Fall 1998
NCLC 349 - Internet Literacy & Virtual Communities
Section 002
This is not the current course syllabus.  See the current syllabus (now 249).
New Century College at George Mason University
Professor Virginia Montecino Day-by-day Schedule
Email me at: montecin@gmu.edu Required texts
Office hrs: 3:00-4:00 Wed, or by appt. Participation expectations
General Course Description Class discussion
Major Assignments and due dates Honor Code and Plagiarism Statement
Course Resources
Townhall | Townhall Instructions | How-to Technology Guides | Copyright and the Internet | STAR
Research Guides | Web Site Evaluation Guidelines| Webworks supplement | Prof M's Resources
Professor Virginia Montecino
Email: montecin@gmu.edu
Office hours:  Wed 3:00 - 4:00, or by appointment
Andrew J. Ryan, Teaching Assistant, Email: ajryan@osf1.gmu.edu-
Class meeting date/time: Wed 4:30-7:10
Location: ENT 173

Course Description:
This is a 4 credit New Century College course. A basic element of a community of learners is the sharing of the talent, knowledge, ideas, and questions by all members of the class. This sharing will take place through individual and group projects, online discussions, and email exchanges. This course also includes research writing and documentation of sources. The subject of your investigation and writing is the Internet.  The publishing medium for your work is the Web.  A significant amount of class discussion will be on the Web. 

What is "Internet Literacy?"
For the purposes of this course,  Internet literacy means that you will study, critique and participate in the cultural, social, and academic aspects of the Internet.  You will also produce and publish Web-based products and engage in computer-mediated discussions on Townhall,  and other mediums. 

When you successfully finish the course you will have skills in: 

  • creating Web pages for different audiences and purposes (learning basic HTML codes and some advanced concepts, working with HTML editing programs and ".gif" and ".jpg" graphics files).  You will post your course work on the Web and observe copyright rules. Your major group project will be a Web site created for a non-profit organization.
  • engaging in communication on a variety of computer-mediated communication mediums such as a Web-based discussion (using Townhall), a newsgroupand a listserv, MOOs, and others.
  • examining a virtual community/cyberculture, critiquing that culture and writing a report on the characteristics and dynamics of that culture.
  • navigating, researching and critiquing Web resources
  • creating a Web-based list of Internet resources on a particular topic.
Required Textbooks: Since this is an Internet Literacy class, it is appropriate to have primarily Web-based readings, instructions and assignments
Web Works, by Martin Irvine, (W.W.W. Norton & Company) and accompanying Web site http://www.wwnorton.com/webworks/; Introducing Cyber Culture  (http://otal.umd.edu/~rccs/); and  Course Resources.  Some readings are in the day-by-day schedule.  Others will be contributed by students.
Participation - 20% of grade:
Since this class is a learning community, attendance and participation expectations are high, thus the participation grade is a high percentage. You will be assigned to groups and are expected to respond to your group members' drafts of all writing assignments and Web projects. I will not accept drafts of assignments for which there is no evidence that they were first submitted to your group members for comments. We will establish criteria for peer responses and appropriate types of responses, based on the goals of the assignments.You will be expected to participate in class discussions and do your share for the group Web page project for a non-profit organization.  You will post contributions to Townhall discussions. Various discussions/postings will be established throughout the semester. You will evaluate your group members' performance at the end of the semester - for my eyes only. 

Class discussion: We will engage in in-class and online discussion. Much of our discussion will take place online in Townhall (http://townhall.gmu.edu) (in asynchronous and synchronous settings). See instructions for registering for and using Townhall (http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/townhall.htm). This is our meeting place in Townhall, after you register. You will need to log on each time. Don't forget to log off when you are through so someone else doesn't enter our meeting place under your name. We will also participate in and study other modes of online discussion, such as a class newsgroup and listserv and other mediums, time permitting. 
Major Assignments and Due Dates:
Major assignments - 80% (total) of grade %
Due Date
1. Report on Virtual community/cyberculture  15% 09/23
2.  Proposal for Web-based Resource List (for assignment # 4)  05% 10/07
3. Report on the Credibility of Web resources 20% 10/28
4. Web-based Resource List 20% 11/18
5. Proposal to present to the non-profit group (for assignment # 6)  05% 11/04
6. Web site for a non-profit group (group project) 15% 12/09
Plus 20% for participation  20%
Total points possible 100%

All work must be the student's own effort, in accordance with the GMU honor code.  
To avoid unintentional plagiarism see these guidelines.
Class Schedule - subject to change, if necessary, to achieve learning objectives. 

