ATEC 3325 FALL 2012 Syllabus

Welcome to Introduction to Computer-Mediated Communication
Course Syllabus
Instructor: Dr. Janet Johnson
Office: JO3.550
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3pm, virtually and by appointment
Office phone: 972-883-2076
Class Website:
Twitter: @janetnews
Class hashtag: #ATEC3325

Course Description 
This introductory course will explore how we communicate and share knowledge via technology. This course will also introduce students to new media theoretical perspectives and new media scholarship. Moreover, students will learn to critically analyze new media and cyber culture.

This class is an intensive reading and writing course. Your progress in this class depends on:

1. Your demonstrated ability to respond and apply readings.
2. To understand and apply new media scholarship and theoretical frameworks to new media activities for analysis.
3. Submitting assignments and other requirements in a timely manner.

You MUST proofread all your work for spelling, grammar, and mechanical errors. To earn an “A” on any given assignment, students must meet and exceed the expectations of the course objectives.

Course Pre-requisites, Co-requisites, and/or Other Restrictions  
Rhetoric 1302

Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Upon successful completion of ATEC 3325, students should be able to:

  • Write effectively using appropriate organization, mechanics, and style;
  • Construct effective written arguments addressing CMC-related themes;
  • Gather, incorporate, and interpret source material in their writing;
  • Analyze CMC from different disciplinary perspectives (communication, cultural studies, history) and communicate that analysis in class discussions and in writing; and
  • Analyze and evaluate in writing the arguments of CMC theorists.


We do not have a textbook in this course. The calendar has the links to all the readings.

Required Social Media

  • Twitter account: You should set up a Twitter account the first week of class. Please send me a tweet @janetnews. Use the hashtag #ATEC3325. I will make a class list that everyone can subscribe too.
  • Wiki account:

A working knowledge of technology is required. Please double check that all your work is posted to the right web sites. Make sure you know how to post and save your work to the appropriate web sites we use in class. Also, a working knowledge of the online library site is mandatory. Research is an important part to this class. I expect you to familiarize yourself with our library’s databases as well as how to download and obtain scholarly articles.

Suggested Course Materials

  • APA style Guide
  • Grammar and Style Guide

Assignment Calendar

Date Assignment Percent
All semester Professional Communication Skills 10%
November 7 Critical Analysis Paper Peer Review Draft on the Wiki  8-10 pages 10%
November 15 Final Critical Analysis Paper  8-10 pages 20%
October 4 and October 25 2 Annotated Bibliographies posted to the Wiki 20%
All semesterDecember 7 Twitter Experiment and Reflection posted on the Wiki 10%
Check Calendar for your scheduled day Tutorial Presentation and Wiki Page 10%
Due Finals Group Video Essay 20%
Total 100%

Grading Scale:

Grade Points
A+ 950-1000
A 935-949
A- 900-934
B+ 860-899
B 835-859
B- 800-834
C+ 760-799
C 735-759
C- 700-734
D+ 660-699
D 635-659
D- 600-634
F Anything below a 599


Professional Communication Skills
(100 points)

The Professional Communication Skills grade is up to the professor’s discretion. You earn this grade through attendance (check attendance policy and WORK IS NOT AN EXCUSE) classroom professionalism, participation, and overall communication skills. I will also grade you on how well you follow instructions, did you turn in assignments as asked, etc. This grade is the easiest grade to receive. All I ask is that you show up, don’t fall asleep, be on time, read the material, follow the rules and respect your fellow classmates and me. Consider this your “job performance” evaluation.

Research Paper
(200 points) 

Each student will write a Critical Analysis paper.

You will first submit a draft to the wiki for peer review.

You will use to turn in your final paper.

You will critically examine some aspect of emerging media and/or cyberculture studies. Each paper will have solid ACADEMIC research from respectable BOOKS, and ACADEMIC JOURNALS. The goal is to write to a broad audience who may be interested in your topic. You want to help examine your topic through solid academic research.

Requirements for your paper are:

1. The essay should be 8-10 pages long.

2. APA formatted

3. Sources: The goal of this research paper is for you to learn what real academic research looks like and how to convey that to an audience in your paper. When you examine the effects of video games, I expect you to find the leading books on the subject as well as journal articles that would explore each side of the psychological effects of video games. With that said, I also want you to explore credible web sites to link to in your paper. Remember you are writing to an audience that wants to know this information, so you have to break your topic down.

• TEN Academic Sources (Leading books in your area of interest as well as academic journals) will check your work for plagiarism for sources not cited. Please review UTD’s policy on academic dishonesty. The link to is at the end of the syllabus.

