CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law
S1J 2009 IN
Norris, Lynn M.
Senior Adjunct Instructor of Communication Arts
M.A. in Communication, Pittsburg State University, KansasB.A. in Mass Communication, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Before and after class or by appointment.
Monday, January 12, 2009 - Sunday, March 8, 2009
5:30 - 9:50 PM
Textbook: Ethics in Media Communications Cases & Controversies, 5th Edition, by Louis Alvin Day, publisher Thomson-Wadsworth, 2006, ISBN 0-534-63714-0. (Occasionally, the school bookstore gives a student a text that is for another teacher's version of this course. Please ensure that you have the exact book mentioned here.)
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Educational Philosophy: The instructor has an interactive, student-centered approach to teaching. She strives to create a safe, comfortable class environment, and to include course materials that are both enjoyable and relevant, as well as academically sound. She may involve students in any or all of the following: class discussions, critiquing, demonstrations, exercises, field trips, games, group projects, guest speakers, internet, interviewing, journaling, problem solving, reading, role playing, self exploration, quizzes, web sites, and/or writing.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
Goals of the core curriculum in communication arts journalism:
In the core curriculum successful students consider at least these elements of the profession:
· Consider the role of the communication professional in the community and what role they will personally play in the community as professionals
· Consider the role of communication in the cultural conversation of the community
· Consider their professional values and their personal values with an eye toward whether these values are in harmony
· Consider their own purpose as professional communicators
· Consider the specific role the journalist plays in society; duties and power begin the process of developing a framework for making ethical decisions in the field of communication”
CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law -- Course Objectives:
Engage in the discussion of ethical issues in a peaceful, thoughtful atmosphere and, thus, be better prepared to make ethical decisions as a communications professional in a crisis
Participate in ethical dialogue illustrating the dynamic nature of philosophical practice
Develop a working understanding of the basic principles of communication law
“Final paper -- Four-page reaction paper. Topic to be announced. Will examine ethical problem-solving techniques.”
Here is the final paper from Spring 2006 with the working rubric:
Final reaction paper
Communication Ethics and Law CA 302
Spring 2006 / Mr. Lofflin
Directions: Write a succinct four-page paper in which you apply all the philosophers and philosophies we have studied this semester to evaluate and clarify the story written by Roberta Clemente about the high school teacher from and ethical point of view rather than a legal point of view. (100 points) Due at the final.
1. Begin by briefly discussing the ethical conflicts that make this story a problem for the reporter.
2. To introduce the issue of lying, let's say Roberta Clemente obtained her interview with the principal by telling him she was working on a positive story about Leslie Gore's accomplishments as a teacher. Your reaction should be based on Professor Bok's decision-making strategy? Does Kant have anything to say about this question? What about Aristotle?
3. Issues of public vs. private persons are part of this scenario. Adapt Professor Bok and use John Rawls to draw the line here on whether you think the reporter ought to investigate this teacher's past and publish the results.
4. How does this story raise issues of loyalty? Use Royce and Potter to thoroughly evaluate loyalties.
5. Your key question should be whether or not to write the story this way and your answer should constitute most of the paper. Be specific about this: Your opinions are important and respected, but the real question here is your ability to manipulate the material from class to clarify an ethical question. In other words, which ideas we've studied this semester would persuade you in this particular case?
Hint: One way to answer question five is to write about each philosopher one at a time clearly labeling each paragraph with the philosopher's name and clearly stating his or her ideas, then telling how you think they apply to the question of whether or not to write the story and, or, whether to write the story the way it is written. Include at least these philosophers and/or ideas: Bok, Aristotle, Kant, Potter, Royce, Rawls, Utilitarianism
If one philosopher or philosophy doesn't apply to this case, specifically tell why.
Criteria for evaluation of your paper:
· Understanding (accuracy) of description of philosophies and concepts
· Application of each philosophy to this specific case
· Discussion of lying to get this story
· Discussion of the tension between public vs. private people in this case
· Discussion of loyalty in this case
· Support from the material we have studied for your positions on the case; quality of citations
· General depth of your answer (Is your answer comprehensive? Does it show understanding? Does a theme emerge in your answer?)
