The Internet (CPSC 104) – summer 2017

Welcome to The Internet: Technology, Information, and Issues (CPSC 104), an online course at the University of Mary Washington, Summer 2017 (June 26–July 27), with Kris Shaffer.

This is a course on the internet on the internet.

Class begins Monday, June 26! Students, see the Getting Started page first, and be sure to order the textbooks if you haven't already. You can also check out the syllabus and the assignment & activity schedule, as well as the topics and activities we'll be working on.

And check out How to Internet, the collaborative guide to the modern web that we are building throughout the course.


The future of digital culture — yours, mine, and ours — depends on how well we learn to use the media that have infiltrated, amplified, distracted, enriched, and complicated our lives. ... [T]he ways people use new media in the first years of an emerging communication regime can influence the way those media end up being used and misused for decades to come.
-Howard Rheingold, Net Smart, p. 1

How does the internet work? How has it changed since its inception? How has the web changed the way we conduct our business? entertain ourselves? communicate with loved ones? engage in politics? try to influence others? What about our society is different ― and what is the same ― now that the internet has achieved the level of dominance it has in our culture? What new "literacies" are required for those of us who use the internet regularly to do so critically and productively?

These are just a few of the questions we will engage in this course as we explore the architecture of the internet and its impact on society, with a view towards developing mindful, critical practices for our own life on the web.