Syllabus for COM-265

COMMUNICATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course offers an undergraduate-level study of digital media with emphasis on the uses of textual and visual media in digital spaces, such as websites, blogs, podcasts, and wikis. The course examines how digital media is extending the capabilities of traditional media and also how digital media is altering the societal landscape. It also investigates how digital technologies are changing the economic realities associated with media. This course provides opportunities for students who are interested in digital publication and those interested in theories of digital composition and rhetoric.

COURSE TOPICS

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Assess how digital technologies are changing traditional media industries’ economics, production, and distribution.

CO2        Critically evaluate digital media production.

CO3        Identify digital media’s possible economic, cultural, and political impacts.

CO4        Critique the roles digital media play on individual and societal levels in American culture.

CO5        Analyze digital media products from a media literacy perspective.

CO6        Evaluate how digital media are regulated.

CO7    Assess the role digital technology plays in the evolution of social media.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-1138928466

COURSE STRUCTURE

Communication in the Digital Age is a three-credit, online course, consisting of six modules, a midterm exam, and a final project. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums including a video online discussion, complete blog entries, a wiki activity, a podcast activity, take a proctored midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in three discussion forums. Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

All of these responses must be substantial. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate or your mentor, state and support your position.

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view, and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions: responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, mature, and respectful.

Video Discussion Forum

You are required to participate in one video discussion forum. In the Video Discussion Forum, you will upload your video response to the discussion question. Then, you will view, listen, and reply via comments to at least two classmates’ videos by the date indicated in the Course Calendar. Please reference Module 3 of the course website for full details and requirements.

Podcast Activity

You are required to create one podcast, using the instructions provided in Module 5. Podcasts are a product of digital media, a reinvention of traditional media. As they proliferate and grow in popularity, it is important to be able to utilize this form of media. You will learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the format, and communicate through this form of digital media.

Please reference Module 5 of the course website for full details and requirements. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Wiki Activity

You are required to complete one wiki activity. A wiki enables you to collaborate with other classmates by adding content to shared pages and respond to others using the comments feature at the bottom of each page. In essence, a wiki allows you to discuss, share, critique, and collaborate among group members. This is the online space for you to demonstrate your team work together. Everyone is required to add to the wiki and should feel free to amend others’ work, if necessary.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Blog Entries

You are required to complete six blog entries. Blogging is a fundamental digital media practice and a significant means by which people communicate about particular issues, establish credibility, and construct online identities. These blog entries provide you the opportunity to practice and refine your blogging skills and offer another platform to engage in the discussion of course topics. Everyone is encouraged to read their classmates’ blog entries and comment on them.

Note: The blog in this course is a collection of individual blog entries. As such, you will receive one grade for all required blog entries at the end of the course. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Midterm Examination

Exam Study Guide

For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam, refer to the study guide available in the Examinations section of the course website.

The midterm exam is two hours long and consists of multiple-choice and essay questions and will cover material from Modules 1, 2, and 3. For the midterm, you are required to use the University's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the Examinations and Proctors section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course website) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

Final Project

You are required to complete a final project. The goal of this project is to thoroughly research a topic within digital communication and present findings using relevant technology. This is a two-step project that consists of a detailed research paper exploring a topic related to this class, and a video presentation (webcam video with PowerPoint) to communicate your findings.

Please reference the Final Project area of the course website for full details and requirements. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at www.tesu.edu.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Plagiarism

Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > Citing Sources.)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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