Rubric for the Research Paper:

Thesis Easily identifiable, plausible, novel, sophisticated, insightful, crystal clear
Structure Evident, understandable, appropriate for thesis. Excellent transitions from point to point. Paragraphs support solid topic sentences
Use of Evidence Primary source information used to buttress every point with at least one example.  Examples support mini-thesis and fit within paragraph.  Excellent integration of quoted material into sentences. Demonstrates an in depth understanding of the ideas in the assigned reading and critically evaluates/responds to those ideas in an analytical, persuasive manner.
Analysis Author clearly relates evidence to “mini-thesis” (topic sentence); analysis is fresh and exciting, posing new ways to think of the material.  Work displays critical thinking and avoids simplistic description or summary of information.
Logic and Argumentation All ideas in the paper flow logically; the argument is identifiable, reasonable, and sound.  Author anticipates and successfully defuses counter-arguments; makes novel connections to outside material (from other parts of the class, or other classes), which illuminate thesis.  Creates appropriate college level, academic tone.
Mechanics Sentence structure, grammar, and diction excellent; correct use of punctuation and citation style; minimal to no spelling errors; absolutely no run-on sentences or comma splices. Conforms in every way to format requirements.



(50 points for Tutorial, 50 points for Wiki Page)

Each student will prepare and lead a short tutorial on a new media tool or new media concept (choices listed below). For the new media tools, tutorials will discuss what they do, how they work (their basic operations), popular companies/products/sites, and varying examples (show sites, examples created, etc.). For new media concepts, tutorials will provide grounding of the concept (what it means, where it comes from, where its used, etc.) and relevant examples.

Accompanying the presentation–each student will write a page about their subject on the wiki. The wiki page should be posted the day of your presentation in the folder Tutorial presentation for your class section. If the wiki page is not completed, you will only receive half credit for your Tutorial. You should use APA style when writing your wiki page. Yes, you must cite your sources!

All tutorials should be professional. I expect you to dress in business casual attire. Present yourself professionally. I expect you to incorporate basic oral speaking skills such as standing when speaking to the class, and be prepared.

These interactive tutorials will be done at the beginning of class and should be 10 minutes in length. Remember: students might be using the information you provide in some way, so applicability is key.


Audio Production Tools

Image Manipulation Tools

Video Production Tools

Podcasting Tools

Social Networking Sites

Professional Networking Sites

Media Publishing Sites

Aggregate News Feeders

Social Bookmarking Sites

Second Life/Virtual worlds



Augmented Reality Mashups

iPhone vs. Android

Creating Mobile and Tablet Applications



Internet Memes
Flash Mobs
Viral Culture
Crowdsourcing (collective intelligence)

Net Neutrality
Cloud Computing

Alternative Reality Gaming


Online Social Activism

Citizen Journalism

Internet Celebrities/YouTube effect

You will be graded on the quality of content and presentation style. If you are unable to do your tutorial on the assigned day– then you will receive no credit.

Grading Scale Rubric:

50-45 Points 44-40 Points 39-35 Points 34-30 Points 30 and under Points
5 – Excellent The student clearly explains the subject. Specific information is given and the examples shown are relevant and important to understanding the topic. The delivery is engaging and sentence structure is consistently correct. Eye contact is made and sustained throughout the presentation. There is strong evidence of preparation, organization, and enthusiasm for the topic. The visual aid is used to make the presentation more effective. Questions from the audience are clearly answered with specific and appropriate information.  4– Very Good  The student explains the subject. An adequate amount of information is given and is somewhat relevant. The delivery and sentence structure are generally correct. There is evidence of preparation, organization and enthusiasm for the topic. The visual aid is mentioned and used. Questions from the audience are answered clearly. 3– Good  The student explains the subject, but supporting information is not as strong as a 4 or 5. The delivery and sentence structure are generally correct. There is some indication of preparation and organization. The visual aid is mentioned. Questions from the audience are answered. 2 – Limited The student explains the subject but fails to describe it fully. The information given is not useful. The delivery and sentence structure are understandable, but with some errors. Evidence of preparation and organization is lacking. The visual aid may or may not be mentioned. Questions from the audience are answered with only the most basic response. 1 – Poor  The student fails to clearly explain the subject. The topic is unclear and no adequate information or examples are given. The delivery is difficult to follow. There is no indication of preparation or organization. Questions from the audience receive only the most basic or no response. 
Points Earned: Points Earned: Points Earned: Points Earned: Points Earned:


Rubric adapted from:


Twitter Experiment and Twitter Essay

(50 points for essay, 50 for Twitter)

Like it or not, you will tweet. Since this class is called Computer-Mediated Communications, you should be aware how Twitter works. You will create a Twitter account and follow me, @janetnews. You will email me your Twitter name with your full name and the section you are in. I will add you to a twitter list that you can then subscribe to.

You are required to follow at least one person in each category:

  • A celebrity
  • A news organization like NPR, CNN, ABC News, NYTImes, etc.
  • A politician or political party
  • Someone in the industry you would like to work in
  • Someone related to emerging media.
  • A teacher/scholar (apart from me)

You will use this tool whether you like it or not for the WHOLE semester. You will write a wiki reflection page about your experience. If you use the tool for the whole semester, you will receive the other 50 points.

