Instructor: Dr. Casey Fiesler
Office: TLC 268
Office Hours: Thursdays 11am to 12:30pm or by appointment

Time: Tuesday/Thursday 2pm to 3:15pm
Location: Hellems 211

Class Canvas Page

Class Schedule and Topics

This course explores and analyzes fan communities in a digital context. Through applied research, students will investigate online spaces devoted to participatory and remix culture, media fandom, and fan creation. This class will draw concepts and methods from fan studies, social computing, ethnography, data science, and sociology to drive project-based inquiry.

Because this class is being taught for the first time, it may evolve to meet the needs and interests of the students. Any major changes (e.g., assignments) will be discussed with the class before the change is made. Reading assignments will likely change over the course of the semester as well but any changes will be announced no later than the class prior to when the reading is due.

There is no required physical textbook for this course. Readings are for the most part individual academic articles, book chapters, and news articles. All readings are either public online, available through the CU library, or will be provided on Canvas.


Openness and disagreement
It is imperative for any course that students feel comfortable sharing their opinions and questions openly. Disagreement is expected, but must be respectful and civil at all times. Students should feel welcome to share their thoughts during class discussion without any fear of being disparaged for their opinions. Like yourselves, I also have opinions. I will attempt to surface my own biases when appropriate (which I also encourage students to do!). These disagreements or differences of opinion will not impact grades, so long as students are respectful. If at any time you are uncomfortable in this regard with class discussion, please speak with me about it.

Attendance and participation
Though there is no formal attendance/participation grade for this class, these will be reflected in your other grades in the class. You must be present to receive full credit for graded in-class activities. I will also take class attendance and participation into account in making decisions about borderline grades. If you need to miss class for a legitimate reason, please send me an email prior to the start of class. Legitimate reasons for missing class include illness, a job interview, or a religious holiday. Excuses that will not be accepted include, for example, picking someone up at the airport or having an assignment due in another class.


Project-based inquiry
This is not a skills-based course, but rather one intended to provide a domain application for research and analysis skills you may already have or can pick up with some assistance. Therefore, most significant projects and activities will be group work, in which you are paired with students with complementary skill sets and perspectives. There will also be multiple analytical paths through projects–for example, you will have the option to form research questions that can be answered computationally, quantitatively, or qualitatively.

Approximately once per week, there will be a written reflection due; sometimes these are based on readings, sometimes on other kinds of observation (such as spending 1 hour on an online site). Reflections are due via Canvas by 9am on the day that they are listed on the syllabus. (This is so that I have time to read them prior to class.) Reflections will not be accepted late, but your lowest reflection grade will be dropped at the end of the semester. Possible grades include: exemplary (100), good (85), acceptable (70), or “at least you turned something in” (50).

Late Policy
Though the majority of assignments are reflections as noted above, any other assignments are due at the start of class on the day they are due. Late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 5 points per 24 hours. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted. Any assignments turned in later than the final exam period will not be graded.

Graduate Students
Each graduate student will give a 15 minute in-class presentation on a relevant topic of their choice (in consultation with me); the grade for this presentation will be an additional in-class activity grade. Graduate students will also occasionally have additional readings to incorporate into their reflections, and their projects will be appropriately scoped for graduate level work.

20%  Written Reflections
20%  In-Class Activities
25%  Fandom Data Project
25%  Fandom Survey Project
10%  Remix or Ethnography


Accommodation for Disabilities
If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit your accommodation letter from Disability Services to your faculty member in a timely manner so that your needs can be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities in the academic environment.  Information on requesting accommodations is located on the Disability Services website. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or for further assistance.  If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Medical Conditions under the Students tab on the Disability Services website.

Religious Observances
Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  In this class, this is an excused absence (for which you can make up any in-class activities) provided that you email me before the class.

Classroom Behavior
Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy.  Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student’s legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.  For more information, see the policies on classroom behavior and the Student Code of Conduct.

Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) is committed to fostering a positive and welcoming learning, working, and living environment. CU Boulder will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, exploitation, harassment, dating or domestic violence, and stalking), discrimination, and harassment by members of our community. Individuals who believe they have been subject to misconduct or retaliatory actions for reporting a concern should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or Information about the OIEC, university policies, anonymous reporting, and the campus resources can be found on the OIEC website.

Please know that faculty and instructors have a responsibility to inform OIEC when made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, discrimination, harassment and/or related retaliation, to ensure that individuals impacted receive information about options for reporting and support resources.

Honor Code
All students enrolled in a University of Colorado Boulder course are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Honor Code. Violations of the policy may include: plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, lying, bribery, threat, unauthorized access to academic materials, clicker fraud, submitting the same or similar work in more than one course without permission from all course instructors involved, and aiding academic dishonesty. All incidents of academic misconduct will be reported to the Honor Code (; 303-492-5550). Students who are found responsible for violating the academic integrity policy will be subject to nonacademic sanctions from the Honor Code as well as academic sanctions from the faculty member. Additional information regarding the Honor Code academic integrity policy can be found at the Honor Code Office website.