COMM 530 Communications Technologies Banner

Office CP-650-27

Phone 657-278-7008

dwitmer@fullerton.edu

Office Hours MW 11:15-12:45

 

Course Goals:

 

In this seminar, we will survey current theory, research methods, and applications of communications technologies with an emphasis on the Internet and Web. General topics of inquiry will focus on how people relate to themselves, others, and the technology. We will consider the ways in which new communications technologies are changing organizations and commerce and how groups of people make decisions through mediated communications.

 

By the end of the semester, students will be able to:

  • Describe and critique current theoretical views of new communications technologies.

  • Discuss various ways in which the nature of the electronic environment creates and/or constrains human communication.

  • Access and utilize on-line research resources.

  • Develop meaningful research in CMC.

     

    What You Will Need:

     

    We will utilize both traditional and on-line resources, including the World Wide Web, Internet news and e-mail distribution lists, ftp sites, etc. Readings will include studies on organizations, group processes, psychological processes, feminist critiques, ethics, and methodology. Basic materials for this course include:

     

  • Wood, A. F., & Smith, M. J. (2005). Online Communication: Linking Technology, Identity, & Culture (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

     

    Recommended but not required: (available through amazon.com, ecampus.com, or varsitybooks.com):

     

  • W3C HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Home Page http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/

  • Vincent Flanders' Web Pages That Suck http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/

  • Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition http://www.webstyleguide.com/

  • SUNY Albany University Libraries "A Basic Guide to the Internet" http://library.albany.edu/internet/internet.html

     

    You also will need:

     

  • Basic ability to navigate the Web and your computer.

  • The COMM 530 Blackboard Web site (available through your student portal, http://my.fullerton.edu.

  • Plenty of 3-1/2" diskettes or CDs. Back up your work!

     

    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 (Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari for the Macintosh, etc.).

     

    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 current popular communication software. Please verify with your ISP that the service is adequate! If dialup is your thing, Titan Access is a good value. You can sign up at:

    http://access.fullerton.edu/

     

    GRADING POLICIES

     

    You may earn a maximum of 1000 points during the semester. Final course grades are assigned as follows:

    Points

    Definition

    Grade

    975-1000

     

    Outstanding

    A+

    926-974

    A

    900-925

    A-

    875-899

     

    Good

    B+

    826-874

    B

    800-825

    B-

    775-799

     

    Acceptable

    C+

    700-774

    C

    675-699

     

    Poor

    D+

    626-674

    D

    600-625

    D-

    <600

    Failing

    F

     

    Examination dates appear in the schedule at the end of this syllabus. There are no “make up” assignments or exams.

     

    A Word About Grading: Grades are based upon quality of work expected of college students at the graduate level. This means all oral and written work must meet certain standards, which are listed below.

     

    For a grade of C, the work meets the average level of competence expected for graduate level college work. It will:

    ·         conform to the type of assignment and tasks assigned.

    ·         be ready on time, at the beginning of class.

    ·         meet the objectives of the assignment.

    ·         include all special elements of the assignment (e.g., outline, bibliography, memos, etc.).

    ·         demonstrate reasonable directness, competence, and public relations judgment.

    ·         be free of serious grammatical, punctuation, syntax, or word usage errors.

    ·         cite all words or ideas drawn from the work of others.

     

    For a grade of B, the work meets the above average level of competence expected for graduate level college work. It will include all the qualities of "C-level" work, plus:

    ·         demonstrate originality and depth of thought.

    ·         include thorough and exhaustive research.

    ·         display clear organization and professional presentation.

    ·         incorporate clear, concise evaluation criteria.

    ·         demonstrate skillful presentation, avoiding distraction from conveyance of the message.

    ·         indicate efficient use of resources.

     

    For a grade of A, the work meets an outstanding level of competence for graduate level college work. It will include all the qualities of "B- and C-level" work, plus:

    ·         constitute a true contribution to the knowledge or beliefs of the reader or audience.

    ·         sustain positive interest, feeling, and/or commitment in the reader or audience.

    ·         demonstrate vividness through the use of language.

    ·         demonstrate fluency and polish that strengthens the impact of the message.

    ·         provide a genuine service to the client or recipient.

