PAC442B - Course Syllabus
Generic State University

"Internet and American Life"

Spring 2008

Prof. Burks Oakley II


Jump to assignments for:
Week 1 - due 21 January Week 2 - due 28 January
Week 3 - due 4 February Week 4 - due 11 February
Week 5 - due 18 February Week 6 - due 25 February
Week 7 - due 3 March Week 8 - due 17 March
Week 9 - due 24 March Week 10 - due 31 March
Week 11 - due 7 April Week 12 - due 14 April
Week 13 - due 21 April Week 14 - due 28 April
Week 15 - due 5 May Final Paper - due 2 May

Course Description
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 public policy.

Learning Objectives
    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
    • analyze laws and public policies that relate to the use of the Internet in the U.S.A.
    • assess the impact of the digital divide in both qualitative and quantitative terms as it relates to the economy and education
    • compare and contrast the positive and the negative aspects of the use of the Internet in the U.S.A.
    • conduct Internet searches and evaluate the quality of online sources
    • demonstrate proper citation of online reference material
    • describe the basic demographics of Internet use in the U.S.A., with particular attention to the digital divide
    • discuss social, ethical and political issues surrounding the use of the Internet in the U.S.A.
    • evaluate the potential of the Internet to affect American society in the future
    • explain the basic technology of the Internet and how its various components work
    • formulate critical questions related to the impact of the Internet on American life
    • integrate values of ethical uses of the Internet into their own behavior
    • justify opinions in collegial discussions
    • moderate threaded discussions and participate in meaningful ways in online discussions with peers
    • provide specific examples of how their lives are impacted by the Internet on a daily basis
    • summarize intellectual property issues related to the Internet
    • use current Internet technologies, including wikis, blogs, RSS, and podcasts

    Prof. Burks Oakley II
    phone:  217-359-4657
    Electronic office hours anytime:Please contact the instructor via e-mail or the discussion board if you have questions at any time.  Online chat sessions or telephone consultations also can be arranged.

Course Information
Students will use the Internet to access required readings, class discussion sessions, and to submit written assignments.  There will NOT be any face-to-face meetings of this class.  There is no text for this course - all required readings are available online.  There are no written exams.

A separate page has additional information about the course, including Course Organization, Instructional Materials, Course Navigation, Netiquette, Technical Requirements, Techical Support, and Academic Support

  • Discussion Forum -- Weekly discussions in the course Discussion Forum. MULTIPLE WEEKLY POSTINGS REQUIRED
  • Paper One -- For your first paper, you will select a topic that deals with how the Internet has impacted your life in the past five years.  The paper, then, is to be a description how personally your life is affected by the Internet in this area.  (more details here) DUE NOT LATER THAN NOON CENTRAL TIME ON MARCH 21, 2008.
  • Paper Two -- For your second paper, you will discuss a public policy issue among those covered during the semester, 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 paper is to include a discussion of the laws and public policies that are related to this issue.  (more details here) DUE NOT LATER THAN MAY 2, 2008.

Final grades will be determined in the following manner:
Participation in online discussions 40%
Paper One (due not later than March 21) 25%
Paper Two (due not later than May 2) 35%
Details of the course grading policy are detailed on a separate web page.

Disability Accommodation
Reasonable accommodations are available for students have a documented disability. Please notify your instructor during he 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 Resource Building, Room 80.  The ODS phone number is:  217-206-6666.

Privacy Notification
From time to time, faculty who are new to online teaching will be observing the discussions that occur in the "Discussion Board" in PAC 442 Section B.  This will only be done in the context of learning how to promote online discussion.  The faculty will only observe and will not participate in any of the interactions.


Class Schedule and Due Dates

Due January 21 by noon central time - Introduction to the Internet and Introduction to our Course

Due January 28 by noon central time - Internet and Daily Life

Due February 4 by noon central time - Spam, Spyware, and Phishing

Due February 11 by noon central time - Music and Intellectual Property

Due February 18 by noon central time - Broadband

Due February 25 by noon central time - Demographics

Due March 3 by noon central time - Online Commerce

March 10-14 - Spring Break - No assignments due

Due March 17 by noon central time - E-Government and Political Campaigning

Due March 21 by noon central time - Paper One
    Post your paper in the Paper One Discussion Forum.  Submit your paper to Turn-It-In.

Due March 24 by noon central time - The Internet and Health

Due March 31 by noon central time - Family, Friends, and Community

Due April 7 by noon central time - New Online Technologies

Due April 14 by noon central time - Internet as a News Source

Due April 21 by noon central time - Internet and Education

Due April 28 by noon central time - Internet Access & Search Engines

Due May 2 by noon central time - Paper Two

  • Post your paper in the Paper Two Discussion Forum
  • Submit Course Evaluations - links to evaluation forms will be provided in late April

Due May 5 by noon central time - The Future of the Internet

Last Updated 15 February 2008 by Burks Oakley II (

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