CMAT 465-01H Prerequisite

CMAT 101, 102, and junior standing. Three hours per week with enhancement.

HONS 311

These courses address topics that transcend individual disciplinary boundaries. Courses are taught by carefully selected professors from a wide variety of disciplines. These seminars appeal to Honors students of all majors. New topics are offered every year.

Course Description

Examines innovations in communication techniques and applications. Topics include satellite and terrestrial based technology, conferencing, decision support systems, computer mediated communication and the impact of technology on communication process and communicators.

Learning Objectives

Communication and Technology is an interrogation of emerging and existing information and communication technologies (ICTs) as they shape organizational, social, and individual communication processes. Through the course of conversations, observations, reflection, and application, students will cultivate a nuanced understanding of technology development, theory, application, and critique essential to be critical consumers of technology and to engage in its strategic application in personal and professional contexts. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate the issues and challenges shaping communication and technology in a democratic system including net neutrality, privacy, freedom of speech, and control.
  2. Reflect critically upon the development of communication technologies with their impact on communication processes in social, organizational, and individual contexts.
  3. Apply theoretical frameworks of technology including diffusion of innovations, social shaping of technology, and media richness theory among others to understand technological trajectories.

Required Readings

  • Seel, P. B. (2012). Digital Universe: The Global Technological Revolution. Boston: Wiley (Abbreviated: S)
  • Browning, L.D., Saetre, A.S., Stephens, K.K., & Sornes, J-O. (2008). Information and Communication Technologies in Action: Linking Theory and Narratives of Practice. New York:  Routledge (Abbreviated: BS3)
  • Online readings made available through the WordPress course website URL (Tab: “Readings”).

Contemporary sources provide a current, constantly evolving backdrop anchoring discussions on contemporary debates and may be included as the semester progresses. To facilitate informed discussion in-class, readings should be completed beforehand (i.e., before you come to class that day).

Multimedia Materials

Some materials are available as freeware online as indicated in the schedule. For others, as needed, I will place personal copies on reserve at the Blackwell Library for a limited time check out.

Equipment Policy

We will interrogate and as possible, use different forms of technology in this semester. Having a smartphone (Android or iOS) is recommended.

Copyright Statement

The content (lectures, assignments, handouts) are the property of the instructor and protected under copyright law. You may not publicly distribute or display or share my course materials or lecture notes without my written permission.

Attendance and Participation

During class meeting days, attendance is mandatory. Enthusiastic, intellectually curious participation with all matters related to technology should be rewarding all around, and is weighted 30% of your grade. Learning “happens” through discussion and engagement with a community of like-minded peers. If an unforeseen issue necessitates prolonged absence (i.e., greater than four missed classes during the semester), evaluate your course standing to avoid negatively affecting your performance.

Course Ethos

HONS 311 & CMAT 465 is an advanced elective and content discussion will proceed accordingly. I will strive to provide each of you with the resources and guidance necessary to achieve course objectives during class and office-hours and expect you to be an equal partner in your learning.

Deadlines, Late Policy, and Make-Ups

Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Late assignments are penalized by 50% if turned in one calendar day late and will receive no credit beyond that. In general:

  • Office hours are ideal for grade-related conversations when I can give you my full attention.
  • You are responsible for making up any missed work or content when permitted.
  • Presentations cannot be made up.
  • Tardiness is defined as arriving after attendance and may be penalized via daily reflection points.

Grading Policy

I strive to enter your grades within a week of their submission. Do monitor your grade. Grades are considered final after one week of being returned to class. Grade-related concerns more than a week old will not be reviewed. Grades can be revised upward/ or downward upon review. I do not keep records of class assignments after grades are returned. In general, “C” work meets the basic criteria, “B” work does an great job of meeting the criteria, and “A” work not only does an excellent job, but also surpasses expectations to go beyond the criteria. “D” work does not meet one of the basic criteria, and “F” work is substandard and does not meet basic expectations on a majority criteria.

Support Services

For trouble with your connection, access to the course website or the materials therein please contact IT at 410-677-5454, at TETC Room 113 or via email at

Emergency Policy

In the event of an emergency, announcements and information will be communicated via instructor email, Canvas course website, and SU’s home page. Course-related information will be updated by the instructor on Canvas and course website and via university email.

Office of Student Disability Support Services (OSDSS)

The OSDSS provides guidance, access to resources, and accommodations for students with documented disabilities including: medical, psychiatric, and/or learning disabilities, and/or mobility, visual, and/or hearing impairments. They can be reached at 410-677-6536.

Academic Integrity

It is expected that you have read SU’s policy as described in the Student Policy on Academic Integrity in your SU Student Handbook ( and agree to honor these standards. Academic dishonesty as a serious offense and ALL incidences are subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, separation from the university.

Brief Assignment Description [Detailed handouts for each at appropriate times during the semester]

Course assignments are structured to promote reflection and critical engagement with the readings, lecture and discussion, and technologies that animate our world.

  • Technology Review: Using three take-aways from the (S) text for the day, you and a partner take us on a journey previewing the development and future implications of a technology of your choosing.
  • Exam 1 & Exam 2: Material discussed through readings, class discussions/lectures, and assignments until the class before the exam. Exam 2 is not cumulative.
  • Daily Reflections: Personal and applied engagement with and ruminations of our technologically mediated personal, social, professional contexts. May be in–class or out-of-class, in a field context.

Field Engagement: Observation, utilization, evaluation, and critique of technology in a field context.


Assignment                                                                          Total % Points

Ø  Technology Review                                                                 20%

Ø  Exam 1 & Exam 2                                                                     20%

Ø  Daily Reflections                                                                     30%

Ø  Field Engagement                                                                   30%

Grade Breakdown

A= 90.0% & above; B= 80.0%-89.0%; C= 70.0%-79.0%; D= 60.0%-69.0%; F= 59.0% & below.

