Week 1: Orientation (January 9)

A general introduction to the course and its expectations, and an introduction to the idea of “personal cyberinfrastructure.” There are no tutorial sessions in the first week.

Hamblin, James. 2016. “How to Talk to Strangers.”
Mod, Craig. 2017. “How I Got My Attention Back.”

For next week: 

  • Go to ReclaimHosting.com and set up your own domain and blog (WordPress). For detailed instructions on how to work through this process, please see the Hosting Setup page.
  • Submit your URL. Enter it here in Google Sheets.
  • As you go through the reading “How to Talk to Strangers”, consider how you interact with strangers online and in real life. Find a stranger this week and engage them in a conversation. Hamblin states: Once we consider a person known, our behaviour toward them changes entirely. When do you consider a person known? How does your behaviour change? IRL? Face to face? Please submit a considered opinion on what constitutes a stranger, or any other aspect of this idea that interests you.
  • Create a “vision board” for your personal cyberinfrastructure (!) What do you imagine it will look like? Think about this broadly, in terms of themes, platforms, aesthetics, “feel,” etc.
  • Where will you place the 5% student-determined grade? Deadline for submission is January 23rd. Record it on the Google sheet here.
  • Begin to familiarize yourself with WordPress terms such as “categories”, “posts”, “pages”, “tags” etc. A useful article is at https://codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Semantics

Week 2: Your Personal Cyberinfrastructure (January 16)

Due: Your domain name and URL must be added to the Google Sheet by the start of class.

What is personal cyberinfrastructure, and why should you care? What is your current cyberinfrastructure, how do you use it, and how does it use you? What do we take for granted in how the Internet works? What can we imagine differently?

In the second half of class, be prepared to sum up your online presence (About Me) in a two to three minute ‘speed date’-style exercise.  You will broken into groups and we will head to the Teck Gallery at 11:30 am.


Tutorial: Web hosting and blog/platform development. We will discuss tagging and its importance. Citations, links, URLs, DOIs. Guest Ariel Hudnall will walk you through some tips and tricks and you will complete a worksheet.

For next week:

  • Install WordPress and begin development of your blog and online presence. Create your “About” section. This should be concise and clear. Consider this an invitation to your “house”. Is it compelling enough for people to knock on the door?
  • By now, you will have completed your vision board. How did you work through the process? Did you use Venn diagrams? Were you able to narrow down your focus? Please post about the process?
  • You should also install the Google Analytics plugin in your WordPress site; we’ll be working with it in the weeks to come.
  • Deadline to submit your plans for the flexible 5%.
  • Process Post: Write a blog post about the installation and setup work you did this week: your decisions, your rationales; make sure you link out to at least a couple of other resources. How does what you’ve created so far relate to the vision board you made last week? Sort your Process Post under either a Category or Tag for ‘posiel’ so you can collect them later.

Week 3: The Online Self (January 23)

Due: Deadline to submit your allocation of the flexible 5%. 

Who are you? How would we know? What is your “voice”? Do you recognize it? Would others recognize it? What does the “publication of self” mean?

When we put things out into the world, when we write in public, who is it for? Are you a different “self” in different contexts, environments, platforms?


Tutorial: Publishing online – basic tools and models. We will look at reading online, writing for an online audience and begin to consider which social media platforms you will be working with.

For next week:

  • You have now read, and we have discussed in class, John Suler’s The Online Disinhibition Effect. (Links to an external site.) Consider your own online behaviours and whether any of Suler’s six types of behaviour represents your own. You don’t need to go into great detail, this is more of a reflective exercise in which you have an opportunity to look not just at the behaviour of others, but your own online life as well.
  • Process Post: Map out your website, visualizing which components should be placed where. Where will your PUB101 content live? This can be a diagram, a map, an infographic. Instagram it. Install at least one online social media platform, and begin to look at which others work best for your online presence.
  • Complete the reading How I Got My Attention Back by Craig Mod. Look closely at his conclusions about being offline and online. Do any of his experiences resonate with you? Could you be offline for a month (if your situation in life allowed it without harming you)? Include your thoughts in this week’s process post.
  • Assignment Peer Review #1:
With an assigned peer from your tutorial, write (appreciatively, constructively) a review of what they have developed on their site thus far, with a focus on the development of a clearly articulated online self. The review should assess any content and design decisions made thus far, and should engage clearly with course readings on developing an online self. Your review should be 400+ words and posted to your Process Blog, with clear links to your peer’s site. This is worth 3% of your overall grade.

