COMM 422 Communications Technologies Banner

Spring 2001
Office Hours: Wednesday & Thursday, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Office: College Park Suite 650 Room 28
Phone: 657-278-7008

Visit the CommTech Web site at
You'll also find a link to it and other helpful resources on Dr. D's Web site:

THIS COURSE investigates today's communication technologies, and focuses largely on computer-mediated communication (CMC). Students enrolled in COMM 422 have an opportunity to experience and explore the Web, and to develop novice-level skills in a variety of Internet and Web communication tools. General topics of inquiry include:
We will engage in a variety of on-line and off-line readings, so be sure to check the COMM 422 Web site regularly for updates on assignments. We also have two types of e-mail: 1) a private e-mail system within the COMM 422 Web site, and 2) e-mail through CSUF or a commercial Internet Service Provider. Unless I announce otherwise, you should use the bulletin board tool on the COMM 422 Web site, NOT REGULAR E-MAIL, for all course assignments.


Since this course focuses on technology, it should come as no surprise that you will need appropriate equipment. A number of the course materials will be accessible on the World Wide Web, so the first thing you'll need is an up-to-date version of a Web browser. The best browser for viewing the on-line portion of the course is Netscape Communicator version 4.0 or higher (Mac or Windows), or Netscape Navigator version 4.0 or higher (Windows only). You can download the latest version of Netscape at
There is no single text for this course. Most of your readings will be available on-line, so you won't need to buy them! I will list all on-line assignments on the course Web site. My Web site offers a variety of helpful resources, including the course syllabus and a link to the password-protected class Web site. To access my site, point your browser to:
Since you'll be working on computers both in lab and for your homework assignments, you'll need at least two 3-1/2" diskettes or two Zip disks. Keep a copy of all work you hand in to me, including diskettes.
Waving Diskette Image
All students in COMM 422 must have a valid e-mail account and full Internet access, either through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or through the CSUF computer labs. As a CSUF student, you automatically have an e-mail account. Check the spring schedule booklet for details on activating it.
You also may need specialized "shareware" for specific assignments. I will provide download information for each. These software packages are available for free trial use. You won't need to purchase anything unless you decide to keep the software.
Please bring all your course materials to every class meeting!
You may earn a maximum of 1,000 points during the semester. Final course grades are assigned as follows:

900-1000 points


600-690 points


800-890 points


Less than 600 points


700-790 points







You may earn points toward your final course grade by completing assignments, taking exams, and participating in class activities as listed in the class schedule. Each activity is worth a maximum number of points as follows:



Scavenger Hunt

100 Points

Class Resources Web Page

100 Points

Article Presentation

100 Points

4 Quizzes (25 points each)

100 Points

Homework & In-class Assighments
(25 points each)

