Courtesy: Boston Museum of Science

 

Rhetoric of the Internet

COMM 498I
Spring 2004

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Course Information

Course Policies

Syllabus (.pdf)


 
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James F. Klumpp

Department of Communication

College of Arts and Humanities

University of Maryland


 


Course Policies

 

Participation and Attendance

Participation in this course, and therefore attendance, are important. Let me convince you of this with multiple approaches.

Let me start by appealing to your intelligence. Attendance is more important in this class than some others because of three facts. First, material you will need to do the projects and the exams will not come from the readings. You are responsible for material from lecture and discussion. Second, both projects and exams require understanding beyond information, and notes only record information. Projects and exams go beyond information to require that you are able to talk intelligently about rhetoric and the internet. Third, both projects and exams require that you analyze internet sites and pages. The only way to master the analysis of such material is to articulate your analysis and the class will provide you that opportunity. You will need to aggressively take advantage of it.

If you cannot be reached by intelligent reasoning on the need for attending and participating, let me address you more frankly. There is a culture at Maryland that values non-attendance based on: "I paid for it, so I can go or not, as I choose." This is dumb "consumerism." If you insist on a business metaphor for your education, the following variation governs: you have not paid for my performance; you have instead entered into a contract with me that says I will teach you about interpreting strategic discourse. Part of your obligation in that contract is to attend. Of course, you may opt not to enter such a contract. You do so by dropping this course today.

Of course, I spoke of participation, not just attendance. Being involved in the class, asking questions, and trying out your ideas is what participation in the class is about. You will master those aspects of the course that go beyond the acquisition of information with participation.

A final word for students who add this course after the first day. The university permits you to enroll after the first day of classes, but you are responsible for material from the first class period on. You will put yourself at a disadvantage by enrolling late, and the disadvantage and the responsibility for diminishing it are yours, not the instructor's. You are excused from no assignments which occur before your enrollment. Not being enrolled is not one of the legitimate reasons for absences. This course begins on the first day of class, not the first day after drop/add closes.

A word on classroom etiquette

I am concerned that everyone assume responsibility for enhancing the learning in the classroom. I will, therefore, insist on consideration for the learning of others. I prefer that you think of the necessary behavior as common courtesy – behaving so that if others do the same, the classroom will be an environment for learning. Just in case, let me be more stern, however. Following are some basic rules:
No talking or whispering to other students. If you have something to say, say it aloud and we will talk about it.
Be on time for class. If you are late, sit in a chair as close to the door as possible and avoid disruptive behavior.
Do not plan to leave class early. If you must, sit close to the door and leave with minimum disruption. If you have problems with physiological needs, relieve them before class or hold them. If you have to leave class, take your books with you because no one will be readmitted.
Keep your verbal and nonverbal comments about the ideas of other students considerate and be prepared to defend judgements that you make.

The University of Maryland subscribes to policies requiring respect for other students, including policies pertaining to nondiscrimination, sexual harassment and disruption of the class. Those disrupting the class in any way will be asked to leave the class after a first offense and to drop the course after subsequent problems. Disruptive behavior is defined as any behavior that distracts students concentrating on the normal operation of the class. According to university regulations I am the final judge of what behavior disrupts my classroom.

Obviously, you need to turn any cell phones or aural pagers off before class and keep them off for the duration.

Disabilities and Religious Observances

The University of Maryland accommodates students with disabilities and recognizes the rights of students to exercise their religious rites. I ask only that you notify me during the first week of classes if you have concerns in either of these areas and require that I accommodate your needs in any way including alteration in the due date or manor of completing assignments.

Electronic Recording of Classroom Sessions

No disruptive recording will be allowed, and any recording at all can occur only with my permission. That permission will be granted only for extraordinary circumstances. Recording is no substitute for attendance.

 
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