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RTF/COM 309
"Communication Technology and Society"
Grading and Caveats
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The following page covers: Required Texts, Course Requirements, Course Evaluation, Undergraduate Writing Center, Using the Internet, and Academic Honesty


Required Texts

Joseph Straubhaar and Robert LaRose (1996) Communications Media in the Information Society

Reading Packet entitled, 'Communication Technology and Society' is being assembled and will be avail. at Longhorn Copies, 2520 Guadalupe (across street from CMB)

Students are responsible for all materials assigned in the readings and class handouts, whether or not the material is covered in class. Assignments should be read before the assigned class. Generally, the material presented in the lectures will complement (rather than review) the information covered in the textbook. All written assignments must be typed or printed. Handwritten or electronic documents will not be accepted.


Course Requirements

  1. 1. Research Assignment. The research assignment will consist of a library-based research project. Material can be supplemented by on-line research, interviews, etc. The object of the project is to identify a communications technology of interest, to briefly present its development, and primarily to assess the social and cultural contexts of its development, uses, consequences, and possible near-term future. You must go beyond simple publicity for the device, and dig into the real substance: who's going to get access, what's going to be outmoded, etc. (or questions of your choosing). Credibly present both (or more) sides of your basic points and draw a conclusion. Feel free to pick any communication technology or application other than mainstream radio, television, or film whose primary development has been in the 20th century. This can include newly emerging communications technologies. One list of possible topics can be found in A. Grant Communication Technology Update (on PCL reserve). The assignment should run between 6-7 double spaced pages. Be clear & concise. Assignment due Monday, November 25th and is worth 25%.
  2. 2. Research Assignment Bibliography. We want to know what materials you are using for your paper. Materials can include movies, videos, on-line conference records, interviews, 'zines, etc. but must include at least two relatively scholarly books. Include an explanation of the general nature of your topic. Assignment is due Monday, Oct. 14th and is worth 5%.
  3. 3. Two Short Exams. Will be based on material covered in the readings and/or class lectures to date. They will consist of a combination of sentence completion, item matching, and primarily short answer questions. The objective of the test will be to assess your knowledge and understanding of the basic terms and concepts, as well as of the arguments and theories presented in the readings and in class. There will be a review session before the exam. Exams will be on Friday, Sept 27th & Nov. 1 during class and are each worth 15%.
  4. 4. Final Exam. The final exam will be based on all the material covered in the readings and/or class lectures. The format of the final will similar to the midterm. The exam will be held on Friday, December 16, 9-12 p.m. in a location to be announced and is worth 40%.
  5. 5. Attendance. The material can be hard to master, and questions are strongly encouraged, both in class and during office hours. Therefore, attendance is mandatory. An attendance sheet may be distributed at the beginning of class. More than three unexplained absences will result in a lowering of your grade by half a letter grade, more than five a full letter grade.

The final grade will be computed as the sum of the points earned on each of the assignments. The total will be converted into a letter grade: 90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; below 60=F.


Course Evaluation

In turn, you will have an opportunity to evaluate the course as well as the instructor sometime toward the end of the semester. Your evaluations will not be available to the instructor until after grades have been turned in. However, do consider how you might constructively modify the course and feel free at any time to send the instructor or an assistant a note, or make a visit during office hours!


Undergraduate Writing Center

The Undergraduate Writing Center located in the FAC 211, phone 471-6222, offers individualized assistance to students who want to improve their writing skills. There isno charge, and students may come in on a drop in or appointment basis.


Using the Internet

The course will include demonstrations and suggestions about how to use the Internet. Both the Instructor and TA will be available online. You will find that accessing UseNet, email, the Web, etc. are all quite easy on the UGL computers or College of Communication , and that there is a staff waiting there to help you. There are a stream of books all the time about how to use the Internet. Get your computer account activated as soon as possible.


Academic Honesty

All work done for this course must be the original work of the student submitting it and should have been undertaken exclusively for this course. Assisting in academic dishonesty (e.g. letting someone copy your assignments) can retroactively lower your grade. Violations of academic honesty will result in appropriate action under the University's rules.