9/02 - First day of classes - Technology Survey Course overview and review of assignments. Registering for Townhall, our Web-based meeting place. Introductory discussion on Townhall. What is the Internet, anyway? Overview of some of the copyright and privacy issues surrounding the Internet? What are some of the socio-political aspects of the Web? What is a cyberculture? What are the markers of a culture?  How do we examine a culture?  What does being Internet literate mean? What is hypermedia? Is the computer really just a tool or does it change the way we think and process information? 

You will begin your first Web project - to create a Web page, from scratch,in your mason home directory using the pico editor in UNIX. It should contain links to your email, and the course Web site.  We will discuss appropriate additions to your Web page, such as a link to our Townhall meeting place, and a link for your class projects. This web page should be a new one created for this assignment even if you already have a web page. Creating your Web page from scratch this way will enable you to see the "bones" of a Web page and you will be more able to "tweak" Web pages created by HTML editors that don't necessarily correctly interpret what you want. See How to Create Your Own Home Page at GMU using HTML. Also see Questions to Consider When Creating a Web Page (http://mason.gmu.edu/~epiphany/docs/createweb.html). Post online at your gmu account. Read for next class: "Introducing Cyberculture" at Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies (http://otal.umd.edu/~rccs/) and Prof M's Web site - examination of Web syllabus, with links, and Prof M's Web site - summary of resources and how they relate to class content. 

Labor Day - University Closed 9/7

9/09 - [Last day to drop with no tuition liability.] Establishing criterias for what makes a virtual community/cyberculture.  Class sharing of virtual community subject and methods.  Refining the "barebones" Web page. Using ftp to transfer files to your Web page. 
Read for next class: Chapter Fourteen, "Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond," in Howard Rheingold's Tools for Thought (http://www.rheingold.com/texts/tft/14.html). This will give you an overview of the foundation of "mind-amplifying technology." 

9/16 - Draft of virtual community report due - post on Web page. Read "The Rationale of Hypertext, " Jerome Mc Gann (http://www.village.virginia.edu/public/jjm2f/rationale.html) - Class Discussion. Using search engines and doing online library research (for Credibility of Web sites report and Web-based resource list) Refining Web searches. Critiquing Web sources. Copyright and the Internet  Townhall discussion on class cyberculture reports (details will be in Townhall). Refining Web pages 

9/23 - Virtual class - Report on Virtual community due. Post on Web page. discussion on Townhall.  Sharing of virtual community reports. 

 9/30 - Draft of Web-based resource list proposals due.  Peer response to proposal drafts.  Refining research strategies

[ 10/02 - Last day to drop without dean's permission by 5PM ] 

10/07 - Group summaries of reports on Internet Interviews from the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies (http://otal.umd.edu/~rccs/). Web-based resource list proposal due. Peer response to proposals

[ Columbus Day recess 10/12 - 10/13 - (Note: Monday classes and labs meet on Wed.; Wed. classes do not meet, this week only) 

10/14 - DO NOT MEET

10/21 - Draft of Credibility of Web site report due.

10/28 - Report on Web site credibility due

[ Incomplete Work from spring 98 must be submitted to instructor 10/30 ]

11/04 - Proposal for non-profit Web site due

11/11 - Peer response to Web-based resource list drafts

11/18 - Web-based resource list due

11/25 - Work on Group Projects 

11/26 - 11/29 - Thanksgiving Recess

12/2 - Finalizing non-profit Web site 

12/9 - Our last day of class - Group presentation of non-profit Web site 

Final Exam - Wed 12/16 4:30p.m.-7:15p.m. 

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