I have to come clean: I don't really know anything about civic media. As a graduate student in MIT's science writing program, I am permitted to take only one elective each semester and CMS.860 was just one of many classes that got shoehorned into an ambitious course-shopping schedule.
I have experience in journalism (cue bio at right), but no formal education. At the beginning of class on Wednesday, my definition of "civic media" would have been "whatever bloggers do." By the end of the night, I had learned civic media includes Julian Assange, QR codes, certain programming languages, the FCC, KONY2012, humanitarianism, my iPhone, maps... The conversation was enlightening.
So, my definition of civic media required some initial research and reflection. In the end, I like Beth Noveck's approach best: Civic media makes participation an everyday lifestyle.