DIGITAL 285 - Social Life in the Digital World
Winter 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Digital Studies (DIGITAL)
Department: LSA American Culture
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of department.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


What began less than 60 years ago as a technological tool of America’s defense system — the ARPANET — has evolved into the internet and now affects most aspects of daily living for everyone in the developed Northern Hemisphere.

As used here, the term “digital world” includes those aspects of life that are mediated by computers and other advanced forms of telecommunications, an increasing percentage of reality in contemporary society.

  • To what degree does the digital world reflect and reproduce the culture and structure of the physical society that created it?
  • To what degree has the digital world changed the larger society?
  • Today’s college students are “natives” in the digital world. As they seek to understand their own identities and the social context in which they exist, will they be helped by the concepts of sociology, most of which were formulated before the invention of computers? Or are dramatic new understandings of social life required?

This course will explore a series of foundational concepts in sociology: structure, culture, inequality, communities, socialization, presentation of self, deviance, institutions, and social movements. In each case, the traditional concept will be explained and its possible application to the digital world will be explored.

The instructor is an “immigrant” to the digital world. He hopes to learn more about this culture from the experiences of class members, in exchange for helping them to use “the sociological imagination” in understanding their own lives and society.

Course Requirements:

Assignments will include: a group blog, a group “current events” presentation, and an online PowerPoint presentation. Quizzes, attendance, and in-class responses to discussion questions will also contribute to the final grade.

Intended Audience:

This course welcomes entirely online participation.

Class Format:

Instruction Mode: As a DC (Distance due to COVID) course, all aspects of this course will be fully compatible with remote online learning.

Learning Mode: Students will have the option of participating synchronously for weekly lectures on Zoom or watching recorded sessions asynchronously.

Course Teaching/Assessment: Quizzes will be given through Canvas Quizzes synchronously, with options to accommodate asynchronous needs. There will be a series of small participation exercises, plus a written assignment and class presentation.

Technology Platform: The course will use Canvas for asynchronous online components. Synchronous meetings will be conducted on Zoom. Students should have access to camera and microphone.


DIGITAL 285 - Social Life in the Digital World
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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