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CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law
Lofflin, John


Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.

Course

CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law

Semester

F2T 2011 DL

Faculty

Lofflin, John

Title

Professor of Journalism

Office Location

Copley 1 South

Office Hours

Posted

Daytime Phone

816.584.6327

E-Mail

john.lofflin@park.edu

Semester Dates

Fall II 2011

Class Days

On-line

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:

“Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life” Bok

“Media Ethics: Issues and Cases” Patterson/Wilkins

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:
Readings provided by instructor

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email helpdesk@parkonline.org or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the http://parkonline.org website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.


Course Description:
CA302 Communication Ethics and Law: A study of the law and ethics for journalists and other communicators. The course will analyze libel law, privacy, objectivity, responsibility, freedom of speech and censorship, and the role of the press in society. 3:0:3
YOU ARE HERE: Communication Ethics and Law is a core course in communication arts, designed to apply the principles you have encountered in general education courses and other courses to the world of communication professionals.

Educational Philosophy:
Engagement with the ideas of the course is the essential prerequisite for higher level learning. The teacher serves as a guide to the construction of meaning, the development of skills and dispositions, the recognition of what constitutes excellence, and the consideration of ethical issues. Reading and writing are essential tools to achieve depth of understanding and criticism. Learning to question is the central work of a learning environment and will be the key method of the course.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. begin the process of developing a framework for making ethical decisions in the field of communication
  2. 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
  3. participate in ethical dialogue illustrating the dynamic nature of philosophical practice
  4. develop a working understanding of the basic principles of communication law


Core Assessment:


Goals of the core curriculum in communication arts journalism: 



“Ethical thinking:



     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  



Core Competency  



“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. 



Core Competency: 



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: 



·         Defamation


·         Privacy


·         Public vs. private citizens


·         Good journalistic practice


·         Truth


·         Fair comment


·         Privilege


·         Lying to obtain information


·         Objectivity


·         Loyalty


·         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 Rubric

Class Assessment:

1) Bok question paper -- A three-page reaction paper using ideas established in reading and discussion of “Lying” will be due by midnight Sunday Week 4. The assignment sheet and with the particular question for this reaction paper will be available at the beginning of Week 4.  Please upload your reaction paper in the "Paper 1: Bok" dropbox. Be sure to copy and paste the assignment sheet/rubric to the end of your paper. Your paper should be submitted in Word or rich text format.  The Bok paper will be worth 100 points.

(2. Case Study Discussion Thread Report: When we begin reading chapters in the Patterson/Wilkins book “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases” individual students will be assigned the task of creating case study scenarios, presenting those scenarios and monitoring the responses in threaded discussion. This may be a case study the student creates or it may be drawn from examples of ethical dilemmas which fit the material in the chapter assigned for that week. It may also be a case drawn from the cases presented at the end of each chapter. 

            The discussion leader will be responsible for monitoring the discussion thread, responding to the responses of other students in the class, and for guiding the discussion. It will be important to guide the discussion back to the material we read in “Media Ethics” because folks often have a tendency to stray.  At the conclusion of the week in which you are a discussion leader, you will write a paper about the experience.

            The key point of the paper will be for you to discuss the case you developed, how it fits the problem and, particularly, for you to comment on the reactions the other students expressed to the case in the discussion thread. Your grade will be based on 1) your mastery of the Patterson/Wilkins material involved in the case, 2) your monitoring of the discussion thread, and 3) your analysis of the reaction of the class, in addition to several other questions.  Special note: Some case study scenarios do not elicit good responses. If your discussion falls flat, your grade on the paper will not be affected. In those cases, you will have room in the paper to analyze what you think went wrong based on the class reaction and the material in the chapter. 

            The Patterson/Wilkins case study scenario discussions will start in week 5. In Week 5, we will read chapters 1, 2, and 3 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.” The teacher will assign class members to a variety of case study scenario discussion threads or to the mock libel trial. Two of those discussion case study threads will be presented in threaded discussion in week 5. Each discussion leader will prepare a reaction paper due one week after the threaded discussion ends.            

Case study one and case study two will post their scenarios during week 5. In week 6, students assigned to the mock libel trial will be given roles in the trial with basic scripts meant to push the issues – legal and ethical – involved in the case. The remainder of the class will serve as the jury and be given the opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses. The mock libel trial will be conducted in treaded discussion or in the live chat space. Libel trial participants will prepare a reaction paper about the trial due one week after the trial is completed. Also during week 6 we will read chapters 4 and 8 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases” and additional material on Professors Josiah Royce and Ralph Potter in Doc Sharing and in mini lectures with question threads.