    ·         be of professional-level written or oral presentation quality.

     

    Below average work (Grade D or F) has major deficiencies, and does not meet upper-division level requirements.

     

    Course Activities:

     

    Your final course grade will be based on your participation in class activities. Each activity is weighted as follows:

     

    Article review & presentation                    200 points

    Topic presentation                                      200 points

    Webfolio                                                       500 points

    Online and offline class participation       100 points

     

    Article Review & Presentation (200 points):

    For this assignment, you will select an exemplary scholarly article on any aspect of CMC that you believe will pertain to your semester project. The purpose of this assignment is twofold: 1) It should help get you started on your research for your project, and 2) it will help you develop experience in the critical review and evaluation of scholarly research. Obviously, your review will also require research, since you will have to support your arguments. Your review paper and in-class presentation should: 1) summarize the article, 2) explicate the theoretical grounding of the research, 3) describe the strengths of the piece, 4) provide suggestions for how the study and/or reporting of it might be improved, and 5) discuss the contribution you believe it makes to current scholarship in the field. Some ideas of things to look for as you critique your article: a) thoroughness of the lit review in terms of depth and breadth, b) methodological rigor, c) strength of logic and argument, d) appropriate theoretical grounding, e) clear interpretation and discussion of results, f) degree to which the piece contributes to our understanding of the topic. Be sure to attach a copy of the article to your paper. Your grade will be based on the 1) quality of your critique, 2) the extent to which you cover the 5 points outlined above, and 3) the mechanical excellence of your writing. Hint: Work smart--keep your Webfolio & Topic Presentation in mind when you choose your article!

     

    Topic Presentation (200 points)

    You may do this assignment alone or with a partner. If you work with someone else, you both will receive the same grade. During the first week of class, please review all the topics that we will address during the semester (see the Course Schedule). The second week of class, come armed with a first, second, and third choice of the topic you would like to tackle. You will become the resident class expert on that topic. In that capacity, you will act as class lecturer on the evening that the topic will be covered. Half of the scheduled class time will be yours to cover the information (we can negotiate if you need more for an exercise, demo, etc). As part of your presentation, you should prepare a handout for your classmates and instructor that outlines the content of your presentation. Your handout should include abstracts of all articles and book chapters that pertain to your topic, as well as any diagrams, figures, or tables that you think will be useful for your classmates. For your convenience, our classrooms are equipped with live Internet access, Microsoft Office (including PowerPoint), and VHS players.

     

    Your grade will be based on: 1) the depth and breadth of your research, 2) the clarity of your presentation, 3) the quality of your handout as a reference resource for your classmates. Hint: Work smart--give some thought to your Webfolio topic when you choose your presentation topic!

     

    Webfolio (500 points)

    You will have an opportunity to reflect on the material and on your own learning by creating a Webfolio, to which you will add material throughout the semester. To do this, you will create a Web page on the course Web site, which will include several brief reaction papers throughout the semester. Each of these pieces will focus on an assigned topic that corresponds with the assigned readings. Explanations & reflections should accompany all Webfolio components. The Webfolio also will include an online review of literature on a topic of your choice.

     

    The Course Webfolio includes cumulative materials related to COMM 530 course content. You may choose a single course-related topic in depth, or you may survey the entire course and use the class schedule to organize your Webfolio topics. Either way, this is a project that you will begin immediately, and I will check it throughout the semester to offer guidance and feedback. Thus, although I will not attach a grade to your Webfolio until the end of the semester, I will expect to see improvement in your work as the semester progresses. Your final grade will be based on your demonstrated attainment of course standards, which are described below. Starting your Webfolio right away will enhance both your learning and your grade. Content ideas for Webfolios include but are not limited to:

    v      Annotated links to scholarly research papers & Web sites.

    v      Annotated bibliographies.

    v      Your own research on related topics.

    v      Annotated links to service agencies, professional organizations.

    v      Case studies.

    v      Reflection pieces and position papers on course topics.

    v      Plans, pictures, drawings, or other topical resources.

     

    For the review of literature, include the following steps in your Webfolio:

    1.        Topic selection: a preliminary topic, possibly in the form of a research question (e.g., Do teenagers use SMS more than adults in emergency situations?).