· How many philosophers did you use successfully?
· Clarity of writing
Be aware I will not be evaluating your answer based on whether I think your decision is right or wrong. The evaluation will be based on how you use the materials to reach an answer.
The core competency for CA 302: Communication Ethics and Law will be a four-page reaction paper. The paper will follow a mock libel trial the final week of class. Students will be assigned roles in the trial (example attached), including a reporter, an editor, two attorneys, a libeled party and a jury. The heart of the trial will be a news article; the article will test these issues:
· Public vs. private citizens
· Good journalistic practice
· Fair comment
· Lying to obtain information
· The role of the communicator in society
A separate in-class examination will evaluate the libel issues. The core competency will take the issues raised in the mock trial and ask students to analyze the story used in the mock trial from an ethical perspective, not a legal perspective. The reaction paper will ask students to utilize each philosopher or philosophy examined in the course to analyze the story. Example questions: Would you write this story? Would you write this story this way? How would these philosophers or philosophies urge you to change this story or the method you used to get this story to make it more ethical?
The goal is to put the student in a position to internalize the assignment, imagining herself in the writer's shoes, guided by the philosophical principles examined across the entire course.
Core Competency (syllabus description):
“The core competency will be a four-page reaction paper analyzing the story used in the mock libel trial from an ethical perspective, not a legal perspective. Students will utilize each philosopher or philosophy examined in the course to analyze the story. Example approaches: Would you write this story? Would you write this story this way? How would these philosophers or philosophies urge you to change this story or the method you used to get this story to make it more ethical?
“The goal of the core competency reaction paper is for the student to internalize the assignment, imagining herself in the writer's shoes, guided by the philosophical principles examined across the entire course.”
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment: Assessment of student learning in this course will be based on class participation/discussion, two essay exams, two case presentations, one mock trial, and one reaction paper regarding the mock trial.
Grading: Class Participation/Discussion – 80 points total: 10 points for each of 8 class sessions. (33 percent of final grade)
This includes being continually present from the start of class until the class is dismissed by the instructor. The instructor for this course does not allow ANY excused absences. All absences will be considered UNEXCUSED regardless of reason. With one absence, an A for the course is still possible; with two absences, a C for the course is still possible. Three absences will result in a grade of F for the course.
This course will feature role-playing, skill-developing exercises, and class discussions to illustrate concepts and techniques while allowing students the opportunity to experience and develop concrete expressions of that knowledge. It is vital for all students to participate in these. Consideration will be given to quantity and quality of involvement, and demonstrated attitude toward learning. Students are expected to be respectful toward each other as well as the instructor, and to keep any personal information revealed during the class confidential. Part of participation is listening. A student who is daydreaming, reading a magazine, and/or chatting with friends about the weekend, etc., rather than paying attention to what is happening in class, is not participating.
Essay Exams – 40 points total: 20 points for each of two exams. (each exam is 16.5 percent of final grade)
Essay Exam One, for Session 4, will give students an opportunity to begin developing an awareness of their personal creed, or philosophy of life.
Essay Exam Two, for Session 6, will provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of libel law and their ability to apply that knowledge to a particular case. In grading these, the instructor will take into account not only the choices made, but also the justifications for them, and the step-by-step thought process the student goes through in making them.
Individual Presentations – 20 points each for two (16.5 percent of final grade)
The presentation will involve going over a case study and leading a brief class discussion of the ethical/legal challenges and considerations involved in making a sound ethical decision. The Individual Presentation should last at least 30 minutes. Topics and dates will be assigned during Session 2. Presentations will be given during Sessions 4 through 8.
Mock Trial - 40 points (16.5 percent of final grade)
The class will engage in a mock trial, with students playing various roles. Information about the case will be given during Session 5, with students expected to use this information to prepare for the mock trial, which is to be conducted during Session 7. During Sessions 5 and 6, students will be given time in class to practice for the trial.
