Producing Participatory Media

(always a work in progress)

Summer 2006 - Session II
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30 PM - 9:25 PM
June 27th through August 3rd
721 Broadway, Room 441

Instructor: Shawn Van Every
Office Hours: Wednesdays 2-4 PM or by appointment
Office Hours Sign-up

Class Wiki
Class Listserv
Class Blog
Class Stream
New Class Stream


Traditional broadcast media (television and radio) are in a time of transition. Broadcast is being pushed in new directions by the increasing ease of producing compelling material, and by the interactive and social nature of the internet. Blogs and other internet based social networks have given rise to an audience that is eager to engage with and participate in the creation of media. This appetite is quickly moving into the realm of television and radio with new avenues for distribution and new means for audience interaction offering serious challenges to traditional broadcast.

The goal of this course is to introduce students to new technologies and methods for creating participatory media and making it available. Students will develop new ideas for helping this transition along both on the internet and in the traditional broadcast space. This course will have regular assignments, student presentations, guest speakers and will culminate with group projects.


Grades will be determined according to the following breakdown:
-Regular Assignments 25%
-Mid-Term Paper 15%
-Participation and Attendance 20%
-Presentation 15%
-Final Project 25%


It is expected that everyone in the class will create and maintain a blog for their assignments. Also, we will have a class blog that I hope you will all contribute thoughts and interesting items to. This is a very fast moving space we will all need each others help to keep abreast of what is going on. I will setup a username and password on this for each of you. I will also link to each of your blogs in the "blog roll" so we have a quick reference to everyone's work.

Please enter your name, preferred email address and the URL to your blog (you can always edit this later) on the class wiki


This class is expected to be participatory in nature and discussions will certainly take place outside of the classroom. Along with the blog, one primary vehicles for these discussions (as well as administrative issues) will be the listserv.

Please signup for the class listserv

Laptops and WiFi

I love having WiFi available and I think it is a valuable tool for use in the classroom. Unfortunately, it can very easily be a distraction as well. ITP has instituted as default a no laptop use in the classroom rule. We are going to break that rule and instead stick to the following rule: No laptop use when other students are presenting and during discussions. At other times, following along with class notes and related activities is acceptable.

Regular Assignments

We will have regular assignments that are relevant to class material. Due to the fact that we are exploring this material from both a production and audience standpoint, some assignments may be two part, one part production and one part audience. This means that for each assignment may need to both produce something and comment on other people's pieces. Assignments are required and turning in an assignment late will adversely affect your grade.


Attendance is mandatory. Please inform me via email if you are going to miss a class. Habitually showing up late for class or an excessive number of absences will adversely affect your grade.

Class Participation

As if I haven't said this enough. This class will be participatory, you are expected to participate in discussions and give feedback to other students both in class and via their project blogs. This (along with attendance) is 20% of your overall grade.


There will be a short paper, no more than 5 pages, due on July 28. Although the specific topic is left up to you, some topic suggestions are as follows:
-An argument for or against media oligarchy
-A tool or project idea (relating to the class material)
-An idea for adding audience participation to an existing television or radio program


Starting on the 3rd class, we will have student presentations. I will divide the class up into pairs or groups of three and each class one or two groups will give a 15 minute presentation about one of the following:
-A new participatory media technology (software, hardware or website)
-Content that is particularly compelling in the context of the class

Final Projects

This class will culminate with group projects. It is expected that these will be content driven rather than technology driven. Projects such as the development of a tool or a vehicle for interaction will be considered but should be used in combination with content elements.


The following two books are required reading for the class (I will be assigning chapters to read):
We the Media, Dan Gillmor 2004 (Website/Blog)
Television Disrupted, Shelly Palmer 2006 (Website)
(We the Media can be entirely downloaded for free:

The following books are optional, they make for good paper and presentation material:
Darknet, J.D. Lasica 2005 (Website/Blog)
(A good portion of Darknet is available as well:

Websites, Mailing lists and so on..

There are too many to list, here are a couple that will get you started:
Radio and The Internet Newsletter (RAIN)
ITV Today

Although not explicitly required reading, the above websites are essential for further understanding and will help immensely in class discussions. They also help in finding great material for papers and presentations.

The class blog on the other hand will be required reading, keep an eye on it.

Class Schedule

The class will be structured as follows: The first half, exploring emerging media related technologies available on the internet. The second half, thinking about and developing new ideas for how these tools might be used.

Class 1 - June 27

Topics: Handout


Class 2 - June 29

Topics: The current state of affairs. Emerging Practices of Internet based Media (Audio and Video) Handout


No Class - July 4

Class 3 - July 6

Topics: The current state of affairs. Emerging Practices of Internet based Media (Audio and Video) Handout


Class 4 - July 11

Topics: Emulating broadcast on the net. The Nut and Bolts of Streaming Handout


Class 5 - July 13

Topics: Going beyond TV. Nuts and Bolts of Streaming Continued Handout


Class 6 - July 18

Topics: More Emerging Practices Handout


Class 7 - July 20

Outside Guest: Nathan Freitas, Founder Open Network Television

Topics: Television in transition

Class 8 - July 25

Outside Guest: Andrew Michael Baron, Founder RocketBoom

Topics: Handout


Class 9 - July 27

Outside Guest: Rick Mandler, VP ABC's Enhanced Television

Topics: Handout


Class 10 - August 1

Topics: Finalize it.

Class 11 - August 3

Final Project Presentations Part 1 (Expect guests)


Class 12 - August 4

Final Project Presentations Part 2 (Expect guests)


Other Possible Topics