Considering technologies from stone tablets to video games, this course evaluates how communication technology shapes society and vice versa, providing a general overview of theory and research about communication technology, as well as an introduction to social scientific research methods. The central propositions of the course are that communication technologies...
First, the course reviews the state of research and theory about communication technology. Next, the course surveys the implications of communication technology for such contexts as personal identity and community, interpersonal relationships, politics and government, creativity and art, business and commerce in order to provide a broad introduction to basic concepts, processes, and methods in the study of technology. Finally, the course steps back to consider the ways in which society attempts to envision, shape, and control the development of technology.
The course will emphasize the theoretical perspectives of mass communication research, science and technology studies, and the history of technology. Throughout the course, students will complete assignments that introduce new means of collecting data to test theory. This course is intended to be useful to anyone who uses communication technology and anyone interested in the social sciences, defined broadly. It will also prepare students for more advanced courses in this area.
Emily Shaw (Lecturer and Lab Instructor)
Office: Room 7, 2nd Floor, University YMCA (Wright St. & Chalmers)
Office Hours: Fridays, 12-3 and by appointment
Kristin Drogos (Lab Instructor)
Office: 1203 W. Oregon room #201
Office Hours: Mondays, 1-3 and by appointment
Andrew Bosco (Teaching Intern)
Phone: (630) 336-3084
The course consists of two lectures and one discussion/lab section each week. Lectures and discussion sections supplement -- but do not duplicate -- the readings; readings supplement but do not duplicate the class meetings. Some of the content of the course is available only from lectures and discussion/lab sections, and other content is available only from readings. Students are responsible for learning the detailed content of both of these, and are strongly encouraged to consult a classmate for notes if they must miss a lecture or discussion section.
In addition to the textbooks, there will be some electronic readings available on the web, and possibly one or two assigned screenings of DVDs that will be announced well in advance. Even though assigned media are not textbooks, they function as readings and you are responsible for their content.
Starting in week 3, there will be a short assignment posted each Thursday to the Assignments page of the course website. These assignments will be due at 12 noon on the following Thursday , unless the instructors indicate otherwise. These short assignments are about one page long and are submitted electronically on each student's class blog. These assignments often require you to do something with communication technology, then reflect upon your experience in light of specific ideas and concepts presented in lectures and readings. Weekly blog posts will account for 30% of your final grade.
At three points throughout the semester, students will be asked to choose a subsection of their blog posts to submit for grading by the instructors. Before each of these grading deadlines, students will be actively encouraged -- both in discussion sections and on their own time -- to revise their blog posts before submitting a subset for grading. With these revisions, students will have the opportunity to correct spelling, grammar and formatting errors, to refine and expand their arguments, and to assure they have addressed all parts of the assignment. Because this revision is permitted and encouraged, student writing will be held to a high standard or excellence.
There is a multiple-choice midterm and final exam. While the final exam is not a cumulative exam, a number of the concepts introduced before the midterm will again be addressed in the second half of the course. Therefore, students will be responsible for this material, as well as any new material presented between midterm and final. Both exams may also include 1-2 short-answer questions. The midterm exam accounts for 25% of your final grade. The final exam accounts for 35% of your final grade.
Participation is graded by your discussion/lab section leader on the basis of your performance in section. This includes attendance in section, thoughtful participation in class discussion and small group work, and periodic peer review of blog posts. Participation accounts for 10% of your final grade.
There is no term paper. There are no final projects.
Your final grade for this course will be determined as follows.
Letter grades will be calculated using the following scale.
|C+||77-79%||F||59% or below|
For more details on how these grades are applied to your writing, see the handout "Grading Rubric for Written Work".
Class Attendance. You are expected to attend all class meetings and to be on time for class. Attendance is taken at discussion/lab sections and factored into your participation grade (see "participation" above). As attendance is taken at the beginning of class, if you arrive after roll is taken this is counted as an absence.
Late work and examinations. You are responsible for planning ahead and taking whatever steps are necessary to allow you (1) to be available to take the exams on the scheduled dates and times and to (2) turn in assignments on the specified due dates. Late work will not be accepted except in documented cases of illness or emergency (see below). Computer problems are not acceptable as an excuse for late work: if an assignment requires use of the Internet or unfamiliar software, allow enough time to get help if you have problems. (We want to help you! But it is hard to do so when presented with a problem five minutes before an assignment is due.)
Academic Integrity. All assignments must be your own work. You may not represent the images, words, or ideas of another as your own work. In all cases where your work is indebted to the work of others you must give immediate and proper ackowledgement to the source.
As stated in the previous section, late work is not accepted. If you attempt to modify the settings in the online assignment submission system or provide false information to instructors in an attempt to receive credit for late work this is a violation of academic integrity.
The Student Code has very strict and explicit policies prohibiting plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, and facilitating these acts. Penalties for violations are severe, such as an automatic failing grade in the course. These rules will be strictly enforced.
Extended illness or family emergency. If an extended illness or family emergency makes it impossible for a student to attend to their responsibilities, they must contact the Dean of Students, who will notify the student's instructors. The instructor will then make any necessary accommodations after receiving notice from the Dean.
Students with disabilities. In consultation with Disability Resources and Educational Services, all reasonable and necessary adjustments will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. To insure that disability-related concerns are properly addressed, students with disabilities who require assistance to participate in this class are asked to consult with the instructor as soon as this need is apparent.
Special thanks to Jolene White, Charles Ess, Phil Howard, David Silver, Robert E. McGinn, Gus Hosein, Eszter Hargittai, and Dave Tewksbury for suggestions regarding this class. Technology support thanks to ATLAS and the University Library Gaming Collection. Thanks also to the former instructors, teaching assistants, and students, who have developed many of the examples used in this class.