150 Points

Web Page or Palace Project

300 Points

Bulletin Board Participation

50 Points

Final Exam

100 Points

Scavenger Hunt
You'll engage in an Internet Scavenger Hunt, which will be graded on three elements: 1) the accuracy of your answer, 2) the process you used to get your answer, 3) appropriate verification of your answer, and 4) the quality of your writing (including spelling, grammar, and punctuation).
Class Resource Page
You will work with a small group of students to develop a Web page of resources that the class might find helpful for completing the semester projects. This project will help you develop a rudimentary understanding of html, and will prepare you for work on your semester project. Your Web page should include an exhaustive list of on-line resources, complete with brief descriptions of the sites and hotlinks to them, graphic elements, and your best effort at an eye-pleasing layout. I will grade it on thoroughness, technical accuracy of your coding, and general coherence.
Homework & In-Class Assignments
The tentative class schedule lists a variety of assignments that you will complete throughout the semester. Each is due by the date and time specified in the schedule. All assignments will be graded on accuracy, thoroughness, application of course readings and lectures, and depth of thought. Please note that there are seven assignments. I will grade all seven, but your final course grade is based on only six. Therefore, if you complete all seven, you can earn up to 25 extra credit points, and there is no penalty if you miss one.
Quizzes and Exam
The quizzes and final exam will be multiple choice, and will cover material from the readings, class lecture, exercises, and discussions (including bulletin board discussion). I will make the tests available through the class Web site only during specified lab times, so if you miss a class, you run the risk of missing a quiz for which there is no make-up. The Web-based format will provide you instant scores and feedback!
Article Review
Not everything written about the Internet is available online. This assignment gives you the opportunity to do look at some recent studies about computer-mediated communication that have been published in scholarly journals (not magazines or trade journals). You will bring to class a minimum of three journal articles for approval. Then you will prepare a brief paper and a formal, in-class presentation about the article that is approved. Your paper and presentation should include:
    1. A Summary of the Article
      1. Purpose
      2. Research Design (e.g., sampling, coding, analysis, etc.)
      3. Findings
    2. Conclusions & Implications
    3. Explanation of Terms, if Appropriate
    4. What You Learned from the Article
Web Page or Palace Project
The capstone assignment in this course is to design a Web page or a Palace that focuses on a topic of your choice. The project will be graded on your clear articulation of your goals and objectives, how well it accomplishes those goals and objectives, design, content, technical accuracy, creativity, and reasonable loading time (for Web pages). You will share your project with your colleagues during the last week of class in a short (five minutes or so) but formal presentation. Your presentation should reflect your best professional style, and you should dress as you would for a formal business presentation. Be sure to save all Web page documents on two diskettes or Zip disks! You'll need one for your presentation (in case the system lags or shuts down), and one to turn in to me.
Throughout this course, we will use the CommTech Web-based bulletin board and e-mail as channels for discussion and as practice for utilizing the Internet for business. I will sometimes ask you to complete short assignments that are not graded. Completion of them will constitute part of your participation grade. We also will use the class on-line bulletin board for exchange of ideas and discussion of course concepts, as well as for homework assignments. Naturally, I hope you'll find the electronic discussions fun and an interesting way to extend our in-class discussions, and that you'll contribute often. Your participation grade is based on your contributions to the electronic discussions. You should post to the bulletin board a minimum of once each week, beginning with the self-introductory e-mail assignment, and running continuously through the last week of classes. Please feel free to enter the discussion often and in any way that you think is appropriate, including (but certainly not limited to):
Since electronic messages are automatically date/time stamped, you can send your contribution to the class discussion any time of the day or night. Bear in mind that your participation grade depends on your posting to the bulletin board regularly, every week. Multiple messages in a single week will not make up for weeks during which you did not post to the bulletin board, nor do they make up for skipping any following weeks. Extra messages will not earn extra credit, although you certainly are welcome to post as often as you wish. Please do not use class time do contribute to the discussion!
As a CSUF student, you're automatically issued an e-mail account. You may use any Internet Service Provider you choose, as long as it is allows you to access multimedia, view Java-enhanced Web pages, and use all of the most popular communication software. Please verify with your ISP that the service is adequate! I recommend Titan Access. At $15.00 per month, it is a better value than most ISPs in the area. You can sign up for Titan Access at:
To access the course material, you'll need to log on to the class Web site with a User ID and password. Here's how: Your User Name for this course is your first name initial plus your last name, all lower case with no spaces. Example: If your name is Rocky Balboa, your User Name is:
Your password consists of the last four digits of your student ID number. Example: If your student ID number is 111-22-3333, your password is:
The class Web site uses special software called WebCT. To access the site, you'll need to set up your own "My WebCT" Web page. Here's how:
    1. Point your browser to:
    2. Click on "Create "My WebCT"
    3. Fill in the form with whatever User Name & Password you choose to create. Click "Continue"
    4. Enter your new name and password to log on.
    5. The next screen will allow you to add your courses & you need to add COMM 422. Click on "Add courses"
    6. On the next screen, click on "Communication"
    7. Click on "COMM 422."
    8. Enter your assigned user name and password. For our course, it is your first initial, last name & last four digits of student ID number, as described above. If your number begins with a zero, do not enter the zero.
    9. Viola! The course is added to your very own "My WebCT!" At this point, you can add other courses as well, but you'll need to know the User Name and Password that each instructor has assigned for those courses.
    10. Once you've created your "My WebCT" and added your courses, you will be able to log on to all your course Web sites with the new User Name and Password that you created! Please write down your User Name and Password! You will need it all semester.
Once you're able to log on to the COMM 422 Web site, you can change your password, if you wish. Just click on "Course Tools," then on the password "Key." Bear in mind that a good password should:
If you have any difficulties, remember you're welcome to e-mail me. I'm always happy to help if I can.

COMM 422 Tentative Schedule

NOTE: Additional readings may be assigned. Complete assignments BEFORE each class listed on the table below.





