CMNS 421: Being Online (Rev. C4) Report a Broken Link

Communications Studies 421, is a three-credit senior-level course that focuses on how people communicate on the Internet. The course is organized to lead in concentric circles outward from the self. It begins with an exploration of the intrapersonal—how people construct and represent themselves on the Internet. It then moves to the interpersonal—how people relate to one another and form communities on the Internet. It ends by examining the transpersonal—how people use the Internet for spiritual purposes. The course relies on recent research to explore issues and concerns about this new medium. Questions about ethics on the Web, about the gendered use of technology, about Web addiction, and about the changing nature of work and play are among those considered in this exploration into the complex relations between human beings and communication technology.

General: Optional Readings

We strongly encourage you to explore the websites identified below. They contain statistics and analyses that you will find interesting and useful as you work through Communication Studies 421.

Unit 1 — The Internet Then, Now, and in the Future: Implications for “Being Online”

Required Readings
Sterling, B. (February, 1993). Short History of the Internet

Unit 2 — The Self Online: Am I My Own Avatar?

Required Readings
Eklund, L. (2011) Doing gender in cyberspace: The performance of gender by female World of Warcraft players
Martey, R. M., & Consalvo, M. (2011) Performing the Looking-Glass Self: Avatar Appearance and Group Identity in Second Life
Poster, M. (2007) The secret self: The case of identity theft
Suggested Websites
Google flags censored search words to Chinese users.
Gender differences arise in social media use.
Watch Your Language! (In China, They Really Do)
Why I Blog
Customizing your avatar can influence your perceptions of virtual environment
Google stops self-censoring in China

Unit 3 — Romance Online: From Meeting to Breaking Up

Required Readings
Finkel, E., Eastwick, P., Karney, B., Reis, H., & Sprecher, S (2012) Online dating: A critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science
Papp, L., Danielewicz, J., & Cayemberg, C., (2012) Are we Facebook official?
Weisskirch, R., & Delevi, R. Its ovr b/n u n me: Technology use, attachment styles, and gender roles in relationship dissolution
Suggested Websites
Catfish Trailer
Second Life
Online dating and the search for true love—or loves
CBC News: Online dating most popular fraud target in Canada

Unit 4 — Developmental Perspectives: Children, Parents and the Elderly

Required Readings
Olson, C.K., (2010) Children’s motivations for video game play in the context of normal development
Langos, C., (2012) Cyberbullying: The challenge to define
Gutnick, A.L., Robb, M., Takeuchi, L., & Kotler, J. (2010) Always connected: The new digital media habits of young children
Paus-Hasebrink, I., Bauwens, J., Durager, A., & Ponte, C., (2013) Exploring types of parent-child relationships and Internet use across Europe
Suggested Websites
Remember Toddler Privacy Online
The Sextortion of Amanda Todd
Seniors and social media: More than just keeping up with the grandkids
Seniors spurring Internet growth in Canada

Unit 5 — Deviance and Pathology: From Addiction to Bullying

Required Readings
Akın, A. (2012) The relationships between Internet addiction, subjective vitality, and subjective happiness
Carli, V., Durkee, T., Wasserman, D., Hadlaczky, G., Despalins, R., Kramarz, E., & Kaess, M. (2012) The association between pathological Internet use and comorbid psychopathology: A systematic review
Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012) Internet gaming addiction: A systematic review of empirical research
Suggested Websites
Coming Out as a Porn Addict.
Gamers Rack Up Losses
Smartphone Addiction: Staggering Percentage Of Humans Couldn't Go One Day Without Their Phone
‘Lolita’ Chatbot Catches Online Predators
Should Internet addiction be officially recognized?
Why Internet addiction is a controversial diagnosis

Unit 6 — Therapy and Health: Psychotherapy Online and Self-Diagnosis

Required Readings
Kato, P. M. (2010) Video games in health care: Closing the gap
Kuehn, B. M. (2013) More than one-third of us individuals use the Internet to self-diagnose
Migone, P. (2013) Psychoanalysis on the Internet: A discussion of its theoretical implications for both online and offline therapeutic technique
Suggested Websites
Virtual training center opens in Peoria to revolutionize health care and medicine
The glow from your gadgets is disrupting your sleep cycle
Can virtual reality treat addiction?
‘Out-of-body’ virtual experience could help social anxiety
Suicidal boy Noah Brocklebank, 13, saved by letters from strangers around the world

