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

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 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.

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