University of Northern Iowa

Department of Communication Studies


48E:161g Communication Technologies                                           Spring 2004


Instructor: Dr. Joyce Chen                                             Office Hours: TTh 2-3:30 pm

Office: 321 LNG                                                                                    W 1-3 pm

Office Phone: 32574                                                                             or by appointment

Class meeting times:  TTh 12:30-1:45pm  213 LNG


Required Textbook:

            Grant, A.E., & Meadows, J.H. (Eds.) (2002). Communication Technology Update,  (8th ed.).  Boston: Focal Press.


Course Objectives:

There are three areas covered by this course. One is to examine past, current, and emerging communication technologies. The second is to discuss about the relationships between communication technologies, individuals, and society. And the third, through exercises it will help you learn multimedia production foundations, especially Webpage design. By the end of the semester, you will:

--be aware of the rapid development of communication technologies, and the convergence of computer and electronic media technologies;

--understand basic technical principles and applications of important communication technologies;    

--be aware of your responsibilities for the effects of communication technologies on society;

--be able to apply multimedia production technologies to professional fields related to electronic media major, such as Webpage design, teleconferencing, and Web broadcasting.


Class Organization:

The class time will mainly contribute to demonstrations, discussions, and exercises of communication technologies. For certain technology areas, we will have guest lectures. 

At the beginning of the semester, there may be knowledge gaps between those who know a lot and those who do not know much.  Since my teaching philosophy is to promote students' learning processes, I will accommodate your learning needs based on your individual background. The course will not be difficult but it needs substantial work for everyone in the class to achieve the objectives described above. Please do not hesitate to meet me individually in order to catch up with the class progress.


"The University of Northern Iowa is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Institution.  Students with disabilities and other special needs should feel free to contact the professor privately if there are services or adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs."


Leading Discussion:

The leading discussion is related to the textbook.  Each student will be responsible for presenting the technology described in one of the chapters in the textbook and leading the class discussion. You are required to use the materials in the chapter as the basic content and to find additional up-to-date information about the development of the technology and its applications. The details will be described in a handout for leading discussions.


Class Responses:

The requirements of your responses to the class will vary, depending on different course materials and class activities. You will be informed about the requirement in each class.



There will be several assignments that will help you gain skills, including Photoshop, Flash animation, Webpage Design authoring tools, and Desktop Publishing.



There will be Midterm and Final exams that aim to test your knowledge about communication technologies, and the relationship between technologies and society.


WebPage Design/Presentations:

You will design your personal Webpage. You need to register for a UNIX account at the ITS office located in the Business building. Each student is required to keep a portfolio for him/herself. By the end of the semester, everyone will present in the class about what you have learned at the UNI, your personal strengths, and your future career expectations.



All the work turned in to this class should be your original work for this class. According to University policy, plagiarism will result in FAILURE of the course and further DISCIPLINARY ACTION. Plagiarism includes "borrowing" other student's paper or other writer's work, and submitting the papers that you wrote for other courses.  

The grading composition is shown as follows:





Leading Discussion


Assignments (#3-4)


Assignment #5




WebPage Design (#1 & 2)




Final Exam





The letter grading scales are shown as follows:

A: >95%

A-: 92-94%

B+: 88-91%

B: 85-87%

B-: 80-84%

C+: 77-79%

C: 74-76%

C-: 70-73%

D+: 67-69%

D: 64-66%

D-: 60-73%

F: < 60%

The grades will be weighed by the percentages shown above and combined to result in your final course grade. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date, unless otherwise stated. The penalty for a late assignment is 1 percent deduction for each day late. Any late assignment accepted will be graded based on the reduced percentage. Before giving you the final grade I need to make sure that you achieve the objectives of this course.


Tentative Schedule


1/13 (T) Orientation and syllabus (Applying for a Unix account)

1/15 (Th) Preparations for leading discussions


1/20 (T) Preparations for leading discussions

1/22 (Th) Ch. 1: The Umbrella Perspective on Communication Technology

                Ch. 2: Communication Technology Timeline


1/27 (T) Ch. 10: Multimedia Computers

               Ch. 12: The Internet & the World Wide Web

               Unix account setting up and FTP

1/29 (Th) WebPage Design & Html Tags and Files

                Sign up for individual meetings

             Assignment #1 (Html file)


2/3 (T) Ch. 11: Video Games

            Ch. 13: Internet Commerce

2/5 (Th) Completing Webpage #1 in the class

Assignment #1 Due at the end of the class

Sign up for individual meetings


2/10 (T) FrontPage/Dreamweaver

            Assignment #2 (Personal Webpage Design)

2/12 (Th) Ch. 14: Office Technologies

              Ch. 15: Virtual & Augmented Reality


2/17 (T) Graphics and Animation systems: Photoshop/ImageReady

                Assignment #3 (Photoshop Graphics & Animation)

               Sign up for individual meetings

2/19 (Th) Photoshop/ImageReady


2/24 (T) Ch. 3: Cable Television

               Ch. 4: Pay Television

               Ch. 5:  Interactive Television

2/26 (Th) Ch. 6: Direct Broadcast Satellite

              Ch. 7: Digital Television

              Assignment #3 due

              Review for Midterm


3/2 (T) Desktop Publishing/InDesign

               Sign up for individual meetings

               Assignment #4 (Desktop)

3/4 (Th) Midterm


3/9(T) Ch. 16: Home Video Technology

           Ch. 8: Streaming Media

 3/11 (Th) Ch. 18: Local and Long Distance Telephony

                Ch. 19: Broadband Network

                 Assignment #4 due


3/16-18 Spring Break (No Classes)


3/23 (T) Flash Animation

              Sign up for individual meetings

              Assignment #5 (Flash Animation)

3/25 (Th) Flash Animation


3/30 (T) Flash Animation

4/1 (Th) Ch. 9: Radio Broadcasting

             Ch. 17: Digital Audio


4/6 (T) Ch. 20: Home Networks

            Report the progress of personal Webpage design

4/8 (Th) Ch. 21: Satellite Communication

              Ch. 23: Wireless Telephony

               Assignment #4 due            


4/13 (T) Ch. 22: Distance Learning Technologies

                Ch. 24: Teleconferencing

4/15 (Th) Ch. 25: Retrospective: 10 Years of Communication Technologies 

               Ch. 26: Conclusion


4/20 (T) Presentations

4/22 (Th) Presentations

                Review for Final Exam


4/27 (T) Presentations

4/29 (Th) Presentation

              Webpage B due


5/4 (Th) Final Exam