Important Semester Dates: Jan 30h –May 16th: Session dates | Jan 30th: First day of classes| Jan 30th –Feb 3rd: Add/drop| Mar 20th – Mar 26th: Spring Break | Apr 7th: Last day to Withdraw with a grade of (W)| May 16th: Last day of classes| May 17th: Reading day| May 18th –May 24th: Finals week| May 24th & 25th: Commencement

Online Readings: (all readings on schedule marked with this bullet point). Accessible from the Tab: “Reading.”



Week 1 Communication and Technology: Jan 31 & Feb 2

Intro to Syllabus



§  Syllabus, learning goals, class structure, expectations

Global VSAT Forum (online)

FCC, National Broadband Map


Satellite Today (online)


Readings: (on your own, at Bethesda, Md. on board retreat, Feb 1–3, 2017)

Tim Berners Lee: Future of the WWW

Week 2 Tech Determinism and Complexification: Feb 7 & 9


Trust and Credibility




Innovation Spread



§  Ch. 1. (S). The Digital universe

§  Ch. 2. (BS3). Credibility and trust in communication technology



§  Ch. 2 (S). Does Moore’s Law matter anymore?

§  Ch. 3. (BS3). Innovations. Must. Mutate. Grow. Or not.

Week 3 Critical Perspectives, History, and Semantics: Feb 14 & 16


Critical Perspectives and the Mobile Web




Internet History



·       Ch. 3. (S). Let’s get critical

·       Ch. 1. (BS3). To Tweet or to text? That is the question.

The Mobile Web (online)

Semantic Web Revisited (online)



·       Ch. 4 (S). A wayback time

·       Ch. 5. (BS3). Humans: The perpetual impression-making machine?

Tim Berners Lee, A Brief History of the Internet. (online)

§  TR1

Week 4 Theoretical Frameworks: Feb 21 & 23












§  MacKenzie, D., & Wajcman, J. (1999). Social Shaping of Technology

§  CS Chapter 10



§  Ch. 5 (S). Internet Evolution

Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness theory [Read pages 556—559]

§  TR2

Week 5 Technologies of Collaboration: Feb 28 & Mar 2


Conferencing & Decision Support Systems Theory








§  Ch. 6. (S). The Big Web

Stephen Talbott (1995). The Future Does not Compute [Ch. 10] (online)

Conferencing Systems  (online)

A Brief History of DSS (online)

§  TR3



§  Ch. 7. (S). The “Flat” World

§  Ch. 9. (BS3). ICT and Culture

§  TR4

§  CS Chapter 14

Week 6 Emerging Technologies: Mar 7 & 9








Technology in the field



J.C.R Licklider, “Man-Computer Symbiosis” (pg. 1—20).(online)

Lessig. (2006). [Read Ch. 6, “Cyberspaces,” pp. 83—119]  (online)

§  CS Chapter 15

Week 7 Review: Mar 14 & 16







Exam 1



§  N/A: Exam review

§  CS Chapter 17


§  Exam 1: Covers all material (readings, lectures, discussions, assignments until Tuesday). In-class.

Week 8 Spring Break: Mar 20–26
  No Class. Spring break J
Week 9 Technology and Policy: Mar 28 & 30


Net Neutrality









Freedom of Expression



§  Ch. 9. (S). Public and Private Internet

Harold Feld, “What does network neutrality look like today?” (online)

Who Killed Network Neutrality?:(online)

FCC, “The Open Internet” (online)

American Library Association, “Network Neutrality” (online)

§  TR5



Kembrew McLeod. (2005). Freedom of expression [Read Chapter Four]

Freedom on the Internet [Available online. Read United States]

§  CS Chapter 18

Week 10 Technology and Policy: Apr 4 & 6


Privacy, Culture, Society






§  Ch. 10. (S). Censorship and Global Cyberculture

§  Lessig. (2006). [Read Ch. 12]

§  TR6


§  Technology in the field

Week 11 Technology, Property, and Identity: Apr 11 & 13


Intellectual Property





Digital Divide




§  Lessig. (2006). [Ch. 10] (online)

§  Copyright basics (online)

§  What is Copyright? (online)

§  CS Chapter 19 



§  Ch. 11. (S). The Dark Side, Ch. 13. (S). Virtual and Augmented Worlds

§  CS Chapter 20

§  TR7

Week 12 The Future is Equal: Apr 18 & 20


Wireless Technologies







§  Ch. 12. (S). Wired and Wireless Technologies

Talbott. (1995). The future does not compute. [Ch. 9] (online)

§  CS Chapter 25


§  Technology in the field

Week 13 Civic Networks: Apr 25 & 27


Democracy and Dissent




§  Ch. 14. (S). The Future of the Digital Universe.

Howard Frederick, Emergence of Global Civil Society (online)

APC (online)

Rheingold, Mobile Media and Political Collective Action (online)

·       CS Chapter 28

·       TR 8


§  Exam 2 review

§  Feedback and field engagement review

Week 14 Collaborative Engagement & Critique: May 2 & 4



§  Field Engagement: Presentation


§  Field Engagement: Presentation

Week 15 Collaborative Engagement & Critique: May 9 & 11



§  Field Engagement: Presentation


§  Field Engagement: Presentation

Week 16 Exam 2: May 16

Exam 2


§  Exam 2: All material (readings, lectures, discussions, and assignments) covered beyond Exam 1. In-class.

Finals Week! Dates: May 18–24

Monday, May 22nd, 8:00AM—10:305AM


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