week 1 – introductions and context


  • Who are we and why are we in this class?
  • What does the world of communication look like in an digital age?
  • Course overview, expectations, syllabus review
  • Technologies: WordPress
  • Multimedia: Did You Know 4
  • Syllabus as pdf

Syllabus Exercise

Using the online syllabus and assignments page, answer these questions individually. We will then answer them in small groups.

  1. Where do you find the readings for this class?
  2. What are the responsibilities of discussion leaders?
  3. How often (and when) do students “blog” their reading reflections?
  4. How important is class participation to the final grade?
  5. What other assignments are posted to the blog?
  6. What are the project possibilities in the class?
  7. What is due finals week?
  8. Are there any tests? Is there a final exam?



1) Create student blogs using Word Press.
By using blogging software to reflect on your readings, you practice using this new technology. By customizing your blog space, you develop your personal design aesthetic. By categorizing blog posts, you are becoming literate about Web 2.0 technologies and folksonomy.

  • Create your blog! Go to Word Press; select the new account button and follow the prompts. Notes:
      • Recommended: consider using your UWNetID as your login/member name. This will make your WordPress URL <uwnetid.wordpress.com> and makes it easy for me and other class members to send you email. [If it’s not available, use something else. I’ll note the email info on the student blogs page.]
      • Use an email account that you can access in the lab, because you will not be able to move to the next steps until you activate the blog by clicking on a link in an email from WordPress.
  • Activate your blog
    Log in to your email account and find the WordPress mail that contains instructions. Click the link and your blog will be live! This step “proves” you are a human and not a ‘bot.
  • Customize your blog
    Required settings:

    • settings -> general: Create a distinctive name (separate from your login, not Com495). You can change this at any time.
    • settings -> general: Change the time to [-8 or Los Angeles] so that we all have the same timestamp.
    • posts –> categories: We will be categorizing all of our blog entries (a best practice), so create the following categories
        • Assignment
        • Discussion Leader
        • Reading

    Recommended settings:

    • settings –> privacy: Make the blog public; include in search engines or public listings if you want the outside world to more easily find your blog
    • settings -> discussion: To avoid spam, enable “Users must be registered and logged in to comment”
    • settings -> discussion: De-select “must approve comments”

2) Edit “Hello, World”

  • posts –> edit
    Change the title/subject if you like. Delete the current content (highlight – delete) and replace it with a little information about yourself and why you are in the course. Categorize the blog post assignment (click the tick mark for assignment – Categories are in the right margin). Click “save”.

3) Give me your blog URL before leaving class!

4) Sign up for discussion leader slots before leaving class!

For Monday

  • Complete this digital media skills survey
  • Reading assignments are on the home page of the course site.
  • Bring your written reading reflection to class in a digital form. This could be on a thumb drive or as an email to yourself or as a document you’ve stored on Dropbox, for example. We will post them together.
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