    2.        Annotated bibliography: An alphabetized bibliography of all scholarly materials (books, journal articles, and online scholarship) you can find on your topic, each with an accompanying line or two that describe the content of the piece.

    3.        A topic outline of your literature review.

    4.        A preliminary draft of your literature review.

    5.        The final draft of your literature review.

     

    Grading Standards for Webfolios:

    Evidence

    Grade of C

    Grade of B

    Grade of A

    Content:

    Communicates accurate information from sources beyond lecture and assigned readings. Includes an annotated bibliography of at least 10 sources. Includes at least 7 working links to appropriate external Web sites. Demonstrates adequate knowledge of the subject. A reflection page accompanies all materials.

    Communicates accurate information from sources beyond lecture and assigned readings. Includes an annotated bibliography of at least 15 sources. Includes at least 10 working links to appropriate internal and external Web sites. Demonstrates above average knowledge of the subject. A reflection page that demonstrates conceptual and practical understanding of the topic accompanies all materials.

    Communicates accurate and extensive information from sources beyond lecture and assigned readings. Includes an annotated bibliography of at least 20 sources. Includes at least 15 working links to appropriate internal and external Web sites. Demonstrates exceptional knowledge of the subject. A reflection page that demonstrates conceptual and practical understanding of the topic, and offers meaningful insights accompanies all materials.

    Form:

    Includes title, 4 headings, and working hotlinks to external Web sites. Format is clear and easy to read. Writing has no more than one spelling, grammar, and syntax errors, and is targeted to a graduate-level readership.

    Includes title, 4 headings, and working hotlinks to internal and external Web sites. Format is clear, easy to read, and visually appealing, and includes graphics. Writing is free of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors, and is targeted to a graduate-level readership.

    Includes title, 4 headings, and working hotlinks to internal and external Web sites. Format is clear, easy to read, and visually appealing, and includes graphics and additional features. Writing is free of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors, and is targeted to a postgraduate-level readership.

     

     

    Notes:

     

    Naturally, I expect everyone in this class to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct, and to demonstrate at all times personal and academic integrity. It is especially important that you avoid any form of plagiarism, intentional or unintentional. If you have any doubts about what constitutes plagiarism, please get clarification from a faculty member. In COMM 530, plagiarism includes but is not limited to: borrowing another person's ideas without acknowledgment; using paraphrased material without attribution; not citing quoted material; copying from any source and presenting the work as your own; downloading and using as your own any sentences, paragraphs, or entire documents off the Internet  (including source code, scripts, graphics, or other Web elements); or using anyone else's assistance (other than the instructor or a lab TA) to fulfill course requirements.

     

    For your protection and my peace of mind, please keep a copy of all work you turn in to me, whether on paper or on disk.

     

    Tentative Course Schedule

     

    The dates and topics listed below are tentative. We may realign some of the content, based on student interest and current developments in emerging technologies. Additional reading assignments will be added as appropriate.

     

    Week Number

    Topic

    Read Before Class

    1

    Introduction & Overview

     

    2

    The Internet as Social Technology

                    Using Technology to Communicate in New Ways
                    Evaluating & Creating Information Quality on the Web

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 1

    3

                    Understanding How New Communication Technologies
                                    Work

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 2

    4

                    Introduction to Web Design

    W3C HTML Home Page Web Pages That Suck

    5

    The Self Among Others
                   
    Forming Online Identities


    Wood & Smith, Chapter 3

    6

                    Relating Online

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 4

    7

                    Seeking Therapy Online

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 5

    8

                    Communicating in Virtual Communities

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 6

    9

    Article Presentations

    Article Presentations

    10

    Internet Culture and Critique

                    Rebuilding Corporations Online


    Wood & Smith, Chapter 7

    11

                    Accessing the Machine

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 8

    12

                    Carving Alternative Spaces

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 9

    13

                    Pop Culture and Online Expression

    Wood & Smith, Chapter 10

    14

    The Law & New Technologies

    TBD

    15

    Webfolio Presentations

     

    16

    5:00-6:00 p.m. Final Exam Scheduled

     

     

    September 27, 2005