(Updated: May 5, 2001)
Cyberspace and Communication
Monday - Thursday 1:00 - 3:00 PM
EGJ 223 (Journalism Building)
Office Hours: EGJ 213
After class, And by appointment
E-mail is the most efficient
means of contact.
The course is designed to examine the theoretical and practical aspects of new media. It is also intended
as "an examination of the political, social, cultural, and behavioral
effects of on-line communication systems, including systems for various
forms of personal communication, information retrieval, transaction
processing, monitoring, and other purposes" (UK Bulletin).
In the past decade information technology has
undergone substantial changes. The Internet, digital television,
virtual reality are only a few examples. The convergence of
different types of media forms (e.g. computers, satellites, networks,
etc...) have and are currently changing society into what many people
refer to as the, "Digital Age." These developments are
NOT solely dependent on technological factors as much of the popular
"hype" asserts. Accordingly we will examine new media
from cultural, historical, legal, and psychological perspectives.
"Cyberspace and Communication" encompasses a
wide array of issues and topics. Accordingly, we will cover
numerous areas with a focus on the Internet, and the World Wide
Web. However, it is difficult to distinguish between convergent
media systems and forms often labeled "new media" - in contrast to
the "legacy" media routinely studied in telecommunications
programs. Thus, on occasion we will discuss other new media
technologies including, streamed digital
broadcasting, networking, film innovations, and other emerging media
forms. We will
examine three key areas:
History of Technology
Here, we look at the history of computers, networks, and the emergence
of new forms of information technologies like the Internet and digital
Technology and Society
This area focuses on both the positive and negative effects of new
media on social institutions; changes in law, policy, and regulation
of new media; and the role of the media industry, regulators, and
economic aspects of new media and society.
Technology and the Individual
In this area we will examine the social, cultural, economic, and
political impacts that digital technologies have on individuals. Specific
topics include: personal identity in the virtual world, sense of
community in cyber-space, and changes in education, the workplace, and
general issues that surround the digitization of information.
In addition to key concepts and ideas about new media,
you will need basic computer skills. I assume little at the onset, but
we will escalate over the quarter in complexity of things you do with
networked computers. Normally, there's a considerable range of
experience among entering students; from none to 4-star experts. I
invite those with skills to help those who don't.
Format: The basis of our class approach is a
mix of structured lectures, group discussion and individual research.
This is punctuated by live and computer/network/videotape
demonstrations. Given the cumulative nature of the course content and
many of the readings, it is important for you to keep pace. Some class
sessions will be held in a computer lab, a facility especially equipped
to provide an introduction to digital media and the Internet.
Work: There will be a final in this course. You are expected to participate both in class and through
electronic discussions. There will be "pop" quizzes and other
in-class assignments throughout the semester which will be given with no notice from me. There
will be no make-ups for these activities. You have the option of completing
a technology (software) assignment or a book review (more later).
There are also 3 short response papers. A final project that is 5-7
pages (html or creative equivalence) is required and must be presented to the class
for feedback from me and other students. Specific instructions on
assignments, exams, and the final project will be distributed in class.
Grading: Your grade in TEL555 has the following breakdown:
You are responsible for these as well as
conventional materials (texts, handouts, tapes). Attendance is mandatory
(unless excused by illness or other urgent need). Missing assignments
(unexcused) will count as zero and late assignments will receive a 10%
grade reduction per calendar day they are late.
UK grading system is based on a 4.0 to 0.0 scale. Here
is my policy regarding letter and numerical equivalency:
||80% - 89%
||70% - 79%
||60% - 69%
Plagiarism (knowingly representing someone else's'
work as your own) is not acceptable behavior in universities,
nor is "cloning" of web materials represented as one's
original work (this activity may also violate copyright). To
be very clear on this point: if you didn't
author some content used in your papers, you must put the material
copied in quotations [and indent it if the material
quoted exceeds several lines of text]. Then provide a complete footnote
or citation to what you have used and from whom. I will spot
check papers for plagiarism. Any form of cheating will not be tolerated
and papers/assignments/test with clearly plagiarized material will
result in course failure and university officials on academic conduct
will be notified.
Texts and Other Readings:
There are three types of
reading materials that are required for this course.
1. The textbook is:
Holeton, Richard (1998). "Composing
Community and Knowledge in the Electronic Age." McGraw-Hill.
2. A course pack that is available at: Johnny Print (547 Limestone;
3. Many hyperlinked, web
sources from the Internet, are utilized. Consequently, you need to refer
often, on-line to the electronic form of this course syllabus. The
on-line version of the course is the only current, authoritative
version. As a rule, I will not distribute handouts and revisions of the
course outline in printed form. It may be found at URL:
Be sure press refresh/reload
on your browser when viewing the syllabus or linked handouts over the
quarter to be sure you are looking at the most current versions.
Also you will need to read
current information about new media technologies. The New York Times
Technology section is a good place to start. Even easier is to subscribe
to the Benton Communications-Related Headlines, to do so you must: send
email to: firstname.lastname@example.org;
In the body of the message, type only: subscribe benton-compolicy
Basic computer skills and access you will need to
Aside from the course content and specialized
internet/web skills, you will need: (a) a UK user account for Web publishing
and email or
email and Internet space through a commercial provider (Seanet, MSN, AOL, etc); (b)
an ability to log-on to the campus network or commercial ISP; (c) an
ability to use Euroda, the UK's email program or an alternate
(for POP-3 connections); (d) an ability to use current versions of
Netscape or Internet Explorer. I will provide help with these needs
during the first week. Much of the class' communication is through these
means. Much of your submitted work will be in either email or web form
(fear not; I'll show you how).
USE OF THESE TECHNOLOGIES ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE COURSE.
You must be willing to learn their effective use if your don't already