These days, it seems like millenial-targeted college courses are springing up on nearly every college campus, from Tuft University’s “Demystifying the Hipster” course to Skidmore College’s “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.”
You can add Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Credit for Reddit” class to the roster. The undergraduate course, which is officially called “CMS.400 Media Systems and Texts” and offered under the comparative media studies discipline, first hit campus last year. It will be offered again next spring, taught by researcher Chris Peterson and his colleague Ed Schiappa.
It won’t be all Reddit wormholes and imgur photos, though: Peterson says the class will be part psychology, part data analysis, and part social theory.
“One of the things we try to do in this class is make sure people understand that the technology they use in their daily lives is rooted very deeply in important social issues,” he told the Vice blog Motherboard.
Despite its nickname, the course won’t be solely fixated on Reddit, either — students will be tasked with comparing the site to various forms of social media. As Peterson puts it on his Linkedin page, the course “[i]ntroduces students to central topics and mixed methods such that they can better investigate and understand emerging web ecologies.”
In a post on Reddit , Peterson explains the idea was born out of his own research on the website.
“I’ve been doing (limited) research on Reddit the last few years and had lots of undergraduate interest in my projects; as one student put it, ‘I already Reddit instead of homework, so I might as well Reddit for homework,'” he wrote.
In the same Reddit thread, Peterson put out a call for submissions to his syllabus. Judging by the interested responses, the course may delve into deciphering Reddit’s hive mentality, its “karma points” ratings system, and some sort of content analysis.
Perhaps the class will lead to even more studies like Stanford University’s examination of Reddit’s Random Act Of Pizza forum, which taught us all the secret to getting free pizza.