Category: 11) How Much Is Too Much New Media For The NetGen?

Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a case study of a pilot Writing with Multimedia course offered at Stanford University in 2003. The pilot course was part of a curriculum development effort by the program in writing and rhetoric to fulfill a new university writing requirement, incorporating oral and multimedia presentation of research into a second-year writing course. The author compares and contrasts students’ orientation to new media in the classroom across the decade from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, motivated by the question, “How did yesterday’s cool uses of technology become today’s busy work?” The author argues that students, not teachers, are the early adopters now; new media is not ‘new’ to the “digital natives” of the Net Generation, but rather the water in which it swims. In this situation, it is still possible and desirable to engage students critically in their new media practices and performances, but instructors need to rethink the way they integrate new media into the curriculum so as to better leverage NetGen tendencies and proclivities.

Richard Holeton



Richard Holeton is the director of academic computing services at Stanford University. He authors fiction, electronic literature, and nonfiction, including college textbooks. In addition, he frequently presents at academic conferences. He has 24 years in higher education which includes 12 years as a college writing professor using collaborative, constructivist pedagogies. He has expertise with student learning communities and learning spaces, and he is the co-leader of EDUCAUSE Learning Space Design Constituent Group.


Andersen, Albert, & Samagh, Sonia. (2003). Stanford university residence dorms: Virtual and real-space community. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Aufderheide, Patricia. (Ed.). (1993). Media literacy: A report of the national leadership conference on media literacy. Aspen, CO: Aspen Institute.

Boyd, danah. (2007). Research on social network sites. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

[The] Brothers Chaps. (2009). HomestarRunner. Retrieved February 24, 2009, from

Carbone, Nick. (2005, June 3). Re: FW: June/July issue of Innovate. Message posted to Techrhet listserv, archived (subscribers only) at

Cheung, Allen; Chu, Eric; Marquez, Juan; & Nachbaur, Abraham. (2003). The mercury project for instant messaging studies. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Christ, William G., & Potter, W. James. (1998). Media literacy, media education, and the academy. Journal of Communication, 48, 5–15.

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006). Net generation learners. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Facebook. (2009). Press Room: Statistics. Retrieved February 24, 2009, from

Fox, Susannah, & Madden, Mary. (2006, January 22). Generations online. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Frand, Jason L. (2000). The information-age mindset: Changes in students and implications for higher education. EDUCAUSE Review, 35(5), 15–24.

Gonick, Lev S. (2006). New media and learning in the 21st Century. EDUCAUSE Review, 41(1), 68–69.

Holeton, Richard. (1997). The semi-virtual composition classroom: A model for techno-amphibians. The technology source. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Holeton, Richard. (2003). rhetorics. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Howe, Neil, & Strauss, William. (2003). Millennials go to college: Strategies for a new generation on campus. Washington, DC: American Association of College Registrars.

Huffaker, David A., & Calvert, Sandra L. (2005). Gender, identity, and language use in teenage blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(2). Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Jones, Steve. (2003, July 6). Let the games begin: Gaming technology and entertainment among college students. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Jones, Steve, & Madden, Mary. (2002, September 15). The Internet goes to college: How students are living in the future with today’s technology. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Kaiser Family Foundation and San Jose Mercury News. (2003). Survey on youth and the Internet in the Silicon Valley. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Kaiser Family Foundation Program for the Study of Entertainment Media and Health. (2005). Generation M: Media in the lives of 8–18 year-olds. Publication Number 7250. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Kemp, Fred. (1992, January). Using computer networks to privilege the student text. Paper presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication Winter Workshop, Clearwater Beach, FL.

Krause, Steven D. (2004). When blogging goes bad: A cautionary tale about blogs, email lists, discussion, and interaction. Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, Pedagogy, 9(1). Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Ledbetter, Andrew M. (2005, August 8). Re: Gender and media preference. Message posted to Association of Internet Researchers listserv, archived

Lee, Christine (2003). How does instant messaging affect interaction between the genders? Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Lenhart, Amanda, & Madden, Mary (2005, November 2). Teen content creators and consumers. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Lenhart, Amanda; Rainie, Lee; & Lewis, Oliver. (2001, June 21). Teenage life online: The rise of the instant-message generation and the Internet’s impact on friendships and family relationships. Pew Internet and American life project. Retrieved November 15, 2007, from

Livingstone, Sonia. (2004). Media literacy and the challenge of new information and communication technologies. The Communication Review, 7, 3–14.

Monaghan, Peter. (2006, July 14). More than words: The University of Southern California trains students how to read and communicate in―new media. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved July 15, 2006 (subscribers only), from

Moran, Charles. (1992). Computers and the writing classroom: A look to the future. Gail E. Hawisher & Paul LeBlanc (Eds.), Re-imagining computers and composition: Teaching and research in the virtual age. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook

Nevius, C.W. (2006, May 6). Candidates invade MySpace. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from

Oblinger, Diana. (2003, July/August). Boomers, gen-xers, and millennials: Understanding the new students. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from

Oblinger, Diana, & Oblinger, James. (2005). Is it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the net generation. In Educating the net generation [e-book]. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved March 15, 2006, from

Prensky, Marc. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5). Retrieved July 15, 2006, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Residential Computing, Stanford University. (2008). Student computing @ Stanford: Results from the annual residence evaluation. Retrieved November 15, 2008, from

Robbins, Sarah. (2006, July 19). Re: email losing ground to IMing and texting. Message posted to TechRhet listserv, archived (subscribers only) at

Seligman, Katherine. (2006, May 14). Young and wired. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from

Squires, Lauren M. (2004, April). College students in multimedia relationships: Choosing, using, and fusing communication technologies. AU [American University] TESOL Working Papers, 2. Retrieved April 11, 2006, from

Sunstein, Bonnie S., & Chiseri-Slater, Elizabeth. (2002). FieldWorking: Reading and writing research (2nd ed.). Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.