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, selections from Remediation


Thursday, Sept. 8:

  •  Constant Touch Part I (Ch. 1-2)
  •  Lisa Gitelman, Introduction from Always Already New


Week 3: Transformations of Space

Tuesday, Sept. 13:

  •  Constant Touch Part 2 (Ch. 3-9)
  •  Ch. 1, “Mapping,” in Net Locality
  •  Paul Dourish, “Seeking a Foundation for Context-Aware Computing,” Human Computer Interaction, 2001, vol. 16: 229-241.


Thursday, Sept. 15:

  •  Michael Bull, “Investigating the Culture of Mobile Listening: from Walkman to iPod”
  •  Caroline Bassett, “‘How Many Movements?’ Mobile Telephones and Transformations in Urban Space.” Open: Cahier on Art and the Public Domain 9,
  • Ch. 4, “Urban Spaces,” in Net Locality
  •  Turn in your Mis-Guides


Week 4: Mobile Media and Interpersonal Communication

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Class Will Meet Online

  •  Nicola Döring and Sandra Pöschl, “Nonverbal Cues in Mobile Phone Text Messages: The Effects of Chronemics and Proxemics” in The Reconstruction of Space and Time
  •  Constant Touch, Part 3 (Ch. 11-16)
  •  Rich Ling, “ICT and Tension between Social and Individual Impulses,” in New Tech, New Ties


Thursday, Sept. 22: Class Will Meet Online

  •  Rich Ling, “Co-Present Interaction and Mobile Communication,” in New Tech, New Ties
  •  —. “The Recalibration of Social Cohesion” in New Tech, New Ties
  • Ch. 7, “Globalization,” in Net Locality


Week 5: Mobile Media & the Digital Divide

Tuesday, Sept. 27:

  •  Selections from The Reconstruction of Space and Time


Thursday, Sept. 29:

  •  Selections from The Reconstruction of Space and Time
  •  ESSAY #1 DUE


Week 6: Locative Social Media

Tuesday, Oct. 4:

  •  Rich Ling, “Bounded Solidarity: Mobile Communication and Cohesion in the Familiar Sphere,” in New Tech, New Ties.
  •  Adriana de Souza e Silva and Jordan Frith, “Locative Mobile Social Networks: Mapping Communication and Location in Urban Spaces,” Mobilities 5, no. 4 (2010)


Thursday, Oct. 6:

  •  Listen to Mark Sample, “Haunts: Play, Place and Trauma” podcast:
  •  Anders Albrechtslund, “Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance,” First Monday 13, no. 3 (2008)
  •   Ch. 3, “Social Networks and Games,” in Net Locality


Week 7: Mobile Gaming Culture

Tuesday, Oct. 11:

  •  Mary Flanagan, “Artist’s Locative Games,” in Critical Play: Radical Game Design
  •  Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros, and Annika Waern, Ch. 1-2 from Pervasive Games


Thursday, Oct. 13:

  •  Jane McGonigal, “SuperGaming: Ubiquitous Play and Performance for Massively Scaled Community,” Modern Drama 48.3 (2005): 471-491.
  •  Christian Licoppe and Yoriko Inada, “Emergent Uses of a Multiplayer Location-Aware Mobile Game: the Interactional Consequences of Mediated Encounters,” Mobilities 1.1 (2006): 39-61.


Week 8: Art in a Mobile Age

Tuesday, Oct. 18:

  •  Selections from Janet Cardiff: The Walk Book
  •  Drew Hemment, “Locative Arts,” Leonardo 39, no. 4 (2006): 348-355.
  •  Lone Koefoed Hansen, “Paths of Movement: Negotiating Spatial Narratives Through GSP Tracking”


Thursday, Oct. 20:

  •  Mark Hansen, “Movement and Memory: Intuition as Virtualization in GPS Art,” MLN 120 (2005): 1206-1225.
  •  Marc Tuters and Kazys Varnelis. “Beyond Locative Media: Giving Shape to the Internet of Things.” Leonardo 39, no. 4 (2006): 357-363.
  •  Tom Corby, “Landscapes of Feeling, Arenas of Action: Information Visualization as Art Practice, Leonardo 41.5 (2008): 460-467.


Week 9: Mobile Media Narratives

Tuesday, Oct. 25:

  •  Larissa Hjorth, “Stories of the mobile: cartographies of the personal through a case study of mobile novels in Japan”
  •  Rita Raley, “Mobile Media Poetics”
  •  Steve Benford, et al, “The Frame of the Game: Blurring the Boundary Between Fiction and Reality in Mobile Experiences” in CHI 2006 Proceedings


Thursday, Oct. 27:



Week 10: Mobile Media Narratives, Part II

Tuesday, Nov. 1:

  •  Rita Raley, “Walk This Way: Mobile Narrative as Composed Experience”
  •  Mark Marino, “Mobile Interventions: transforming relations between subject and space through metadata”


Thursday, Nov. 3:

  •  Ben Bunting, et al, “Remediating Narrative: Exploring the Effects of Mobile Technologies on Storytelling”
  •  Alberto S. Galindo, “Mobile Media after 9/11: Memorials, the Military and the Question of Patriotism”


Week 11: Workshop Mobile Narrative Project Ideas

Tuesday, Nov. 8:

  •  Design and Present Proposal for a Mobile Media Narrative


Thursday, Nov. 10:

  •  Design and Present Proposal for a Mobile Media Narrative


Week 12: Group Work & Guest Lecture

Tuesday, Nov. 15:

  • Meet with your Mobile Media Narrative Group


Thursday, Nov. 17:

  • Guest Lecture with Paul Notzold: Using Mobile Media for Public Art (including on-campus presentation of his artwork)


Week 13: Group Work on Mobile Narrative Project

Tuesday, Nov. 22:

  • Meet with your Mobile Media Narrative Group


Thursday, Nov. 24:



Week 14: Finalize Mobile Narratives

Tuesday, Nov. 29:

  • Finalize your Mobile Media Narrative Projects


Thursday, Dec. 1:

  • Finalize your Mobile Media Narrative Projects


Week 15: Explore Mobile Narratives

Tuesday, Dec. 6:

  • Class explorations of Mobile Media Narratives


Thursday, Dec. 8:

  • Class explorations of Mobile Media Narratives


Week 16: Finals Week

  •  Papers Due

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Contact Dr. Farman

P: 301.405.9524
O: 2017B Holzapfel Hall
T: @farman

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