Week 4: Designing Yourself (January 30)

Guest Speaker: Mauvé Page, designer

Due: Peer Review #1 (Online Self) 

What shapes your experience of a text? The words themselves are only a part. The context, format, provenance, and design are also key. How has the publisher shaped how you encounter it, both as a first impression and as a deeper engagement? We discuss design theory, publication design, and interaction design as well as some basic development methods.


Tutorial: Design basics
Discussion of practical design strategies, critiques of existing work, role of motifs and common elements.

For next week: 

  • You probably have some websites that you frequently visit. Have you ever looked closely at the design elements? Now that you have completed the design readings and heard Mauve Pagé’s best practices, please pick a website of your choosing and describe what works or doesn’t work. Please post a screen cap and the link.
  • Implement some of the design decisions you make during tutorial; prepare for next week’s peer review. Revisit your About copy, Profile copy, Descriptions, etc.
  • Process Post: Document and reflect on this work.

Week 5: Publics/Digital Publics/Public Spheres (February 6)

Guest Speaker: Matt Shea, Gamer

What is a public? Where do we get our ideas about what publics can or should be? How do you find, engage and grow your public? Expanding on Matt’s experience, we will look at how your online self can build out your own public.


Tutorial: In-class, informal peer review and discussion of design decisions. What choices have you made? Why?

For Next Week: 

  • Process Post: What audience have you been imagining thus far? How has that imagined audience informed your design and editorial decisions?

Assignment: Peer Review #2

Reading Break Feb 12-16

Week 6: Confirmation Bias. The Underbelly of the Internet.

Due: Peer Review #2 (Design) 

The rise of digital media has arguably meant a democratization to allow more voices to be heard. It has also created opportunities for abuse and digital assassination. In the past year we have witnessed a sharp rise in “false news”, echo chambers, and the number of people who now get their “news” from social media platforms such as Facebook. This week we look more closely at the ramifications. In the second half of class, we will begin the discussion on monetizing your content.


Tutorial: Building your site, customizing its look, functionality, and content. Expanding to other platforms, channels. Install Google Adsense.

For Next Week:

  • Process Post: Based on the peer review you received, make some changes to at least one design element on your site. Write about how you made that change.
  • Assignment: Short Essay One (see assignment page for details)

Week 7: Publishers/Authors/Texts/Copyright (February 27)

Guest Speaker: Jon Festinger, QC

Due: Short Essay #1

What is text? A thing you read, right? What is an author? Is text what an author writes? Dig into these questions, and it gets complicated. Furthermore, who owns it? Who owns the press, the means of production? How has the digital shifted our understanding of intellectual property in favour of openness? How does Copyright play out in a culture of sharing, remixing, and repurposing? What is a publisher? How has digital media changed these structures? How do publishers create a unique presence in an increasingly crowded world of published content?


Tutorial: Discussion of copyright, Creative Commons, and the culture of sharing online. How have you used others’ works in your site?

For Next Week: 

  • Process Post: Remix something. Here is an example – and no, it does not need to be that complex. Here is another one.

Week 8: Marketing, Audience, & Analytics. Monetization (March 6)

Guest speakers: Monique Sherrett, Boxcar Media and Trevor Battye, CleversMedia

The Internet can be seen as a mass of overlapping audiences or niches; that’s different from the older “mass media” model of the broadcast paradigm. Online communication seems to be more collaborative and participatory than print media ever was. Is there a difference between audiences and markets? What about a difference between who you think your audience is and who your audience actually is? We will discuss tracking of your audience, monetization of your content, and your own participation in tracked and monetized platforms.


