Producing Participatory Media

Spring 2005
Fridays 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Room 441

Instructor: Shawn Van Every
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-4 PM or by appointment
Office Hours Sign-up

Class Listserv:
Class Wiki:
Class Blog:
Class Streaming:
Class Chat Room:
New Class Streaming:
Live Video Stream in QuickTime:


Traditional broadcast media (television and radio) are in a time of transition. Broadcast is being pushed in new directions by the increasing ease of producing compelling material, and by the interactive and social nature of the internet. Blogs and other internet based social networks have given rise to an audience that is eager to engage with and participate in the creation of media. This appetite is quickly moving into the realm of television and radio with new avenues for distribution and new means for audience interaction offering serious challenges to traditional broadcast.

The goal of this course is to introduce students to new technologies and methods for creating participatory media and making it available. Students will develop new ideas for helping this transition along both on the internet and in the traditional broadcast space. This course will have weekly assignments, student presentations, guest speakers and will culminate with group projects.


Grades will be determined according to the following breakdown:
-Regular Assignments 35%
-Mid-Term Paper 15%
-Participation and Attendance 25%
-Final Project 25%


It is expected that everyone in the class will create and maintain a blog for their thoughts on readings, assignments, research and interesting items. This is a very fast moving space we will all need each other's help to keep abreast of what is going on so I will attempt to reBlog relevant postings from your site on the class blog each week.

Please enter your name, email address and URL to your site (you can always edit this later) on the class wiki


This class is expected to be participatory in nature and discussions will certainly take place outside of the classroom. Along with the blog, one primary vehicles for these discussion as well as administrative issues will be the listserv.

Please signup for the class listserv.

Class Streaming

As previous mentioned, this class will be participatory in nature, in a sense a laboratory for what we are studying. Each week, following the second week (when we will learn how to do it) we will be streaming the class with an interactive chat component. You are required to skip class for one week and watch the stream and participate in the class through the chat application. (It is expected that you will watch the stream from a location with broadband internet access, such as at ITP. The stream will not support dial-up connection speeds.) The following week I expect to see a blog entry (text, images, video or audio) with some analysis (likes, dislikes, suggestions, improvements, features and so on) of your experience. Each week we will also have two camera and chat room operators that can switch off half way through. In this way everyone gets hands on experience.

Sign up for dates to watch and operate the camera/chat application on the class wiki.

Laptops and WiFi

I love having WiFi available and I think it is a valuable tool for use in the classroom. Unfortunately, it can very easily be a distraction as well. ITP has instituted as default a no laptop use in the classroom rule. We are going to break that rule and instead stick to the following rule: Refrain from email and web browsing at all times especially when other students are presenting and during discussions. Of course, the chat application mentioned above is fair game any time.

Weekly Assignments

We will have small weekly assignments that are relevant to the previous weeks material. Due to the fact that we are exploring this material from both a production and audience standpoint, most assignments are two part, one part production and one part audience. This means that for each assignment you will need to both produce something and comment on other people's pieces. In order to accomplish this as a class, the first part of each assignment will be due by the end of the day Tuesday before class and the second part due by the end of the day on Thursday. Assignments are required and turning in an assignment late will adversely affect your grade.


Attendance is mandatory (except for your stream viewing day). Please inform me via email if you are going to miss a class. Habitually showing up late for class or an excessive number of absences will adversely affect your grade.

Class Participation

As if I haven't said this enough. This class will be participatory, you are expected to participate in discussions and give feedback to other students both in class and via their project blogs. This (along with attendance) is 25% of your overall grade.


There will be a short paper, no more than 5 pages, due on March 11, the day before Spring Break. Although the specific topic is left up to you, some topic suggestions are as follows:
-A reaction to one of the suggested readings
-An argument for or against media oligarchy
-A tool or project idea (relating to the class material)
-An analysis of a television or radio program that enables some type of audience interaction
-An idea for adding audience participation to an existing television or radio program

Final Projects

This class will culminate with group projects. It is expected that these will be either television shows in coordination with NYU TV (BCat and MNN are possibilities), radio shows (possibly on WNYU) or live webcasts. Other projects such as tools or vehicles for interaction will be considered but use in combination with a programming element will be encouraged.

Books and Websites
We the Media, Dan Gillmor 2004 (Website/Blog)
Radio and The Internet Newsletter (RAIN)
ITV Today
Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine
J.D. Lasica New Media Musings
Jay Dedman's Video Blog

Although not explicitly required reading, the above books and websites are essential for further understanding and will help immensely in class discussions. They also make great material for papers.

The class blog on the other hand will be required reading, keep an eye on it.

Class Schedule

Week 1 - January 21

Topics: Assignments:

Week 2 - January 28

Topics: Emulating broadcast on the net. The Nut and Bolts of Streaming Handout


Week 3 - February 4

Topics: Going beyond TV. Nuts and Bolts of Streaming Continued Handout


Week 4 - February 11

Topics: The current state of affairs. Emerging Practices of Internet based Media


Week 5 - February 18

Topics: More Emerging Practices


Week 6 - February 25

Class Cancelled: See Week 6 - March 10 below

Week 7 - March 4

Outside Guest: Rick Mandler, VP Enhanced TV, ABC Television


Assignments: Paper Due Next Week

Week 6 - March 10

Make-up class
Topics: Assignments: Paper Due Tomorrow

Week 8 - March 11

Outside Guest: Jay Dedman, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Video Blogger Extrodinare and all around citizen's media enthusiast.

Topics: ITV on the Cheap, Using the Internet along with Broadcasting Assignments: Think about final project groups
Do one of the following:


Week 9 - March 25

Topics: What is Next..? Assignments:

Week 10 - April 1

Topics: Putting it all together. Assignments:

Week 11 - April 8

Topics: Finalize it.


Week 12 - April 15

Topics: Final Project Walk Through and Presentation/Broadcast Preparations

Week 13 - April 22

Final Project Presentations/Broadcasts

Week 14 - April 29

Final Project Presentations/Broadcasts