Reaction Paper – 50 points (20 percent of final grade)
For this paper, students are to examine the issues raised in the mock trial and analyze the case used in the mock trial from an ethical perspective rather than a legal one. In the reaction paper, students will utilize each philosopher or philosophy examined in the course to analyze the case. Example questions: Would you write this story? Would you write this story this way? How would these philosophers or philosophies urge you to change this story or the method you used to get this story to make it more ethical?
The goal is to put the student in a position to internalize the assignment, imagining herself in the writer’s shoes, guided by the philosophical principles examined across the entire course.
Late Submission of Course Materials: PLEASE NOTE: The instructor generally will not accept late assignments. In fact, in the event that a student cannot come to class, they are still expected to turn in any written assignments on time. Grades for assignments not submitted on the due date and time can be marked down up to 50 percent, depending on the circumstances and how much time has passed since the due date. Students have several options for turning in assignments:
1. Turn them in at the beginning of the class on the due date.
2. Place them in the instructor’s message folder on or before the start of class on the due date. The faculty message folders are to the left of the copy machine in the Independence Campus office.
3. Place them in the course drop box. (Be sure your file is in Word or PDF or RTF format.) Here's how:
A. Go to http://www.parkonline.org
B. Sign in with your OPEN name and password.
C. Click Ethics and Law of the Media.
D. Click Drop Box.
E. Click on the name of the assignment.
F. Click Add Attachment. (A new window will appear.)
G. Click Browse.
H. Locate the assignment on your computer and select.
I. Click Open.
J. Click Attach.
K. Wait until it is done and click OK. (It will then take you back to Drop Box.)
L. Click Submit.
4. E-mail them to the instructor at email@example.com on or before the start of class on the due date. It is best to use a reliable computer. Please submit as a message pasted into an e-mail, as a Word or PDF or RTF attachment to an e-mail, or submitted in class as a Word or PDF or RTF file on a CD.
5. Send assignments to the instructor at: Lynn Marie Norris, Park University Independence Campus, 2200 S. 291 Hwy., Independence, MO 64057. Assignments must be postmarked on or before the due date to be considered on time.
PLEASE NOTE: Having a printer problem is not an excuse for late assignments.
Classroom Rules of Conduct: 1. Pirate mail is the official channel of communication for all Park students. Thus, the instructor will occasionally contact students via their Park accounts to notify them of schedule changes, assignments, and other important information related to the class. All students are responsible for checking their Park e-mail accounts regularly, thus they are considered by the instructor to be informed, and expected to properly utilize the information provided and be prepared for class. Ignorance is not an excuse.
2. During class, all communication devices, such as mobile phones and pagers, must be turned off or set on silent. If you must answer a call, please leave the room as quietly as possible so as not to disrupt the class. If you are participating in an exercise, turn phones & pagers off.
3. Leaving the classroom: Students are expected to inform the instructor if they need to leave the room before class is dismissed. If a student leaves early without telling the instructor, they will be counted as absent for the entire class period.
4. Personal matters: Assignment grades, explanations for absences from class, etc. should not be discussed in class. Rather, they should be discussed privately with the instructor, via e-mail, before or after class, or by appointment.
5. Respect for every member of the class. This must be maintained at all times. Included is not chattering while the instructor or other students are speaking, and respecting the confidences of members of the class who may share personal information during exercises. Disagreements are natural and may occur, but respect can still be maintained.
Many of the ethical/legal discussion topics to be discussed in this class are controversial. Class members are asked to be open-minded and understanding, and to show respect and tolerance toward each others’ personal values and beliefs.
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87PLEASE NOTE: The instructor for this class examines all written work for signs of plagiarism. Plagiarized assignments will receive a grade of “zero.”
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90PLEASE NOTE: The instructor for this course does not allow ANY excused absences. All absences will be considered UNEXCUSED regardless of reason. With one absence, an A for the course is still possible; with two absences, a C for the course is still possible. Three absences will result in a grade of F for the course.
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:12/1/2008 2:54:06 PM