Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Media Reform

In the last few pages of Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman makes several suggestions for fixing the problems represented and created by modern media, particularly TV and computers. Which of his suggestions strike you as most feasible? Why? Do you have any suggestions of your own? You should. Please comment by 10 a.m. Wed., Oct. 8.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Information-Action Ratio

Describe what Postman means by the term "information-action ratio." Now answer his question: How often does it occur that news causes you to alter plans, take some action, etc.? (He's not talking about weather or traffic news, but so-called "serious" news, the kind that shows up on the network evening news or the pages of a newspaper.) What does your answer tell you about the nature of what passes for news today? (You might recall the Crane poem if that helps or Postman's quotes from Thoreau or watch this music video: http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=PsGwsIlb-Es.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Portable Electronic Devices

I want to reiterate something I said in a previous e-mail: keep portable electronic devices out of sight during class time. That was a condition stated at the outset of the class, both by me in person and on the syllabus. If you can't abide by it, please officially withdraw from the class. The use of such devices during class is not only disruptive to teaching and learning, but also personally insulting to me. I do my best to treat students with concern and respect; I expect something of the same in return. If that seems too much to ask -- though, of course, it's not -- then, as I said, please offically witdraw.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Deep Ecology

Read the handout from the book Deep Ecology. Now apply the questions it asks of technology to Web 2.0. Based on Andrew Keen's analysis in The Cult of the Amateur and/or your own experience, does the Web meet the criteria for a "fully informed, appropriate technology"? Please post your comments (which should be proofread before posting; sloppy writing is simply unacceptable) by the start of class Thursday, Oct. 23.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Is the Daily Show Amusing Us to Death?

Please discuss by Monday, Sept. 15, whether and how "The Daily Show," as described in the New York Times article and as you have possibly experienced it on TV, confirms, modifies, or refutes Postman's thesis in Amusing Ourselves to Death.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Amusing Ourselves to Death, Chaps. 1-3

After reading the first three chapters of Amusing Ourselves to Death, what would you say is the major premise of Postman's book? Do you find yourself in agreement with it? Why or why not? Be as specific and concrete as possible in your response (such as by including examples). Please respond no latter than noon, Wednesday, Sept. 9.