Tutorial:  Discussion and exploration of monetization and the sustainability of your publications.

For Next Week: 

  • Process Post: Do you want to monetize your site? If so, how will you do so? What changes will you need to make?
  • Analytics (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) is a very valuable tool for building your audience. For content creators, knowing how your reader behaves on your website can help enormously with developing the best content, posting at the right time, and developing the appropriate engagement strategies. On the flip side, for the reader or user, it can be tiresome and even worrisome knowing you are providing data trails every where you go online.
  • Data helps inform and educate. But at what cost? What is your personal feeling about data trails? Do you try to minimize your footprint or have you thrown in the towel?

Week 9: The Global Picture (March 13)

Guest Speaker: Juan Pablo Alperin, Professor

What is the size of the world? What is the nature of audiences today? We look at some global-scale numbers and trends, via Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends slide deck. We also explore some of ways in which the Internet makes the world a smaller place, and some of the ways in which distances remain. We will also talk about some aspects of the web (walled gardens, dark and deep web, etc.) with which you might not be familiar – and why.


Tutorial: Google Analytics. Diving deeper into using GA. Students will be asked to highlight their findings. Who did you think your audience is? Who is it actually?

For Next Week:

Process Post: What surprised you about your findings in Google Analytics? Demonstrate how it may change your online publication in concrete ways.

Assignment: Peer review #3 (Audiences and Channels)

Week 10: Multiple Channels, Multiple Media (March 20)

Guest Speaker: Lisa Manfield (TBC)

Due: Peer Review #3 (Audiences and Channels) 

How do people read online? How do different channels reinforce each other? A key strategy for reaching audiences today is to “be in all places.” But is this effective? You’ll be introduced to the ideas of transmedia, intermediality, intertextuality, and the relationship between your web presence and the broader world of participatory media.


Tutorial: Discussion of strategies for cross-media development and linking.  Looking at responsiveness on common devices and browsers.

For Next Week:

  • Process Post: Make a plan for incorporating more transmedia integration into your online publication. What channels will you focus on? Why?

Week 11: Editing & Genres (March 27)

Guest Speaker: Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad

What does an editor do? How is that different from a writer? The editorial role developed enormously through the twentieth century, but has become less clear in the age of massively multiplayer online publishing. The functions, virtues, and value of the editor have not gone away, however. An introduction to genres and their place within Bourdieu’s field, with a focus on how understanding of genre will help you to better understand your audience.


Tutorial: Editing for audience. You know who your audience is now; how will that inform your editorial process?

For Next Week:

  • Process Post: Create a story out of media only: a sequence of images, an audio production, a video production. Avoid using text if you can.

Week 12: Moderating your Commentariat (April 3)

Guest speaker:  Sharifah Williams, Book Riot

We’ve all heard the joke “never read the comments,” but where did the commonplace understanding of comments sections as terrible come from? And if they’re terrible, why do so many sites have comments sections anyway? We’ll discuss online abuse and harassment, the relationship between comment guidelines and online community formation, and strategies for moderating your own comments sections.


Tutorial: looking at other websites and their community guidelines; considering how to incorporate community guidelines into your own site

For Next Week:

  • Process Post: Develop community guidelines for your site. Why are those the right guidelines for you? How will you implement them?

Assignment: Short Essay #2

Week 13:  The Online Self Redux (April 10)

Guest Speaker: Mark Critch, Actor, This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Due: Short Essay #2

This course has been about the publication of self; but what about our private, domestic, inner selves? Where do they exist in a pervasively networked world? Are these facets of human experience threatened? And how exactly does that play out along the lines of gender, class, race? Does privacy even matter anymore? Anonymity?