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2010 Fall: ATEC 2322

Introduction to Electronic & Digital Communications

The course will examine the history of electronic communications with a critical view of their effects on society.
The focus will be on the role of the Internet in contemporary life, the commodification of news and information, and
will introduce electronic and digital research methods for emerging media and communications.

Policy Statement
General Information
Course number: ATEC 2322
Course name: Introduction to Electronic and Digital Communications
Term and year: Fall 2010
Class number: 2410
Time and location: TTh, 11:30a–12:45p, WSTC 1.302
Instructor: John Jones, Faculty Associate
Email: john dot jones at utdallas dot edu
Office: AT 1.502
Office hours: TBA
TA: Barbara Vance
TA Office hours: TBA

A detailed list of readings can be found in the Course Schedule below. There are no assigned textbooks for students
to purchase.

Additional course requirements

• Access to a computer
• An email account which is checked daily

Course grades will be based on the following factors:

Attendance, participation, and short assignments (20%): This course is designed to be a participatory learning
experience. As such, each class meeting will build on and extend the skills and concepts introduced in previous
meetings. For this reason, it is important that students attend class, arrive on time, bring any assigned work, and
otherwise participate in all in-class activities. If a student misses three (3) class meetings, these absences will affect
the student's grade. If a student misses more than five (5) class meetings—excused or unexcused—this could
result in the student failing the course. This includes absences for illnesses and other emergencies. For this reason,
students should reserve their absences for truly unavoidable emergencies. Because we have a limited number of
class meetings, it is important that students be in class on time and stay for the entire period. If a student is late or
leaves class before it is dismissed, he or she will be counted absent. If a student finds that any other unavoidable
conflict prevents him or her from attending class or being on time, that student should discuss this conflict with the
instructor prior to the absence (if possible). Otherwise, the student should contact the instructor about the absence as
soon as possible. Students should plan to spend 3 hours a week in class as well as 3–6 hours a week preparing for
class meetings.

Occasionally, students may be given in-class and homework assignments as well as short quizzes on the readings or
other material covered in class.
Weekly Blogs (20%): Students will create blogs which they will update weekly. Occasionally, specific prompts will
be provided for these weekly posts, but, in most instances, students will be free to reflect on in-class discussions,
technology assignments, or any other topics related to the course. These posts should be substantive, exploring new
ideas, continuing conversations begun in class or in our readings, and/or, in general, be the result of the student's
active engagement with the content and themes of the course. Students should plan on spending at least one hour a
week on these posts.

Discussion moderation (20%): In the latter weeks of the course, students will work in small groups to facilitate
course discussion for one class meeting. While each group's facilitation of the course discussion can vary, all groups
will need to become extremely familiar with the course readings in order to lead a discussion about those readings.
They will identify those areas of the readings which are ripe for discussion because they are controversial,
challenging, or interesting and provide supplementary materials for extending the discussion of the readings as
necessary. More information will be provided on these discussion moderations later in the semester. Students should
plan to spend 8–10 hours with their groups preparing for this assignment.

Final project and presentation (40%): Students in the course will produce a critical project of their choosing
based on the themes presented in the class. Students will have wide latitude in choosing the topic for this
assignment, as well as the final form it will take. Students will be allowed to work in groups on the final project.
However, if they choose to do so, the final project produced by the group should be the equivalent of their combined
efforts; that is, a project produced by a three-person group should represent three times the effort—in complexity,
content, analysis, etc.—of a project produced by a single individual.

During the final weeks of class, students will make short presentations about their projects, discussing the project's
content and their conclusions. More details will be provided about specific requirements for this assignment later in
the semester. Students should plan on devoting 20–25 hours to this project over the course of the semester.

Late work
If a student cannot attend class on the date an assignment is due, he or she should discuss a make-up date with me
before the absence. If the student does not contact me before the time an assignment is due, the assignment will be
considered late. I am generally flexible when I am kept informed of absences, but I am generally not flexible when a
student skips multiple classes without contacting me, then shows up wanting to make up missed work.

Blog posts, homework, and in-class assignments will not be accepted late. If a student fails to attend class on the day
he or she is scheduled to lead a class discussion or give a presentation, that student should expect to receive a zero
for the assignment. Any other projects or assignments that are turned in late will be reduced 5% for each day that
they are late, beginning with the first. I will not accept any project or assignment that is more than a week late unless
the student makes an appointment with me to discuss his or her reason for turning in the work after the deadline.

Research and scholastic honesty

If a student turns in work that is not her or his own, in whole or in part, without adequate attribution to the original
author, or if he or she any commits any other form of scholastic dishonesty, these actions will result in either a major
course penalty or, depending on the severity of the violation, failure for the course. If a students have any questions
about the use they are making of sources for an assignment, they should see me before the assignment is turned in.
See the UT Dallas Syllabus Policies and Procedures for a more detailed description of what constitutes scholastic

Technology policy
We will use technology frequently in this class. Occasionally, students will be introduced to new technologies that
they may be unfamiliar with. When this happens, these new technologies will be explained in class. If students are
confused by something presented in the course or don't understand how to use a particular technology, they should
ask for help. However, if students are familiar with the technology being taught, they should be patient with others
and lend a helping hand to their classmates when possible.
Classroom technology use
Students are welcome to use the lab computers during class for note-taking and relevant research or to bring laptops
or other portable computing devices for that purpose. In general, most technology is welcome in class as long as it is
used to aid student learning; technology that doesn't serve this purpose—or actively distracts from the student's own
or others' learning—is not welcome.

