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Internet and American Life

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PAC 442 Internet and American Life - Section A


Public Affairs Colloquium 442 (online)


Course Summary

With far-ranging influences on commerce, education, news, entertainment, information dissemination and much more, the Internet has had an enormous impact on American society over the past decade. This course examines that impact with an emphasis on planning and public policy.




PAC 442 Internet and American Society
Summer 2006 -- Online
Course Description



Upon completion of the course, students will:


  • Understand the basic technology of the Internet; how it works
  • Understand the basic demographics of Internet use in the U.S.
  • Understand the social impact of the Internet in American society
  • Be able to discuss social, ethical and political issues surrounding advent of the Internet
  • Be able to discuss and the potential of the Internet to affect American society and policy
  • Be able to propose a new or changed policy to improve some aspect of the way in which Internet is used in America
  • Be able to discuss the future and potential of the Internet in America


Course Format


Students will use the Internet to access weekly lectures, required readings, site review materials, required discussion sessions, and present the final project via Blackboard.


Please contact the instructor via email or the discussion board if you have questions at any time. Online chat sessions or telephone consultations can be arranged. Instructor contact information is available via the Staff Information section of the online classroom.


Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may cause the requested accommodations to be unavailable. All accommodations must be approved through the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Human Resources Building (HRB), Room 80, 217-206-6666. http://www.uis.edu/disabilityservices/ .




Discussion Board Each week please read the assigned readings (read the PDF files in each link on the syllabus). After completing the entire readings, please read and respond to the discussion questions or case studies that are posted for that week on the discussion board. Student participation in discussions and assignments will be presented via the comments mode. TWICE WEEKLY POSTINGS REQUIRED PLUS RESPONSES TO OTHER POSTINGS (see grading rubric)


Research Plan Develop a brief research process report describing HOW you will conduct research on a topic of your choice, including a review of ten WWW sites or print resources from scholarly or validated (see grading rubric) sites that deal with the area or topic of the Internet's impact on American society that you have chosen for your final project. DUE July 6


Final Project Research Report-- A research term paper on a public policy issue chosen among those we cover in the class on Internet in American society, such as (but not limited to) the digital divide, Internet in education, online privacy, Internet taxes, online commerce, security in online communication and transactions, digital democracy, Internet and terrorism, online health resources, and music downloading. The 6 page equivalent paper is to conclude with a recommendation for a new or changed public policy to address the issue. The policy can be a new law, new service, altered mode of use, or other policy by government, institutions, businesses, or individuals. An annotated bibliography is to be included with at least six credible sources and following formal citation style (MLA or APA your choice). Please post on the Wiki for peer discussion and review Paper DUE July 27







Final grades will be determined in the following manner:





Class participation: 3 possible points per discussion * 15 discussions = 45 possible points

Grading Rubric

Up to 1 point for original thought / contribution (perspective not previously posted)

Up to 1 point for development of thought (full explanation, detail, insight; this usually requires a couple of paragraphs or more to accomplish)

Up to 1 point for responding to posting of others



Research Plan: 20 possible points

Grading Rubric

1 point for validity and relevance of the source to chosen topic up to ten sources (see: http://people.uis.edu/rschr1/valid.htm)

1 point for depth of analysis of the quality of source up to ten sources. Please use bibliographic annotation style; see examples below:






Final Research Report 35 possible points

Grading Rubric

Up to 20 points for logic, insight, perspective, and/or original thought through the paper

Up to 6 points ANNOTATED bibliography required 1 point for each source with quality bibliographic annotation (note: I always begin reading research papers at the end starting with the bibliography see sites above re: annotation)

Up to 6 points 1 point for each (equivalent of double spaced - normal font) page of grammatically correct text with proper citation format you may choose APA or MLA style see: http://citationmachine.net if unfamiliar with citing net-based materials.

Up to 3 points for quality of thought and originality of proposed new or changed policy

Plagiarism will result in failure of the class: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml


Outside Resources


Internet in American Life, conducted by the Pew Charitable Trust

Techno-News Blog


Instructor Contact Information



Class Schedule

DUE 8am on:

June 5


Introduction to the Internet


The Animated Internet

How the Internet Works  from How Stuff Works


Discussion Questions for June 5


June 8


The Internet in Daily Life


America's Online Pursuits

The Internet and Daily Life


Discussion Questions for June 8


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