Graduate Studies Reports Access

Graduate Course Proposal Form Submission Detail - JOU6709
Tracking Number - 2431

Edit function not enabled for this course.

Current Status: Approved by SCNS - 2015-05-01
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 6709. Request to discontinue course approved 2015. Eff by SCNS eff 5/1/15

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: 6709
  10. Full Title: Digital Media Law
  11. Credit Hours: 3
  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 Law
  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: Digital journalism is forcing a fundamental rethinking of communications law, especially for journalists. Current approaches fall short. This course will help students "think digitally." It will help them to create new knowledge in the field.

  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.) In additional to a terminal degree, the instructor will have practical professional experience related to digital media law.
  29. Objectives: • Learn and appreciate of the history and evolution of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, with focus on digital era.

    • Navigate the statutes, regulations and court precedent pertaining to access to public records and meetings; defamation; invasion of privacy; copyright infringement; contempt; and other challenges to newsgathering and publication, including as related to digital and online issues.

    • Interpret and integrate various components of the law through online assignments and legal research

    • Understand rights and responsibilities of communicators under the First Amendment both traditionally and in light of digital and online technologies.

    • Develop the ability to engage in critical thinking through 1) reading, understanding and analyzing law-related real-life problems and case studies and 2) conducting original legal research

  30. Learning Outcomes: Through readings, discussions, exams and written assignments students will practice and hone those competencies.

    • Readings and online discussions will help students think through and address cases studies and scenarios arising from media law or First Amendment rights.

    • Readings and discussions will also introduce students to the history of the First Amendment as it pertains to free speech and freedom of the press. Included will be insights into diversity, such as competing legal theories, controversies over speech rights and the faces and orientations of a rainbow of people and groups who have contributed to the evolution of our rights to speak out and disseminate our views.

    • Assignments, reading and class discussion will 1) show how ethics and law intersect and 2) expand understanding of the ethics of journalism/communication as students sort through dilemmas when court opinions, ironically, sometimes protect or invite unethical behavior.

    • Two online exams measure understanding of the law in several ways. The will require students to 1) explain the significance and impact of key media law cases; 2) show the ability to produce well-reasoned, well-documented and well-written responses to multipart questions and case studies about media law; 3) absorb prevailing principles of the First Amendment and important legal terms, concepts, cases and statutes that they can expect to encounter in their professional lives.

    • Weekly, individual blogs-journals will help students 1) stay abreast of developing legal issues in a range of media law areas; and 2) improve as analysts and researchers by tracking down, through online and printed sources, the “breaking news” of media and digital law and explaining these develops to classmates.

    • A research report combines several competencies: critical, independent, creative thinking; correct, clear written expression; competent research and evaluation by appropriate methodologies; and use of information-gathering tools and technologies appropriate to the field.

  31. Major Topics: General principles of free expression in the digital era

    Landmark decisions shaping communications law in the digital era

    Defamation in the digital era

    Invasion of privacy in the digital era

    Emotion, physical or financial injury in the digital era

    Federal, state and local law and regulations in the digital era

    Copyright, trademark in the digital era

    Advertising in the digital era

    Media business law in the digital era

  32. Textbooks: Ashley Packard, Digital Media Law, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  33. Course Readings, Online Resources, and Other Purchases: Course readings will be drawn from above and supplemented by presentations in various digital formats. No additional supplies are required.
  34. Student Expectations/Requirements and Grading Policy: Online exams (2) — 100 points each (40 percent)

    Weekly blog entries — 100 points @10 points a week for 10 weeks (20 percent)

    Online discussion — 100 points (20 percent)

    Research paper — 100 points (20 percent)

  35. Assignments, Exams and Tests: Week 1: introductions; course overview; general principles of free expression

    Week 2: legal systems; types of law; global reach

    Week 3: landmark First Amendment decisions shaping media law; challenges of digital law

    Week 4: law as it applies to telecommunications — cable, broadcast, telephone

    Week 5: law as it applies to Internet

    Week 6: case studies

    Week 7: midterm exam

    Week 8: intellectual property — copyright, trademark, plagiarism

    Week 9: advertising; business media law

    Week 10: injury by communication: physical, emotional, financial

    Week 11: access to information

    Week 12: defamation: case studies

    Week 13: invasion of privacy: case studies

    Week 14: final exam

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

    When students miss class — online included — they put yourself at a serious disadvantage. Understanding the law has its difficulties, but faithful attendance and participation will enable you to more clearly grasp legal language, concepts and theories. You are discouraged from relying heavily or exclusively on the textbook; the lectures and discussions will emphasize cases and ideas not always covered by the textbook. You are expected and encouraged to provide thoughtful comments and observations to the extent that our format allows. All scheduled sessions and meetings, and all assignments, are required. Discussions with other students may be required elements of the class.

    If you do miss any online class, it is your responsibility to 1) explain your absence to me in an e-mail message and 2) get notes.

    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.

  37. Policy on Make-up Work: Generally, all assignments must be completed and submitted according to set deadlines. In the event of a missed assignment because of a serious health or personal issue or due to observance of a major religious holiday, the instructor will work with the student to make up or compensate for missed deadlines or assignments.
  38. Program This Course Supports: Journalism and Media Studies
  39. Course Concurrence Information: NA

- if you have questions about any of these fields, please contact or