Course Requirements


We expect that you’ll feel inclined to take part in this lecture and workshop series, which constitutes the creative and intellectual “hub” of the School of Media Studies and serves to represent the breadth of what Media Studies, as a field, is and can be. Your presence and engagement will help to foster a sense of community, which benefits us all internally, and to cultivate a reputation for SMS as a vibrant site for intellectual and creative production, which helps us to foster relationships with other institutions and enhances the reputation of the school.

New York-based students will be expected to attend and sign in at the beginning of all scheduled Monday night meetings. Online students will be expected to watch the lecture online; you can either join us live, via Zoom, or watch a recording of the class, which will be posted to our website within 24 hours of the on-site meeting. See the “Attendance for Online Students” page on our class website for more instructions.

During most sessions, we’ll pose a reflection question, which will invite you to connect the week’s discussion to your own goals and practices. On-site students are expected to record their two- to three-sentence responses on an index card (provided in class), and to submit their cards to their TAs at the end of the class meeting. Online students are expected to email their weekly responses to their TAs by Friday at 5pm EST. (Given that we have such a small class, these reflections won’t be necessary. We’re hoping our weekly discussions, group conversations, Zoom comments, and TA wrangling will be sufficient to help everyone feel engaged.)

Students are permitted two excused absences over the course of the semester.

Digital Etiquette. Laptops, iPads, and phones can serve as important learning tools. Therefore, we do not want to preclude their use in class. All we ask is that you use this technology courteously and appropriately, to help you engage with the class, not to check out. Burying your face in a screen throughout our class meetings demonstrates disrespect toward our guests and reflects poorly on you and us.


All students are expected to review all readings/screenings/etc. listed on the syllabus for each class meeting. Even if you are not assigned to particular guest presenters, you are still expected to review the texts related to their areas of specialization, so you can familiarize yourself with the areas of research and practice that they represent (thus enabling you to develop a broad understanding of what’s happening in our field), and so you can prepare yourself to participate in our discussions preceding and following the guests’ visits. Any one of you might be called on randomly during these discussions and asked to share your own informed responses to our readings and our presenters’ work.


Students will be organized into groups and asked to work collaboratively to frame one presentation week, which typically comprises two presenters: a pair of scholars, artists, or practitioners who demonstrate the myriad outlets for media study: traditional scholarship, activism, public intellectualism, media production, artwork, entrepreneurship, etc.

Individual groups, which may include both on-site and online students, can determine which platforms — e.g., email, Skype,, Slack, Google Docs, in-person meetings — will best allow them to communicate and collaborate with one another. On-site students should make special effort to include their online classmates, and online students should be proactive in reaching out to their on-site classmates. Lots of businesses and organizations — particularly those with globally distributed offices and “flex time” or telecommuting programs — involve “blended” or “mixed-presence” groups; we can perhaps learn from their strategies and tools for negotiating (and even exploiting) the geographic and temporal distances between team members. 

See also the Helsinki Design Lab’s Creative Collaborations handbook, Sacramento State University’s tips for writing in groups (pp. 52-55), and UNC-Chapel Hill’s list of recommendations for negotiating collaborative work. Your TAs can also help you develop collaborative strategies.

Your group will be responsible for:

1. Framing the discussion during the “prep week” dedicated to your assigned presenters’ visit.

  • These “prep weeks” typically happen a few weeks before your guests’ visits and serve to prepare you – and the entire class – to situate our guests’ work within the larger field, and to engage in an intelligent discussion around their work.
  • All guests were invited to recommend readings and other media for students to review in advance of their visits. Your group should summarize the main themes in these resources, identify particular areas of resonance and discord among the texts and our guests’ practice, highlight issues of particular interest to individual group members, flag areas of confusion or contention, and pose two or three questions for our in-class discussion. As a graduate student, you’ll most likely be asked to lead at least a few classroom discussions — so this should be good practice! If you’re new to discussion-leading, check out some of these tips.
  • Each group will have a total of 20 minutes for their in-class framing discussion. Every group member must contribute in some way; online students might ask on-site students to speak on their behalves, make a short audio- or video-recording we can play in class, or participate live via Zoom (if you opt for the latter, we’ll need to do a test run before class begins!).

2. Creating an annotated bibliography / mediagraphy, due by 6pm one week after the prep week dedicated to your assigned presenters’ visit.