Unit 7 — Online Communities: Fans, Gaming, Support Groups

Required Readings
Deng, Y., Hou, J., Ma, X., & Cai, S. (2013) A dual model of entertainment-based and community-based mechanisms to explore continued participation in online entertainment communities
Kassner, M., Wesselmann, E., Law, A., & Williams, K. (2012) Virtually ostracized: Studying ostracism in immersive virtual environments
Martin, R., Coyier, K., VanSistine, L., & Schroeder, K., (2013) Anger on the Internet: The perceived value of rant-sites
Schwammlein, E., & Wodzicki, K. (2012) What to tell about me? Self-presentation in online communities
Suggested Websites
Facebook is Bad for You: Get a Life!
Dr. David McMillan: Sense of Community
Sexism is still rampant in online communities
Seven best online gaming communities
Four Square

Unit 8 — Work, Business, and Marketing Online: Effects of Social Media

Required Readings
An, S., & Stern, S. (2011) Mitigating the effects of advergames on children: Do advertising breaks work?
Aguiar, L., & Martens, B. (2013) Digital music consumption on the Internet: Evidence from click stream data. European Commission, Institute for Prospect Technology Studies
Gray, B. (2012) Don’t fear the dragons: Why the social web should be part of your work day
Suggested Websites
Gangnam Style
YouTube channel for blender manufacturer, Blendtec, including “Will It Blend” videos
Website for Internet beauty guru Michelle Phan, including all of her YouTube makeup tutorials
World’s largest crowdfunding website
Global project for tracking Internet usage and trends
Online auction site for mostly individual buyers and sellers
Social networking site for bookworms
Children’s website with more than 1000 games and Advergames

Unit 9 — The Politics of Information: Leaks, Censorship, and Privacy in the Digital Age

Required Readings
Coleman, G. (2013, September 23) Anonymous in context: The politics and power behind the mask
Gerhart, S. L. (2004) Do Web search engines suppress controversy?
Davies, N. (2013, October 13) Who should judge whether Snowden’s leaked secrets are too sensitive to report?
Babad, M. (2013, June 7) Why Canadians should fear clandestine U.S. snooping program
Shih, G. (2013, April 20) Boston Marathon bombings: How Twitter and Reddit got it wrong
Thompson, C. (2013, October 18) The darkest place on the Internet isn’t just for criminals
Suggested Websites
Anonymous: Anonymous’ unofficial home, 4chan’s b/board (WARNING contains pornography material and other material that is intentionally offensive)
Communication Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), website for Canada’s NSA equivalent
The Corbett Report: An alternative news source containing articles, podcasts, and video clips that directly contradict the disinformation and propaganda distributed by many governments and corporations
Google: The search engine’s history in detail
The Guardian’s Edward Snowden & NSA Files
WikiLeaks: Website for the controversial news non-profit that published the War Files and US diplomatic cables, leaked by Bradley Manning. Contains original source documents for most stories

Unit 10 — Death of the Information Expert?

Required Readings
Bavelier, D., Green, C.S., Han, D. H., Renshaw, P. F., Merzenich, M. M., & Gentile, D. A. (2011) Brains on video games
Suggested Readings
Cunningham, T. (2011, April 28) Have you got goldfish memory syndrome? A third of women can’t remember their own phone number—and it’s all down to information overload
Kakutani, M. (2007, June 29) The cult of the amateur
Suggested Viewings (and Listening)
Basen, I. (Author), & Enright, M. (Host). (2012, September 9) The big disruption: Universities in the digital age
Corbett, J. (2013, November 30) The Corbett Report. Episode 288: Open source journalism
Klose, S. (Director). (2013) TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay away from keyboard
Suggested Websites
BitTorrent: Website for the Internet technology company BitTorrent, which invented—and runs—the world’s most popular P2P file-sharing software Ward Cunningham’s Wiki website that started the Wiki revolution
Google Earth: Google’s revolutionary program that lets you explore distant lands from the comfort of your laptop
The Corbett Report: Website for popular citizen journalist, James Corbett. Corbett provides weekly podcasts as well as interviews, articles and videos about current events and suppressed history from an independent perspective
The Pirate Bay: World’s number one P2P file-sharing website
Wikipedia: The largest Wiki in the world and sixth most visited website
YouTube: The Internet Mecca for user-generated content and amateur-to-amateur video tutorials