            In Week 7 case study discussion leaders five, six and seven will present scenarios in three threaded discussions and monitor student responses. Case study leader five will prepare a scenario testing the bounds of loyalty in a communication setting. Case study leader six will prepare a scenario utilizing photographs (within the bounds of taste and good sense) to test issues surrounding the work of photographers and artists. Case study leader seven will prepare a presentation on privacy and monitor student responses. The three leaders will each prepare reaction papers due one week after the threaded discussions close.  Submit your paper in Word or rich text format. The case study discussion thread report will be worth 100 points.

3) Libel exam – A proctored short answer examination over readings on the subject and the mock libel trial will be worth 100 points. You will take the proctored exam during Week 8.  The short essay examination will be derived from the mock trial, class discussion threads, the Associated Press Libel Manual, and our discussion of John Rawls. You will only be allowed to use the transcript from the mock libel trial in this proctored exam. You will not be allowed to use the Associated Press Libel Manual or other notes from the course except as specifically approved by the teacher in advance. 

4) In an effort to promote reading of the material and improve the quality of discussion, several homework project reports will be assigned across the semester. The reports will respond to three broad questions: 1) What was the central question of the reading? You will answer this by simply stating the question. 2) What portion of the reading resonated with you? 3) Create a communication dilemma / scenario utilizing the question central to the reading. Each homework report will be worth 10 points each.

5) Final paper – A three-page reaction paper will be due at midnight Sunday of Week 7. The topic and criteria for evaluation will be announced at the beginning of Week 7. The paper will examine your ethical problem-solving strategies and will pull together all the material from the semester. The final paper will be worth 100 points. Please upload a copy of your final paper to the Dropbox. Be sure to copy and paste the assignment/rubric at the end of your paper. The assignment/rubric sheet will be available in Doc Sharing at the beginning of Week 7. Your paper should either be a Word document or in rich text format.

Grading:
The course will follow the traditional 100-90% A, 80-89% B, 70-79% C, 60-69% D scheme.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

No late papers will be accepted without prior permission of the instructor.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Civility will be required.

This course is designed to be an exploration in ethical thinking in the field of communication. The goal of the course is to utilize cases and examples, coupled with readings in applied ethics, to sharpen a student’s sense of professional behavior and to do so in a safe, academic environment rather than the often pressurized environment of professional communicators. You will not be told what to do in certain circumstances; you will, instead, be given the opportunity to clarify your own thinking about what is good behavior in the field of communication and what is not. 

The university has established certain policies for on-line classroom behavior: "Working online requires adherence to a different form of etiquette - often referred to as "netiquette." All communications in this course should demonstrate courtesy, respect and tact. For details, see: http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html "

 

In general, challenges to ideas are wonderful; challenges to individuals are not. Because we are working in an on-line environment, remember the other students cannot see you smile when you kid them -- something I must constantly remind myself of during the semester. Be sensitive but please don't be afraid to engage the discussion on a healthy, hearty level. Push yourself, and others, in pursuit of better answers to our questions, always aiming for more clarity.

 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Schedule

Week 1

  • Read the articles for week 1 in doc sharing
  • Make four lists
  • Respond to the discussion threads
  • Read the introduction and Chapter I in “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life”
  • Read the mini-lecture on “Lying – The Book” 

Week 2

  • Read Chapters II, III and IV in “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework
  • Respond to the discussion threads
  • Read the mini-lecture on Aristotle – The acorn and the tree
  • Read “A reporter’s personal story about Professor Bok's book” for background and discussion

Week 3

  • Read Chapters V and VI  in “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework: Respond to a question about the nature of excuses
  • Respond to discussion threads
  • Read the mini-lecture on John Rawls and the material on Rawls in doc sharing. Ask questions in the mini-lecture thread.

Week 4

  • Read Chapter VII in “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework: none
  • “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.” Bok reaction paper due by  midnight Sunday
  • Respond to discussion threads

Week 5

·         Read Chapters 1, 2, and 3 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.”

·         Read the material from the Associated Press Libel Manual in doc sharing.

·         Read the mini-lecture on libel law. Ask questions in the mini-lecture discussion thread.

·         Case discussion leaders one and two will post presentations and monitor student responses in discussion threads. Reaction papers from leaders one and two about their presentations due one week after the threads close.

·         Homework: Respond to a question about vulnerable audiences from Chapter 3

·         Entire class: Respond to three discussion threads: Libel Manual Questions, Case Study Discussion One, and Case Study Discussion Two.

Week 6

·         Read Chapters 4 and 8 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.”

·         Read the mini lecture on Josiah Royce – “Time to Introduce Royce.” Respond with questions in the mini-lecture discussion thread. Read the material from Josiah Royce in doc sharing.

·         Read the Potter Box mini-lecture and respond with questions to the discussion thread. Read the material on the Potter Box in doc sharing.

·         Discussion leaders three and four will present the Mock Libel Trial this week in discussion threads or in live chat. Your instructor will determine which vehicle to use for the trial. Follow the thread or read the transcripts from live chat, and participate if you are available.

