Preview Workflow

Viewing: COM 587 : Internet & Society

Last approved: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 15:00:33 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 15:00:33 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
COM (Communication)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Internet & Society
Internet & Society
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Communication (16COM)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Upon Demand
Fall 2016
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Prefix/NumberSemester/Term OfferedEnrollment
COM598Fall 2014 and Fall 20156 / 11
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Adriana A. de Souza e Silva
Associate Professor

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
16COMMSMaster of Science Communication, Thesis OptionalElective
Overview of the development of the internet and its social uses, including the historical context that led to the development of the ARPANET and the World Wide Web. Analysis of the transition from mainframes to personal computers, to the internet of things. Treatment of principal social and communication issues related to the use of the internet, such as digital privacy, digital divide, net neutrality, and civic engagement. Development of mobile internet, social networking sites and location-based social networks.

The internet is all around us. Using mobile phones and location-aware technologies, people are browsing information wherever they happen to be. As a result, physical location has become an important factor in how information is categorized and accessed. From online maps to location-based social networks and games, location awareness is becoming central to how we understand the internet today. However, digital information was categorized and accessed differently in the past.

This course explores social uses of the internet, focusing on its historical development as a digital network. In addition to looking at the history of the internet, from the ARPANET to the mobile web, it also explores an emerging form of networked interactions called net locality. Net locality is what happens to individuals and society when virtually everything is located or locatable. This course will run as a seminar and explores the following key topics:

An overview of the development of the internet:

  • Conceptual origins of the internet, such as Vannevar Bush's Memex and hypertext theory,

  • Facts that led to the development of the ARPANET and the World Wide Web, such as the transition from mainframes to personal computers

  • The development of HTML as the web's main original programming language and how the internet's functionality was originally based on communication protocols that aimed at sharing resources.

Social uses of the internet:

  • Usenet, BBS and MUDs as the origins of blogs, wikis, and social networking sites.

  • The development of what was called web 2.0. and co-related issues such as regulation, privacy and digital divide. online.

Location and Net locality:

  • The affordances of digital networks embedded with mobility and location awareness.

  • Location-based services and location-based social networks.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

College(s)Contact NameStatement Summary
College of EngineeringGeorge RouskasBegin forwarded message:

From: George Rouskas <>
Subject: Re: COM587 approval
Date: February 22, 2016 at 8:57:12 PM EST
To: Douglas Reeves <>
Cc: Adriana de Souza e Silva <>, George Rouskas <>


The CSC and ECE networking faculty agree that there is no overlap between this course and the courses offered in our departments.

Best regards,


George Rouskas, IEEE Fellow
Professor and Director of Graduate Programs
NC State Computer Science
College of Humanities and Social SciencesSusanna LeeBegin forwarded message:

From: Susanna Lee <>
Subject: Re: COM587 consult
Date: February 23, 2016 at 12:53:16 PM EST
To: Adriana de Souza e Silva <>
Cc: William Kimler <>, Ross Bassett <>, David Zonderman <>


I consulted with our faculty members, and the History Department has no objections.



Susanna Lee
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Programs
Department of History
Withers 260
Campus Box 8108
Raleigh, NC 27695
This course will continue to be be taught as part of the instructor's regular course load. No special resources are required to teach this course.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

• Critically reflect upon the state of the internet in today´s society;.

• Describe and analyze the main historical developments of the internet as a digital network;

• Identify basic functionalities of the internet as a digital network;

• Explain contemporary issues related to the mobile internet and location-aware technologies;

• Identify issues related to privacy, surveillance, and exclusion that arise from the ubiquitousness of net-localities;

• Critically analyze the social implications of net local practices for the experience of urban spaces. 

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Written Assignment20Blog posts, due once per week (see syllabus)
Oral Presentation20In-class presentation and leading of class discussion (see syllabus)
Forum_post15 Wiki entries in the course's source database, due once per week (see syllabus)
Major Paper30Final paper (see syllabus)
Oral Presentation15Presentation on final paper (see syllabus)
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Course introductionWeek 1Choose presentations
Before the Internet Week 2Assignments:
Blog 1 / Wiki 1

In class activities:
Presentation 1
Alan Kay's lecture with Engelbart's demo.
Memex's demo.

Bush, V. (1945). "As we may think” (pp. 101-108).

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "The fastest million dollars" (pp. 11-42).

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "A block here, some stones there" (pp. 42-81).

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "The third university" (pp. 82-102).

ARPANET (1970s)Week 3Assignments:
Blog 2 / Wiki 2

In class activities:
Presentation 2
Video: Warriors of the Net

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "Hacking away and hollering" (pp. 160-186).

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "Email" (pp. 187-218).

Abbate, J. (1999). "From ARPANET to Internet” (pp. 113-145).

Leiner et. al. (2009). "A brief history of the Internet” (pp. 22-31).
GUI (1980s)Week 4Assignments:
Blog 3 / Wiki 3

In class activities:
Presentation 3
Pirates of the Silicon Valley

XEROX Parc movie

Apple commercial

Streeter, T. (2011). "Missing the net” (pp. 69-92)

Hafner & Lyon (1996). "A rocket on our hands" (pp. 219-256).

Turkle, S. (1995). "A tale of two aesthetics” (pp. 29-49).

Abbate, J. (1999). "Popularizing the Internet” (pp. 181-195).
WWW (1990s)Week 5Assignments:
Blog 4 / Wiki 4

In class activities:
Presentation 4
TED talks: Tim Berners_lee

XEROX Parc movie

Apple commercial

Baehr & Lang (2012). "Hypertext Theory" (pp. 39-56).

