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S518: Communication in Electronic Environments
Assignments

Note:All the assignments #1–3 should be submitted in both electronic (via the Assignments section in Oncourse) and paper formats.

Evaluation Criteria: Assignments will be evaluated by 1. Ideas (richness of information, elaboration, originality, interesting); 2. Coherence (clarity, unity, organization, transitions, logical sequence, synthesis, style); 3. Linkage (relevancy to class readings, connections made to in-class and outside readings); 4. Mechanics (spelling, citation format, grammar, sentence structure) in addition to specific requirements for each assignment

1. Physical ICT Work observation report (15% each)

Specifications: 4–5 pages, double–spaced, APA style

Identifying and choosing an observational site that uses ICT

Feasibility
  • Can you hang out? Will folks mind? Can you return two or three times by, say, February 2nd?
  • Are knowledge, information, values, meaning, and data regularly exchanged in the site?
  • What are the possible "contexts" of that site, and what kind of use occurs in each? What kind of work practices is possible or desirable in that site; how "deliberate and systematic" is such work practice?
Desirability Will this site hold your interest? Are you mainly a participant or an observer?

Ethics and Observation

  • Do you let people in the site know what you're doing? How do you let them know?
  • Can your observation and description lead to harming some of the people involved?
  • How can you anticipate and eliminate the risk?
  • Will you participate or only observe? How do you keep from "standing out" too much? Should you care about standing out?
  • How do you take notes?
  • Should you ask people questions ("interview")? What should these questions be?

Conceptualizing and Writing Up (some suggestions)

  • Describing the physical structure and spatial layout of the site
  • Describing your own introduction to and participation in the site
  • Portraying the work practices in the site:
  • What are the "rules" for participating? What do you need to "know" culturally in order to even participate in the exchange?
    What are the "rules" participants appear to occupy? Who "transmits" and who "acquires" knowledge?
    How does the exchange of knowledge take place? What are the modalities (techniques, methods) or getting their work done?
    Developing a cultural interpretation: Try a "holistic" analysis by linking the work culture of this site to broader social forces and cultural meanings

Use some of the concepts (e.g., Actor Network Theory, Activity Theory) discussed in Week 4

2. Online CMC observation report (15%)

Specifications: 5–6 pages, double-spaced, APA style

Pick an online listserv or discussion group, e.g., ISWorld (http://lyris.isworld.org/isworldlist.htm ), Association of Internet Researchers (http://aoir.org/?page_id=3), Travelzine (http://www.thetravelzine.com/zine.htm), and Academy of Management ( http://www.aomonline.org/aom.asp?id=203), University and College Webmasters (http://www.usask.ca/web_project/uwebd/), and post the chosen group name on Oncourse by February 16th. You will observe the online CMC and write a report on its characteristics. Use the following five socio–technical issues (see Hara & Kling in Week 6):

  • who can participate (and who is excluded)
  • the genres of acceptable communication
  • participants' activities (speak/post, read, role-play, buy, sell...)
  • acceptable conventions (are newcomers in a game welcomed or killed? do you criticize others or flame them?) and
  • their social control agents and their practices (established and enforced by e-forum organizers? by participants?)

3. Final Project (Oral presentation—10%; Written document—35%)

You can choose one project:
  1. Conduct a state of the art literature review on a specific technology or related theory
  2. Conduct a small scale original research study
  3. Do an assessment of an organization's existing ICT
Papers should be between 13-15 pages. If you exceed 15 pages (double–spaced, excluding references) in length, points will be deducted. Use the APA Style format. I'm expecting "conference paper quality". Make connections to the course readings. You will turn in a paper and do an oral presentation (15 minutes).

4. Wiki Discussion Participation (10%)

Your are expected to actively participate in the online course discussion forums at least once a week. You will be assigned to post once during the semester as a discussion starter who will post relevant materials to the weekly readings including 3–5 thought–provoking questions to your classmates. The quality of these questions will strongly influence the quality of the weekly discussions.

The discussion starter should post by Thursday (of course, the sooner the better), so that other classmates can make comments. All the comments for the week should be posted before 9pm on Sunday (the day before the class meets).

Course wiki: http://s518sp09.wetpaint.com/

5. Participation (15%)

If you cannot attend class, you must notify the instructor in advance. Attendance will factor into your final grade. Unexcused absences will not be tolerated; numerous absences are frowned upon, and if you foresee yourself missing multiple classes, be sure to see the instructor the first day after class. Make–up work may be negotiated only in cases of documented, excused absences. I will also grade your participation based on your contribution to the course. Throughout the semester, you are encouraged and expected to participate fully in class discussions and activities. Readings should be completed prior to the class sessions so that you can ask questions and benefit from the class discussion.

Academic Dishonesty

There is extensive documentation and discussion of the issue of academic dishonesty here in the Indiana University "Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct." Of particular relevance is the section on plagiarism:
3. Plagiarism
A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following:
a. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.
b. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge indebtedness whenever:
1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written
2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories
3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written
4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material or
5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment
From: http://dsa.indiana.edu/Code/Part_2acad.html

Indiana University and the School of Library and Information Science policies on academic dishonesty will be followed. Students found to be engaging in plagiarism, cheating, and other types of dishonesty would receive an F for the course. As a rule of thumb, when in doubt, cite the source!

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