·         Discussion leaders three and four – the libel trial participants-- file reaction papers from their presentation of the Mock Libel Trial one week after the trial is completed.

·         Homework: Create a Potter Box to clarify the issues raised in one of the Week 5 case study discussions or one of the issues raised in discussion threads from Chapters 1, 2 and 3.

Week 7

·         Read Chapter 5 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.”

·         Case Study Discussion leaders five, six and seven post individual presentations and monitor student responses in the three discussion threads. Individual reaction papers from discussion leaders five, six and seven about their threads will be due one week after the threads close.

·         The final reaction paper will be due at midnight Sunday.

Week 8

·         Take the proctored examination about libel law. The short essay examination will be derived from the mock trial, class discussion threads, the Associated Press Libel Manual, and our discussion of John Rawls. You will only be allowed to use the transcript from the mock libel trial in this proctored exam. You will not be allowed to use the Associated Press Libel Manual or other notes from the course.

 

 

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a courserelated question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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 .

Additional Information:












MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Park University,
an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic
excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate
effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

VISION STATEMENT; Park University will be a renowned
international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for
learners within the global society.


THE MISSION
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION ARTS / JOURNALISM




The
communication arts graduate in journalism is a thinking journalist capable of
adapting to change and creating change in the profession, open-minded,
committed to truth and the empowerment of all citizens through the arts of
journalism. The graduate recognizes excellence and strives to produce it. The
graduate’s professional and personal ethics are in harmony, motivated by a
sense of purpose for good in the community. The graduate celebrates
individuality and respects differences while searching for the common good.


 


     “...the purpose of media education is
to produce well-rounded graduates who have critical thinking skills as well as
practical skills, and who have an understanding of the philosophy of the media
and a dedication to the public service role that the media have in our society.”


-- Association for Education in
Journalism and Mass Communication


Curriculum Task Force, 1996, p. 106


 

Bibliography:



Rubric

CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Synthesis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student applies all the major ideas examined in the course to the news article in question. Her application is specific to the news article and she is able to draw conclusions about the article or the reporting method using each of these ideas. Student applies some of the major ideas examined in the course to the news article in question. Her application is frequently specific to the news article and she is frequently able to draw conclusions about the article or the reporting method using each of these ideas. Student restates many of the major ideas examined in the course but does not apply them to the specific news article provided for the paper. The paper does not utilize the ideas of the course to answer the question. No citations are provided. 
Analysis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student articulates the connection, or lack of connection, between each ethical principle examined in the course and the central elements of the mock news article provided for the reaction paper. Student articulates the connection, or lack of connection, between several ethical principle examined in the course and the central elements of the mock news article provided for the reaction paper. Student articulates the essence of each ethical principle examined across the course but does not apply them to the mock news article. The student does not provide evidence of understanding the principles of the course. 
Evaluation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student articulates a position on how the mock story should be assessed in terms of the ethical principles raised across the breadth of the course. The position is supported by evidence from several philosophical principles Student articulates a position on the ethical strength of the mock news article but does not support the position with principles raised in the course. Student analyzes the mock news article but does articulate a position on the ethical strength of the news article. The student does not approach the ethical issues raised by the article. 
Terminology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
Student describes all philosophers and their ideas accurately. The paper is comprehensive in utilizing all the major points of the course. Student describes most philosophers and their ideas accurately. Inaccuracies still show modest understanding of the principles. Student demonstrates modest understanding of general principles but does not provide either a comprehensive discussion of them or the ability to match philosophers or ph8ilosophies to ideas. The student does not recognize the ethical issues involved in the article. 
Concepts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student utilizes the ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story. The student articulates the nature of the connection between the communicator and the community. The student utilizes the ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story The student describes some philosophical principles to the question but does not articulate the connection between communicator and community and does not utilize these ideas to clarify the issues involved in the mock story. The student does not deal with community connections or professional issues. 
Application                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student articulates understanding of the existence of all expected ethical concerns about the mock story. The student articulates understanding of the existence of some expected ethical concerns about the mock story. The student articulates only a few ethical concerns raised by the story. The student does not deal with ethical issues raised by the story. 
Whole Artifact                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The student creates a comprehensive discussion of the principles, reaches conclusions and supports those conclusions. The student creates a discussion of some principles and utilizes those principles to reach conclusion about the mock story. The student demonstrates realization of some ethical problems with the story and uses at least one ethical principle from the course to approach it. The answer does not demonstrate processing of any ethical material or discussion from the course. 
Component                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
The paper shows careful, clear writing, is thematic and organized in a matter that demonstrates thought about content. The paper shows careful, clear writing, is organized but does not appear to be guided by a general theme. The writing is adequate. The paper is not organized. The paper is unclear and not organized. 

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Last Updated:9/16/2011 2:14:40 PM