Hameri, A., & Nordberg, M. (1998). "From experience: Linking available resources and technologies to create a solution for document sharing" (pp. 322-334).

Abbate, J. (1999). "Popularizing the Internet” (pp. 195-220).

Berners-Lee, et. al. (1994). "The World Wide Web" (pp. 791-798).
Web 2.0 (2000s)Week 6Assignments:
Blog 5 / Wiki 5

In class activities:
Presentation 5

Allen, M. (2012). "What was Web 2.0? Versions as the dominant mode of internet history (pp. 260-275).

Barassi, V., & Treré, E. (2012). "Does Web 3.0 come after Web 2.0? Deconstructing theoretical assumptions through practice” (p. 1269-1285).

Blank, G., & Reisdorf, B. (2012). "The participatory web: A user perspective on Web 2.0” (pp. 537-554).

Postigo, (2011). "Questioning the Web 2.0 discourse: Social roles, production, values, and the case of the human rights portal” (pp. 181-193).
Synchronous CommunicationWeek 7Assignments:
Blog 6 / Wiki 6

In class activities:
Presentation 6
Practical activity: LambdaMOO and Adventure

Dibbell, J. (1998). "The scarlet balloon: Or tinygeography, a long view and an overview" (pp. 39-69).

Turkle, S. (1995). "Aspects of the self” (pp. 177-209)

Reid, E. (1999). "Hierarchy and power: Social control in cyberspace” (pp. 107-134).

Merikivi, J., Vernhagen, T., & Feldberg, F. (2012). "Having belief(s) in social virtual worlds: A decomposed approach” (pp. 1169-1188).
Asynchronous CommunicationWeek 8 Assignments:
Blog 7 / Wiki 7

In class activities:
Presentation 7
Demo Wikipedia
TED Talk on Wikipedia

Smith, M. (1999). "Invisible crowds in cyberspace: Mapping the social structure of the Usenet” (pp. 195-218).

Papacharissi, Z., & Meraz, S. (2013). "Blogging Culture: Content and representation in blogs” (pp. 367-385).

Marwick, A., & boyd, d. (2010). "I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience” (pp. 114-133).

Barlow, A. (2007). "The growth of the discussion boards and the birth of the blogs" (pp. 143-152).
SNS/LBSNWeek 9Assignments:
Blog 8 / Wiki 8

In class activities:
Presentation 8

Steinfield, C., Ellison, N.,, & Vitak, J. (2013). "Online social network sites and the concept of social capital” (pp. 115-131).

Baym, N., & boyd, d. (2012). "Socially mediated publicnss: An introduction” (pp. 320-329).

de Souza e Silva, A., & Frith, J. (2010). "Locative mobile social networks: Mapping communication and location in urban spaces" (pp. 485-505).

Humphreys, L. (2010). "Mobile social networks and urban public space" (pp. 763-778).
Net Locality / Mobile InternetWeek 10Assignments:
Blog 9 / Wiki 9

In class activities:
Presentation 9

Gane, N., & Beer, G. (2008). "Network” (pp. 15-34).

De Souza e Silva & Gordon, E. (2013). "Net Locality” (pp. 134-142).

Humphreys, L., Von Pape, T., & Karnowski, V. (2013). "Evolving mobile media: Uses and conceptualizations of the mobile Internet” (pp. 491-507).

Goggin, G. (2014). "Shared, Life is More”. (pp. 1-30)
Digital PrivacyWeek 11Assignments:
Blog 10 / Wiki 10

In class activities:
Presentation 10

Solove, D. (2004). "The rise of the digital dossier” (pp. 13-26).

Solove, D. (2004). "Kafka and Orwell” (pp. 27-55).

Dourish, & Bell (2011). "Rethinking privacy” (pp. 137-160).

de Souza e Silva & Frith (2012). "Locational Privacy” (111-135).
Digital DivideWeek 12Assignments:
Blog 11 / Wiki 11

In class activities:
Presentation 11

Epstein, D. (2011). "The analog history of the 'digital divide'” (pp. 127-144).

Harambam, Aupers, & Houtman, (2013). "The contentious gap: From digital divide to cultural beliefs about online interactions” (pp. 1093-114).

Pearce, K., & Rice, R. (2013). "Digital divides from access to activities: Comparing mobile and personal computer Internet users” (pp. 721-744).

Sassi, S. (2005). "Cultural differentiation or social segregation? Four approaches to the digital divide" (pp. 684-700).
Civic EngagementWeek 13Assignments:
Blog 12 / Wiki 12

In class activities:
Presentation 12

Gordon, E., & de Souza e Silva, A. “Community” (pp. 105-132).

Hirst, M. (2012). “One tweet does not a revolution make: Technological determinism, media and social change” (pp. 1-11).
Final presentationsWeek 14 & 15Final presentations
FinalsWeek 16Final paper due
Consult from history with recommended tweaks to catalog description.

mlnosbis 2/16/2016: Possible consultation with College of Engineering (Doug Reeves) to see if that college offers any courses related to the history of internet and if this course conflicts with any Engineering courses. Department should include consultation notes from History and Engineering in the "Consultation" field.

ghodge 2/17/2016 Agree. Please include both consultations before ABGS review.

ABGS Reviewer Comments:
-No major problems and the consultations seem supportive and appropriate.
Key: 7317