Communication Technology in the Media (CTM) Discussion Assignments
Communication 313 Online Spring 2022
There will be seven CTM Discussion Assignments throughout the semester in a small group setting. I’ve made three discussion groups to help make your reading load considerably lighter and foster a sense of community with your group members. Online discussions will serve as a professional place for us to discuss readings and course content in the context of current events and communication examples in the media. The purpose of our online discussions is to deeply engage with, analyze, and apply human communication and technology topics. Additionally, participating in online discussions is one way I measure your engagement and participation in this course. I have exceptionally high expectations for our online discussions!
CTM Discussion Assignments will help you to apply specific course concepts and theories to communication technology events and examples in the media. For each CTM Discussion Assignment, you will select and apply a specific concept and/or theory from our weekly readings to a media example.
There are TWO parts to this weekly discussion assignment. Each part is due on different days of the week, and each part is graded separately:
Part 1: Writing your CTM Discussion Post (15 points; due Wednesdays at 11:59pm)
Part 1: Writing your CTM Discussion Post (15 Points)
Due Wednesdays at 11:59pm
Step 1: Select Concept and Example/Issue
For every CTM discussion week, you will select a specific human communication and technology concept or theory from our weekly readings. Then, with the specific concept or theory in mind, you will find an issue/example that relates to, illustrates, or connects to a communication issue in the media (e.g., newspaper articles, magazine articles, television, movie clips, etc.). For example, if we are reading about technology use in long-distance relationships, I might select an episode of 90 Day Fiance to demonstrate hyperpersonal communication and the challenges that come with modality switching (you’ll learn more about this later!).
There are TONS of examples out there on different issues regarding communication via technology! The example you pick needs to have enough content/substance that you can analyze it. For example, a two-minute clip from a movie or television show is not going to give you the detail that you need for this project. For this assignment, do NOT select an academic article for analysis. Get creative! I encourage you to pull from the media you encounter and engage on a regular basis — these are some of the best examples to learn from. Examples might relate to current events, organizational leaders, and/or organizations. You can also look at representations of events, leaders, and technology in movies or television shows.
Places to start when searching for examples:
Articles from (online) magazines (e.g., Fast Company (Links to an external site.))
Interviews (if relevant)
Did you know we have free access to subscription newspapers and magazines with our UWM Library Database? (e.g., The New York Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Financial Times (London), Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, etc.
There are four major restrictions for selecting examples:
Examples MUST be classroom appropriate;
Examples CANNOT be an academic article on your topic;
Personal examples (e.g., personal stories about work) CANNOT be used as your example;
Examples should NOT be older than about 10 years;
In the interest of time, focus on one example
Step 2: Write your CTM Discussion Post
In your discussion post, you will analyze your media example using the relevant course concept or theory you selected from our weekly readings. You have the freedom to pick the specific concept or theory from the textbook chapters and/or readings that are applicable to your example. You should NOT cover every concept covered in our weekly readings. Instead, focus on a specific concept or theory covered within the reading.
Your analysis should include a discussion of the following:
What is the issue? Link to your artifact and describe the relevant bits of information that your reader will need to understand how it connects to the course and our chapter material. Remember to focus on an ISSUE/PROBLEM, which will set your classmates up for generating solutions using the course material.
How does the concept or theory apply to this example? Be specific and explain connections. Use specific quotes/examples from your example to illustrate the concepts from the chapter. You MUST also cite the textbook to help you explain and connect the concept or theory to the example. Make the connections clear.
What is something unique that we learn about this example/situation when we analyze it from the perspective of this concept or theory? Develop an argument about how we can better understand or learn from this example when we consider it in the context of the specific concept or theory.
What can we learn about human communication and technology from looking at this example? Discuss how the example fits into a bigger picture about communication technology.
What question do you have about your issue? End your initial post with a question that relates to your issue and the course concept you focus on. For instance, if your example is about a couples’ use of communication technology to maintain their long-distance relationship, you might ask how a particular concept or communication process can help them succeed. This question will help your coursemates respond with their recommendations.
You MUST provide clear, concrete references to (and/or use direct quotes from) our weekly readings and CITE course materials (e.g., the course textbook, weekly readings, etc.) in your CTM Discussion Post.
Your CTM Discussion Post must be between 400-500 words.
Textbook: Chapters 7 & 10
Book Title: Navigating New Media Networks, 1st Edition
Authors: Bree McEwan (contributions from Miriam Sobre-Denton)
Publisher: Lexington Books
Print (Hard Copy) ISBN: 9781498523219, 1498523218
eTextbook ISBN: 9780739186213, 0739186213
Reading 1: McEwan Ch. 7
Take a moment to think about the various types of relationships you have (e.g., friends, family, romantic partners, colleagues, community connections, acquaintances) and the different media you use to maintain those relationships (e.g., phone, SMS, SNS, email, video chats). Undoubtedly, most individuals simultaneously engage with numerous connections and media throughout their entire day. But are relationships sustained through CTs satisfactory and/or high-quality? We’ve established that media are promising facilitators of new interpersonal relationships, but yet to be seen are whether CMC can maintain existing interpersonal connections that are developed online and offline.
I really think McEwan does a brilliant job of unpacking the literature related to CMC and relational maintenance (trust me, this is hard because there is a LOT of research on this topic). However, if you prefer to see or listen to the material from my perspective and in a different mode, my seventh lecture video
(Links to an external site.)
might be helpful.
Reading 2: McEwan Chapter 10 (NOTE: we are skipping chapters 8 and 9 to explore how mobile devices, specifically, are used to maintain relationships)
McEwan’s 10th chapter pairs excellently with the seventh chapter, providing us with a detailed review of a particular CT we use to maintain relationships – mobile devices. Today’s mobile devices allow users to call, text, video, access the internet, and use SNS, meaning many relational maintenance tools are at our fingertips wherever we are and whenever we desire. For these reasons, the mobile phone is one of the greatest modern communication technologies available! However, using your mobile device to maintain relationships should be considered with respect to the various relationships you have. How much should you use mobile communication with your partner, and how does that compare to using your phone with your friends and parents? Check out chapter 10 and this lecture
(Links to an external site.)
to learn more about mobile devices as they relate to relational maintenance. Enjoy!