You will quickly learn that this course is not a ringing endorsement for media technology—nor is it a stinging critique. It is a Media Ecology course using, as its theoretical foundation, the work of Marshall McLuhan—the guy who said “The medium is the message.” (People have been trying to figure out what he meant ever since.)
Media Ecology looks at media as environment. We also look at works that see both the bright and dark sides of technology. You will probably find McLuhan’s writing provocative, confusing and yet, eerily relevant to the issues of media and technology we face today. As Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine put it: “Everyone thought McLuhan was talking about TV, but what he was really talking about was the Internet.”
We are also reading a number of more recently published works that look at the impact of technology on society. It should prove interesting—especially for those of us well-tethered to media technology in all parts of our lives. I am no exception.
The other big difference in this course is that we will not be using media in the classroom—not even for your presentations. No iPhones, no iPads, no computers. We’re going back to the pre-digital and using paper and, occasionally, whiteboard markers. Mostly, we will be talking—to each other.
I’m looking forward to it!