Feb 1

Course Overview & Introductions

Read This Week


  • Get your personal e-mail account and send a message to me, giving me your e-mail address. Do not use the COMM 422 Web site for this assignment. Send the message to my address, and send it from your personal e-mail account. Due Noon 2/7/00
  • Note: The Crispin readings are reprints of a course that was originally conducted through e-mail. Do not attempt any of the "homework" assignments in these readings unless I specifically instruct you to do so.
  • Feb 8

    Tools & Techniques

    Read Before Class: 


  • Familiarize yourself with the COMM 422 Web site.
  • Post an introductory message on the class bulletin board that includes 1) your name, 2) your major, 3) why you enrolled in this course, 4) how skilled (or unskilled) you consider yourself to be in using the Internet, and 5) one thing you want to learn in Comm 422 this semester. Due Noon 2/14/00
  • Use the Telnet feature of CARL Uncover at telnet:// to find a book or journal article of your choice. Bring a printout of your telnet session to class 2/14/99. Due at beginning of class.
  • Feb15

    History & Emergence of the Internet

    Read Before Class: 

    • Crispin, P. (1994). Roadmap Workshop 96: Roadmap 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8: E-mail, Usenet newsgroups, E-mail distribution servers, & Netiquette 


    • Asynchronous & Synchronous Communication: E-mail, Bulletin Boards, and Chat Rooms
    • QUIZ #1
  • Visit the list of Internet discussion lists or Select at least one e-mail discussion list that you believe would be useful for you, and join it.  Post your choice and why you chose it to the class bulletin board. Be sure to read the messages on the list you select. You will need the information later in the semester!
  • Your BB posting of the listserv you selected, its activity level, and why you chose it is due noon 2/21/00.

    Feb 22

    Research in & on the 'Net

    Read Before Class: 


    • Research strategies: Search engines, conducting searches, and virtual libraries
  • Scavenger Hunt. Due Beginning of class 3/8/00.
  • Three Articles Due (Late articles will not be accepted and will result in a "0" for your Article Presentation grade.)
  • Mar 1


    of CMC

    Read Before Class: 


    •  Intro to HTML: Creating the html file in Word; html tags; viewing the Web page on your local computer. 
    • Team assignments.
  • Team assignment: Develop a class resource Web page that lists Web sites and tools you think will be useful for Web page development. A good starting point is the information on Web page design at my Web site (Click on Resources for Students, then on Web Authoring). Due Beginning of class 3/22/00
  • We will combine your team resource pages to create a series of useful links for the whole class.
  • Mar 8

    Computer-Mediated Relationships

    Read Before Class: 


    • FTP
    • Class Resource Page Presentations
    • QUIZ #2
  • Begin thinking about your own Web page. Do some research and decide what you want the world to know about you, what you're an expert in that you can share, and what particular topic you would like to create a Web page or chat room about. Post your topic on the bulletin board. Due noon 3/13/00
  • Be prepared to talk about your project in class 3/15/00.
  • Mar 15

    Group Processes

    in CMC

    Project Discussions


    • The Palace
    • Class chat: Group process exercise
    • Discuss Web page & Palace projects
  • Project Topics Due
  • Mar 22

    Web Pages to Meet Personal & Organizational


    Read Before Class: 


    • Web page & Palace projects


    • Class Resource Page Due
    • Work on Web & Palace projects

    Mar 29

    Spring Break

    No Class

    No Class

    Apr 5

    Group Decision Making through CMC

    Read Before Class: 


    • GDSS Exercise
    • QUIZ #3
  • Web & Palace projects
  • Apr 12


    Community, & Gender in Cyberspace

    Read Before Class: 


    • MUDs, MOOs, MUSHes, & MUCKs 
    • Article Presentations
  • This is a multi-part assignment:
  • Find a MUD, MOO or MUSH that appeals to you and log in as a female. Observe and participate for at least one hour.
  • Log off then log in again as a male. Observe and participate for at least one hour.
  • After you have completed your observations, write a brief but thoughtful report of your experiences and share it on the class bulletin board.  Due noon 4/18/00.
  • Apr 19

    Social Norms,

    Crime, and Punishment

    through CMC

    Read Before Class: 

  • Visit a MUD, MOO, MUSH or the Palace and observe the group behavior in terms of community and social norms during the next two weeks. Then post to the class bulletin board your thoughtful analysis of what you observed. Due noon 4/25/00.
  • Apr 26

    Comm Week Apr 23-28!

    Organizing and Organizations in Cyberspace

    Read Before Class: 

    • Dibbell, J. (1994). A Rape in Cyberspace. The Village Voice, 39(41). 
      CAUTION! This piece is widely read & discussed because the incident it describes has important implications for the process of organizing in cyberspace. However, it contains graphic language. If you have any concerns about reading it, please NOTIFY ME


    • Web page projects
  • Web page & Palace projects
  • May 3

    Computer-Mediated Public Relations & Advertising

    Read Before Class: 


    • Banner Ads
    • QUIZ #4
  • Web page & Palace projects
  • May 10

    Private & Public CMC

    Read Before Class: 


    • Web page & Palace projects
  • Web page & Palace projects
  • May 17



    Web Page & Palace Presentations

    • Study for Final Exam

    May 24

    Final Exam

    5:00-6:50 p.m.

    • Final Exam

    Back to Student Resources

    January 26, 2001