(Re)-Designing the Internet

Invitation to a new course I’m teaching with Jeff Jarvis

Douglas Rushkoff


Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

What if the Internet were still being designed? What if we knew everything we now know about surveillance capitalism and social media addiction and Instagram depression and fake news, and had the chance for a big do-over?

Well, we do. No matter how seemingly entrenched the monopolies of Facebook and Google, the Internet is still a work in progress. Code is not set in stone, it’s malleable. So are our network protocols, our software, our business models, regulatory statutes, and ethical frameworks.

What would you do if you were in charge of the net? Well, you are.

And to celebrate and interrogate this assertion, I’m going to be teaching a new course at Queens College Masters Program in Media Studies in collaboration with Jeff Jarvis at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, called Designing the Internet. And you’re invited. Here’s the description:

Designing the Internet.

This course, open to graduate students from any discipline at the Grad Center or any CUNY campus, (as well as undergraduates by permission) will cover the history and impact of the internet to date, with an emphasis on how we might still intervene in the direction of its development. We will test the hypothesis that the Internet is still in its infancy, and that we are still vested with the agency and responsibility to design and steer the net we wish to see in the future.

Throughout the course, students will work on a proposal for that future. This may take the form of a new feature, company (though this is not intended as an entrepreneurial course), regulatory or ethical regime, standard for design, news and information strategy, a business model to support information or creativity, a covenant or manifesto of rights and responsibilities, a perspective from communities and markets that are underserved, net syllabi…anything.

The course will be taught by Jeff Jarvis of the Newmark J-School, author of What Would Google Do? and Public Parts, and Douglas Rushkoff of Queens College, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Team Human, and Present Shock. They approach the subject from different perspectives: Jarvis a defender of…



Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://teamhuman.fm