UT Dallas Syllabus Policies and Procedures

Carefully review the policies described at

Miscellaneous notes
Please keep the following in mind:
• Bring all materials to each session. This includes all course texts as well as printouts of any additional
reading, assignment drafts and research sources, lecture notes, and a writing implement.
• Make an effort to check the online schedule often. Any updates to the course schedule, additional
assignment information, or new reading material will be posted on this site. Students are responsible for all
assignments posted on the schedule, so they should be sure to check for updated assignments before each
class meeting.

Week 1
Aug. 19
Course introduction.
Wesch: "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us" (video)

Week 2: Introduction to New Media

Aug. 24
O'Reilly: "What is Web 2.0?"
"History of the Internet" (video)

Aug. 26
Manovich: "New Media from Borges to HTML"
Jenkins: Introduction to Convergence Culture

Week 3: Is the Internet making you stupid?

Aug. 31
Nicholas Carr: "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
Cascio: "Get Smarter"
Doonesbury: [Heads up dude]

Sep. 2
Bush: "As We May Think"
Turing: "Computing Machinery and Intelligence"
Engelbart: from Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework
Bateson: from Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Week 4: Medium and Message

Sep. 7
McLuhan: from "The Media is the Message" and "The Galaxy Reconfigured"
Borges: "The Garden of Forking Paths"
Sep. 9
Ong: from Orality and Writing
Haraway: "A Cyborg Manifesto"

Week 5: Copyright and Intellectual Property

Sep. 14
Creative Commons History
Lessig: "Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity" (video)
Halperin: "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright?"

Sep. 16
Hardin: "The Tragedy of the Commons"
Introduction to Open Sources
GNU Manifesto

Week 6: Attention and Multi-tasking

Sep. 21
Rheingold: "Attention Literacy"
Stone: "Attention: The *Real* Aphrodisiac" (audio)
"Bad at Multitasking? Blame Your Brain" (audio)

Sep. 23
Rheingold: "Crap Detection 101" (video)
Lanham: "Economists of Attention"

Week 7: Crowdsourcing, Authorship, & Collaboration

Sep. 28,
Keen: "The Great Seduction" from The Cult of the Amateur
Carr: "The amorality of Web 2.0"
Lanier: "DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism"

Sep. 30
Udell: "Heavy Metal Umlaut" video
Sanger: "The Early History of Wikipedia and Nupedia: A Memoir"
Schiff: "Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?"

Week 8: Collaboration, cont. / Social Networking

Oct. 5
Rheingold: TED talk on Collaboration
Shirky: "How Social Media Can Make History" & "Web 2.0 Expo Keynote"

Oct. 7
Doctorow: Prologue and Chapter 1 from Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
boyd and Ellison: "Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship"
Calcanis: "Is Facebook unethical, clueless, or unlucky?"

Week 9: Privacy
Oct. 12
Benthem: Panopticon, Letters II, V, & VI
Raynes-Goldie: "Aliases, Creeping, and Wall Cleaning: Understanding Privacy in the Age of Facebook"
Sarno: "Apple collecting, sharing iPhone users' precise locations [Updated]"

Oct. 14
Albrechtslund: "Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance"
Anderson: "AOL releases search data on 500,000 users (updated)" and "Netflix Prize 2: (Privacy) Apocalypse
Guzik: "Discrimination by Design: Data Mining in the United States’s ‘War on Terrorism’" (pdf)

Week 10: Networks

Oct. 19
Castells: "Why Networks Matter" (pdf)
Boeder: "Habermas Heritage: The Future of the Public Sphere in the Networked Society"

Oct. 21
Rheingold: "Network Literacy," Videos One & Two
"Understanding Net Neutrality" (video)

Week 11: Networks, cont.

Oct. 26
Spinuzzi: "About those health care bill town halls" and "Some tentative thoughts about a networked rhetoric"
Castells: "Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society"

Oct. 28
Zittrain: "The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It" (video)
Doctorow: "Why I won't buy an iPad (and think you shouldn't, either)"

Week 12: Video Games

Nov. 2
Ebert: "Video games can never be art"
Brockway: "Why Ebert Is Wrong: In Defense of Games as Art"

Nov. 4

"Video Games and Learning" (video)

"School Uses Video Game to Teach Thinking Skills" (audio)
Brooks: "The Medium Is the Medium"

Week 13: This and That

Nov. 9
Anderson: "Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business"
Gladwell: "Priced to Sell. Is Free the Future?"

Nov. 11
Kelly: "Becoming Screen Literate" and "Reading in a Whole New Way"
Crain: "Twilight of the Books" (no vampires)

Week 14: TBA

Nov. 16, 18

Week 15
Nov. 23

Nov. 25
Thanksgiving: No class
Week 16
Nov. 30

Dec. 2