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Graduate Course Proposal Form Submission Detail - JOU6708
Tracking Number - 2429

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Current Status: Approved, Permanent Archive - 2011-04-04
Campus: St Petersburg
Submission Type: New
Course Change Information (for course changes only):
Comments: USF STPT approved; To USF Inst fo rconcurrence. SCNS approved effective 3/1/11. Prefix/number changed from MMC 6xxx to JOU 6708

Detail Information

  1. Date & Time Submitted: 2010-12-10
  2. Department: Mass Communications
  3. College: AP
  4. Budget Account Number: 120100
  5. Contact Person: Mark Walters
  6. Phone: 7278734544
  7. Email:
  8. Prefix: JOU
  9. Number: 6708
  10. Full Title: Digital Media Ethics
  11. Credit Hours:
  12. Section Type: C - Class Lecture (Primarily)
  13. Is the course title variable?: N
  14. Is a permit required for registration?: N
  15. Are the credit hours variable?: N
  16. Is this course repeatable?:
  17. If repeatable, how many times?: 0
  18. Abbreviated Title (30 characters maximum): Digital Ethics
  19. Course Online?: O - Online (100% online)
  20. Percentage Online: 0
  21. Grading Option: R - Regular
  22. Prerequisites: None
  23. Corequisites: None
  24. Course Description: An introduction to the rapidly evolving ethical issues of online journalism. It will prepare students to develop their own code of ethics and assume ethical responsibility that evolves from the global reach of their digital communications and reporting.

  25. Please briefly explain why it is necessary and/or desirable to add this course: Needed to compete with national trends
  26. What is the need or demand for this course? (Indicate if this course is part of a required sequence in the major.) What other programs would this course service? Most journalism schools (let alone the journalism profession) have utterly failed to keep up with the rapid changes in technologies and values that have redefined the field of professional journalism. Retrofitting old approaches to create new understandings and insights has proven insufficient. Entirely new models and approaches to the remade profession are required. This new course will explicitly direct and support students in integrating all these technologies and approaches into an applied work of digital journalism. This course will be part of the essential training for journalists in the digital era.
  27. Has this course been offered as Selected Topics/Experimental Topics course? If yes, how many times? No
  28. What qualifications for training and/or experience are necessary to teach this course? (List minimum qualifications for the instructor.) A terminal degree with significant coursework in practical ethics is required. Professional experience in new digital media, especially in the convergence of various forms of media. Online teaching experience is also required.
  29. Objectives: This course helps students articulate the need for ethical process, notice ethical issues in situ, and use a decision-making process that addresses ethically-relevant aspects of online communication. Students are also expected to develop their own code of ethics that addresses the unique venue in which each operates.
  30. Learning Outcomes: Critical Thinking: Students will learn how to discriminate between normative arguments that use logical analysis well and those that do not; they will evaluate and synthesize material from a variety of sources for new creations and conclusions.

    Diversity: Students will be able to describe ways in which media practices have traditionally given priority to voices of the powerful and the values and culture of dominant society; they will be able to provide examples of how media have provided negative stereotypes for others or allowed others to remain voiceless based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.

    Ethics: Students will learn the key principles and codes of ethics that set standards for digital communication practices; they will also be able to illustrate how mass communication ethics is a subset of common morality and be able to articulate the values expressed by themselves and other in personal, professional, and public choices.

  31. Major Topics: Ethical theory as applicable to online mass communication; role-related responsibilities for communicators and recipients; codes of ethics; privacy; systematic moral analysis; copyright and intellectual property; sourcing; pornography; violence; deception; justice; multi-cultural and diversity.
  32. Textbooks: Elliott, Deni (2008). Ethical Challenges. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse. Available through Amazon. If you do not wish to purchase this book, you may download it and print it from our online course site. Please have a printed version to use or be able to navigate quickly to it during class time.

    Ess, Charles (2009). Digital Media Ethics. Malden, ME: Polity Press. Available through Amazon or other online bookseller. Please have a printed version to use or be able to navigate quickly to it during class time.

    Mill, John Stuart. Of Liberty of Thought and Discussion; Utilitarianism. Both essa

  33. Course Readings, Online Resources, and Other Purchases: Students are not required to purchase additional supplies, instruments, etc.
  34. Student Expectations/Requirements and Grading Policy: Concept Exam 25% of Final Grade

    Case Study Presentation 25% of Final Grade

    Case Study Analysis 25% of Final Grade

    A Code of One’s Own 25% of the Final Grade

  35. Assignments, Exams and Tests: Concept Exam: The concept exam tests students’ understanding of the concepts that are fundamental to the study of digital media ethics. These are also concepts that are needed to adequately write a case study and to analyze a case study. The Concept Exam is given open-note, open-book, and is available for a one-week period beginning at the 4th class meeting (September 19 – September 26). It includes short answer, multiple choice, and essay questions. Each question has an indication of the number of points that a student can achieve through mastery. The Exam must be completed in single, timed session that is 1 ½ hours long. The Ethics competency is tested by students’ ability to respond to questions relating to key terms and to apply key concepts in analysis of cases offered on the exam. The Diversity competency is tested by students’ ability to respond to questions relating to key terms and to apply key concepts in analysis of cases offered on the exam.

    Case Study Presentation: Interesting digital media ethics issues pop up almost daily. Viewers just need to know where to look and how to recognize ethical issues in situ. Students will be introduced to a variety of digital media ethics issues in situ as well as to concise, well-written case studies that can serve as models. Each student will turn in an individually developed, researched and written case study relating to digital media ethics at the start of the 6th class meeting (October 3). The event that serves as the basis for the case presentation must have occured no earlier than the first day of class. While the deadline for turning in the 750-1250 word case presentation is firm, students will then have up to two weeks, and multiple attempts, to revise the case study so that it meets class standards.

    Case Study Analysis: Peer-written cases will be distributed randomly and anonymously early in the course. Each student will individually research and analyze the case provided in a 2500-3750 word case analysis. Analysis grades will be determined as follows:

    A Code of One’s Own: Digital mass communicators generally have more independence that communicators who work in a traditional face-to-face news organizations or corporate structures. To create and maintain an ethical online environment, it is imperative that those with graduate degrees in the field provide leadership in the development and practice of codes of ethics that fit their specific communication venue. Students will individually create their own Codes of Ethics. The Code is due 25% of the Final Grade.

  36. Attendance Policy: First Day online "attendance" is required.

    Students are responsible for dropping undesired courses in these categories by the 5th day of classes to avoid fee liability and academic penalty. (See USF Regulation – Registration - 4.0101,

    Attendance Policy for the Observance of Religious Days by Students: In accordance with Sections 1006.53 and 1001.74(10)(g) Florida Statutes and Board of Governors Regulation 6C-6.0115, the University of South Florida (University/USF) has established the following policy regarding religious observances: (

    In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

    The class will meet in the Illuminate Live classroom for a 1 ½ hour period once each week. Students are encouraged to attend the live class and to participate in the 1 hour group office hours, which are also held each week. Students will find that they understand the material better if they engage with the instructor and fellow students in these focused discussions. Private online live chats are available by appointment.

  37. Policy on Make-up Work: No late work is accepted, although work may always be turned in ahead of schedule.
  38. Program This Course Supports: Journalism and Media Studies
  39. Course Concurrence Information: NA

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