Connected Media Practices

MDST 5001

What are the economies that underlie our connections? This course will undertake a journey into the practice and theory of media entrepreneurship, introducing the dominant norms of entrepreneurial cultures, together with avenues for critique and transformation. By turning a critical eye to the networks around us today, we will learn to design tools and economies for networks to come.


Nathan Schneider
Armory 1B24, meetings by appointment via email


  • Gain fluency in the idioms of dominant entrepreneurial cultures
  • Develop a repertoire for strategic engagement with digital infrastructure
  • Practice social entrepreneurship and teamwork



Throughout the semester, each student will (as a percentage of the total course grade):

  • Each week, turn in on Canvas before class time and be prepared to share in class a Connection (25%), which includes:
    • a sketch, in text or images, of an entrepreneurial idea related to the week's topic, including a problem, an opportunity, and a value proposition
    • a explanatory reflection on how the sketch connects to the assigned materials, in several paragraphs with evidence of close examination
  • Be an active participant in every class discussion and demonstrate thoughtful engagement with assigned sources, augmenting them with relevant sources (20%)
  • At one class meeting during the semester, develop an imaginative way to lead the discussion of the week's assigned materials (10%)
  • Hold at least one in-person meeting with instructor during the course, by appointment (5%)

If you cannot attend a class meeting on a given week, please discuss the reason ahead of time with the instructor. Otherwise it will affect the participation grade.

Whitepaper project

The core of this course is a group-based project to propose, in detail, a networked enterprise for social impact. This may involve the development of a concept for a new network or a recommendation for dramatically improving an existing one. The whole class may work on a single project together, or students may work in groups of at least two. Plan for considerable collaboration time outside of class. Groups of students will produce a whitepaper outlining the structure, function, and economy of their proposed enterprise. (40%)

Each student will:

  • Take responsibility for one section of their group's whitepaper, between 1,800 and 2,000 words, including relevant visual aids, following appropriate citation standards
  • Articulate a challenge or problem and present background research on how other enterprises have addressed similar challenges and what options could be explored
  • Present one or two specific, plausible strategies, weighing their costs and benefits
  • Engage with at least two assigned materials from the course in a sophisticated fashion

The whitepaper project is a process, not just a result, including (with grades as a percentage of the project total):

  • Research plan of 500–700 words, including visuals such as sketches or charts (15%)
  • Complete draft in time for peer review (15%)
  • Participation in peer review of two fellow students' sections (10%)
  • Final draft, due on the last day of class (50%)
  • Group participation, based on anonymous feedback from collaborators (10%)

Sections will be evaluated individually. But to reflect our accountability to one another, all students are expected to help in evaluating one another's contributions to the whitepaper project. Feedback is anonymous to fellow students. Reflect on peers' projects based on the criteria in the Expectations section of this syllabus, as well as based on the student's contributions to the collegiality of the team effort. The final determination of this last grade will be made by the instructor, informed by peer feedback.


Based on the stated point structure, grades will be awarded as follows: A (94-100), A- (90-93), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D- (60-62), F (0-59). The minimum passing grade is 60 for undergraduates and 70 for graduate students.

Terms and conditions

Together, we agree to:

  • Work together to foster a respectful, mature, convivial community based on discussion, accommodation, and attention
  • Adhere to all university policies regarding academic integrity, accessibility, behavior, discrimination, misconduct, and religious observances; we take responsibility for understanding them and the relevant procedures
  • Respect student privacy, keeping any materials or statements shared in class confidential unless permission is granted to do otherwise
  • Refrain from the use of screen devices during class, except upon agreement with the instructor or for reasons of accessibility

If you find yourself in a position where lack of access to food, housing, health care, or other basic necessities interferes with your studies, consider seeking support from the Dean of Students and, if you feel comfortable doing so, your instructor. We will work to assist you however we can.


All due dates are at 9 a.m. in the appropriate Canvas assignment:

  • Research plan: 10/14
  • Whitepaper draft: 11/22
  • Complete whitepaper peer reviews: 11/25
  • Whitepaper final: 12/9


The core text for this course is an open-access textbook: Michelle Ferrier and Elizabeth Mays (eds.), Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Rebus Community, 2018). It is a practical introduction to media entrepreneurship, with a focus on journalism. Alongside it, we will explore critical and theoretical texts on related topics.

Entrepreneurialism (9/9)

Idea (9/16)

For whom? (9/23)

Reciprocity (9/30)

Guest visit (10/7)

Nonprofitism (10/14)

Precariat (10/21)

Leverage (10/28)

Speech acts (11/4)

Circulation (11/11)

Impermanence (11/18)

Adventures (12/2)

Celebration (12/9)

Whitepaper presentation and discussion

Further resources

This syllabus is a living document. Any part of it may be brought up for discussion and modified by a consensus of those present during any official class period.

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