Group Video essay 

(200 points)

You will create a video essay over a broad topic: The Power of Emerging Media. This is a broad topic. I want to give you enough room to be creative.

Think about:

  • Who is your audience and how you want to create an impact.
  • What type of images will you use?
  • What type of audio you will use?
  • What research supports your goals for your message?


You will post your video on YouTube and send me the link. All videos will be seen the last day of classes.

Annotated Bibliography

(100 points each)

You will do TWO Annotated Bibliographies. Each Annotated Bibliography will have a Computer-Mediated theme.

An Annotated bibliography is where you have a complete citation, THEN you write a paragraph about the source. You’re summarizing and evaluating the source for others. You are NOT writing a research paper. When academics write annotated bibliographies, yes, there are people who write annotated bibliographies, they are gathering sources for you over a specific topic. I have an annotated bibliography only on tabloid journalism. Yes, the whole book has sources with summaries of research done on the topic tabloid journalism. An annotated bibliography usually will have sub headings, etc but they are resources gathered for a specific topic for others to become familiar with that research.

You will write your summaries according to the Rhetorical precis style:

Here are some examples of what an annotated bibliography is:

How to format an APA annotated bibliography:

Tips on how to evaluate a source:

Print vs. Internet Sources:

Annotated Bibliography ONE:

  • Pick a subject over Privacy online, Facebook, or Twitter and find TEN Academic journal articles and books to annotate.


Annotated Bibliography TWO

  • Annotate your bibliography for your paper. You should have 10 annotated academic sources you will use in your paper.


Purpose of Assignment


1. To practice using APA style. This means in text citations, punctuation, style, etc. APA style is a style! It’s not just how you format your bibliography page. Click here for an explanation on using APA style.

2. To practice finding sources in the library database.

3. To evaluate credible academic sources.

4. To gain knowledge from other research opinions other than the class readings.

5. To learn to apply  different concepts.

6. To learn to summarize and make connections through research.



By the end of the semester your goal is to have a working knowledge of APA citation style and a working knowledge of how to evaluate academic sources that do not come from wikipedia.




1. Did you use correct APA citation style and formatting?

2. Was your summary well written?

3. Did you use credible and strong sources over your chosen topic?

All annotated bibliographies will be turned in through the Wiki. You will create a page under your class sections Annotated Bibliography folder. Remember to choose the correct class section.

Make Up Work and Late Work

I do not accept late work. The end!

Technology problems are not an excuse.

Extra Credit
Extra credit is NOT an option. Do not ask if you can earn extra credit. Instead, strive for excellence in the assigned work.
If you’re having trouble with any assignments, please let me know BEFORE the end of the semester. It’s hard to help someone who does not ask.

References, Copyright, and Plagiarism
UTD has a no-tolerance policy for plagiarism. If you do not cite your sources in your papers and on the wiki and or any other format you will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs for investigation. It is up to you to learn and study the APA or MLA Study Guide. I will also use This site checks for plagiarism.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. Thomas Jefferson

I make no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences.

You will receive TWO absences with no penalty. Excessive absences will decrease your grade and may lead to failure. I am not interested in your excuses. For example: WORK is not an excuse.  I’m not interested in learning why you could not attend class.

Excessive lateness can add to your absences and decrease your grade and may lead to failure.

Classroom Citizenship, Technology, and Professional Communication Grade
I’m going to be cheesy and bring up Oprah here. One of my favorite quotes she shared on her show is that “YOU are responsible for the energy that you bring into this space.” My motto is that if you respect me, I will respect you.

Each student receives a Professional Communication Grade. You should prepare for class, and during class, you should cooperate, listen and respect other’s opinions. The Professional Communication Grade consists of:

  • Adding value to in class discussions
  • Professionally communicating to me in email, twitter, wiki, and elearning.
  • Silence your electronic devices and do not accept calls while in class.
  • Avoid excessive texting
  • Please no cursing in class. I know an F word and it’s called FAIL! When you curse during presentations or during discussions that is laziness. Class discussions and presentations are are ways you can practice professionalism that you will have to encompass in the future.
  • Showing up to class ON TIME. Excessive lateness can be counted as absences.

You may use electronic devices in the classroom such as a laptop, tablet, cellphone, etc. Please do so discretely. I do reserve the right to ask you to leave if your technology is disrupting the class or me. I reserve the right to block you from discussions or ask you to not post if your online behavior becomes disruptive.

Email Communications
To protect your privacy rights, please use your email account when corresponding with me. I will try to answer emails within 24 hours Monday-Thursday and within 48 hours on the weekends or holidays. Email is the fastest and easiest way to contact me.

UTD Policies and Procedures

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Clinical Assistant Professor at UT-Dallas