  • Building upon our “prep week” discussion (during which you’ll likely have received many reference recommendations), your group can now supplement your list of assigned readings by conducting an environmental scan of other related resources in the field:
    • resources that expand the scope of our guests’ work, by situating it within broader discourses and deeper historical context, and by drawing parallels to related work in other fields and in other modalities (e.g., articles, books, documentaries, podcasts);
    • resources that help us to better understand the macro-scale contours of our presenters’ oeuvres or the trajectories of their work;
    • resources that identify similar work by other scholars and practitioners;
    • resources that acknowledge historical or contemporary applications for the type of work our guests are doing;
  • Your bibliography / mediagraphy should include at least five contributions from each group member, including a mix of scholarly and popular texts and, if applicable, media in diverse formats.
    • To demonstrate that you know how to situate our discussion within an academic discourse, at least two of each student’s contributions should be scholarly books and articles.
    • Your group should adopt a consistent bibliographic format: MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.
    • Your annotation for each resource should be between 100 and 150 words. See “Finding Sources,” “Reading Effectively,” and “Abstracts + Annotated Bibliographies” for more guidance.
    • Each entry should be tagged by its contributor (e.g., you might include a short byline – “Contributed by Jane Doe” – at the end of each entry).
    • Your final submitted list should be proofread and organized according to some logic, with headings identifying groupings of different kinds of resources (e.g., “historical context,” “international applications,” “similar artists,” etc).
    • Please create your bibliography on Google Docs and share it with Shannon and your TA.

3. On the day of your assigned presenter’s visit, introducing our guests (by simply reading their biographies at the start of class), then kicking off the Q&A by asking two or three questions.

  • Of course it’s impossible to predict what, precisely, our presenters will share with us – but based on your research on their past work, and the broader reading you’ve done for your environmental scan, you and your group members should consult with one another in advance of your assigned lecture to identify what aspects of your presenter’s work most interest you, most trouble you, most inspire you, etc. And through this discussion you can identify issues that you’ll want to raise in the lecture Q&A. Your questions might address not only the content of the guests’ presentation, but also their methodology and creative processes, research and production resources and tools, sources of funding, etc.
  • At the very end of the lecture, you’ll kick off the Q&A. You can choose how to delegate this responsibility; one of you could be your group’s inquisitor, or you could take turns. You will have to improvise, to some degree.
  • Please see our tips for “Engaging with Presentations and Asking Questions.”

4. Submitting a collaboratively-created descriptive and critical response to the presentation.

  • These responses might take a variety of forms: a 1,500- to 1,800-word jointly-written text; a 1,500- to 1,800-word round-robin Q&A amongst the group members, in which each explores how the presentation informed his/her own thinking and practice; a creative response, perhaps in the form of a video or podcast (five minutes max!), visual notes, an information map, etc. You could even design multiple sections in hybrid forms.
  • Make an effort to work in the readings and material from your annotated bibliographies. And please include proper citations where appropriate!
  • Groups must send Shannon — either via email in the form of a Word Doc, or via Google Drive (I’ll need to be able to insert editorial margin comments) — complete, edited, proofread drafts* or rough cuts of their responses, including embedded media or links to all media, no later than 6pm on the Monday following the lecture.
    • *Nota bene: Many of the “drafts” I’ve received over the past few years have been rife with typos, grammatical errors, repetition, non sequiturs, obfuscatory language, etc. This messiness doubles the amount of time it takes me to make sense of and respond to the work — which, in turn, limits the amount of time I have to offer substantive, non-mechanical feedback to you. This is not to say that your drafts need to be perfect (the whole point of submitting drafts is to get feedback and improve!); rather, I’m asking simply that you make sure your draft is as structurally sound, clean, and intelligible, as possible, so I can offer feedback on the content, rather than merely the format and mechanics.
  • Shannon will then provide feedback within two days (groups will receive only one round of edits, so these drafts should be in good shape!), and groups will revise accordingly and re-submit their completed responses to Shannon no later than 6pm on the Monday two weeks after the lecture.
  • Useful Resources:
    • You can review past students’ (poorly archived) responses here.
    • Here are a few other examples of event responses: Shannon’s response, published in Nautilus magazine, to the 2013 “New|Media Archives” discussion @ NYU; Liz Losh’s more informal response to the 2013 Feminist Information Tech conference; Austin Kleon’s visual notes on the 2010 TedX PennQuarter conference. You needn’t emulate these examples; I provide them merely to give you a sense of how others productively recap academic events for public audiences or for their personal benefit.

5. Submitting a group assessment: one from each group member.

  • As your group submits your final, revised critical response, each of you should complete this short form assessing your group’s collective work and your individual group members’ contributions. The form recognizes you by your newschool email address, so you might want to make sure you’re logged in to MyNewSchool or before accessing the form.
  • These assessments are due by 6pm two weeks after your assigned presenters’ visit.


  • On your assigned presenters’ prep week: 20-minute framing of our discussion
  • One week after prep week: 20-item annotated bibliography / mediagraphy, shared with Shannon and your TA
  • On your assigned presenters’ lecture evening: two or three questions to kick off Q&A
  • One week after presenters’ lecture: draft of critical response due to Shannon
  • Two weeks after presenters’ lecture: final draft of critical response due to Shannon and group assessment due to your TA.