Welcome to Media Fluency for the Digital Age!

Welcome aboard and hello! This is J 176, Media Fluency for the Digital Age, in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism & Mass Communication. This course an important touchstone for those of you who are interested in the Digital Studies Certificate program, or for anyone who wants to look critically at the role of digital media in our world. This is the second time we’ve taught this course, and already a few things have changed. Not only will we look at digital media in its many forms, but also how our mobile devices and what infrastructures support it. We’ll also add to our toolkit some different strategies of understanding content and digital media. We plan for this course to become a regular part of our curriculum as J 101 or the equivalent.

me-40I’m Molly Steenson, your professor for this course, and I’ve spent almost 20 years living my life online. I’m particularly excited to be teaching this class because Madison is where my digital life began. I’ve just joined the School of Journalism & Mass Communication faculty: this is my first semester here as a professor.

I’m no stranger to UW-Madison. I majored in German and was an honors student here. In the SJMC, I was part of the class that built the first website on this campus in 1994: ONLine Wisconsin, led by Professor Lew Friedland. ONLine Wisconsin led me to a career that took me to companies like Reuters, Netscape (think Google, only in the 90s), a number of startups, a pop culture women’s webzine, big consulting firms and design studios. I’ve been a professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy and at Art Center College of Design’s Media Design Practices graduate program in Pasadena, CA. Most recently, I have studied architecture as a way of understanding media: I hold master’s degrees from Yale and Princeton and will receive my PhD at Princeton this spring. I will be teaching the 301 section at 8:55 a.m.

IMG_0608Our TA is Patrice Kohl. She is a thesis-track MA student here who is interested in science communications. She has wide experience across reporting and communications: she’s been a newspaper reporter and radio reporter and producer reporting on salmon fisheries in Alaska and science news in Madison, and on communications projects in coordination with the South-East Asian Regional World Health Organization Office in Delhi, India and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In the picture on the right, she’s kayaking through the headwaters to the Everglades. Those of you in 302 & 303 will be lucky enough to have Patrice leading your section.

Our first class is tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday January 23 and we’ll be meeting in 4028 Vilas for our lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays. Our sections on  will meet in 2116 Vilas, which is one of the journalism lab spaces. I’m excited to be here, glad you’re on board, and can’t wait to get started.