Cyberporn Class

Talked to my chair today about what I’ll be teaching next year. At the graduate level, I’ll be teaching the communication theory course as a year-long course for new students. I’m slightly disappointed that I won’t get the chance to do an Introduction to Internet Studies, or something. It’s not locked in yet, so that may be a possibility. I’ve also ended up leading the workshop for new TAs next year, but I’m hoping to delegate that as much as possible.

In the fall, I’m teaching a grad/undergrad joint class on collaborative web publishing and its place in the new media ecosystem. Looking forward to that. But since this is a relatively low enrollment class for our department, I was asked to design a course that will have very high enrollments. I considered a course on computer gaming, but I’m not sure how much of a draw that would be. So, I’m teaching a class on Cyberporn, probably to something like 500 students. I think it will be a fun class, but after the initial excitement surrounding the idea, I need to now narrow what topics we will cover and from what perspectives.

I’m also slightly nervous about (a) public reaction to the course, and (b) issues of liability for students who are under the age of 18. I think I can clear myself of the latter by simply telling students that minors cannot take the course. When I suggested the cyberporn class, my chair asked how attached I was to the idea of tenure, and I told him the truth: I wouldn’t want tenure in a place that cared so little for academic freedom as to shy away from pornography as a valid issue for undergraduate study.

This is one of those things where you don’t want to say much about it until it happens, but I’m going to develop it as transparently as possible, given the potential for a slanted presentation. I am hopefully going to be able to bring in some interesting guest speakers (would have been easier in Seattle!). But I would be very appreciative of any input from, well, anybody!

I’ve sketched out some preliminary ideas on my public wiki here.

(Side note: I’ve been keeping a lot of stuff on my private wiki and on a “semi-private” wiki. It would be great if there were some way to integrate all three, but I’m not sure how I would go about doing this. Hm.)

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2 Comments

  1. stef
    Posted 4/18/2004 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    tone down child porn stuff.

    more history of sex ideas.

    also how birthcontrol changed things. now aids.

    also, is pornographic spam abuse?

    avoid audio visual research…focus on surveys…and you’ll be fine with the public…as long as all parties can comment, including ministers and feminist advocates…even the chair can give a guest lecture on the conservative issues…why viagra if a video works just as well…

  2. stef
    Posted 4/19/2004 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    also fbi participation on evidence collection and protection of rights of citizens.

    the fbi will bring credibility to the project and the tenure thing will not be a problem…ect…just need to know how to be a bit political

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