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CA 302 Communication Ethics and Law
Aitken, Renee


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

S2T 2013 DL

Faculty

Aitken, Renee

Title

Adjunct Faculty

Degrees/Certificates

PhD in Education
MS in Telecommunications Engineering and Management
MA in Organizational Communication

Office Location

Home

Office Hours

Please feel free to contact me anytime between 7:30 am and 10:30 pm

Daytime Phone

614-876-8685

E-Mail

renee.aitken@park.edu

reneeaitken@gmail.com

Semester Dates

3/18/2013-5/12/2013

Class Days

TBA

Class Time

TBA

Credit Hours

3


Textbook:

Lying : Moral Choice in Public and Private Life
Author: Sissela Bok
Publication Date: 1999
Publisher: Vintage Books 
ISBN-13: 978-0375705281
 
Media Ethics: Issues and Cases. 7th edition.
Author: Philip Patterson, Lee C Wilkins
Publication Date: 1997
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
ISBN-13: 978-0205418459

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

The Associated Press Libel Manual available in doc sharing
Assorted readings available in doc sharing

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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

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:
 

 

Total points – 520 points

Assignments:

 Points possibe

Bok Reaction Paper (Week 4)

100 points

Patterson Group Project Report (Week 5, 6, 7, 8)

100 points

Final Reaction Paper (Week 7)

100 points

Proctored Libel Exam (Week 8)

100 points

Weekly homework (10 points each, Week 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 )

 50  points

Participation in discussion (10 points per week for  week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

 70 points

   

Total

520 points

Suggested letter grade scale
Percentage Points  Letter Grade 
90%-100% 468-520

A

80%-89%

416-467

B

70%-79%

364-415

C

60%-69%

312-363

D

below 60%

  0 -311 

F


 

Grading:
 

Suggested grading scale:

Percentage Points  Letter Grade 
90%-100% 468-520

A

80%-89%

416-467

B

70%-79%

364-415

C

60%-69%

312-363

D

below 60%

  0 -311 

F


Late Submission of Course Materials:

It is easy to get behind in this course. This is particularly troublesome because learning the course is designed to be sequential and cumulative. Your active participation throughout each week will be critical to your learning and critical to the health of the learning community. In other words, if you aren't present, you suffer and your colleagues suffer. It is critical that you engage with the class consistently across the semester.
 
The on-line environment requires us to complete the work for each week within the Monday to Sunday window. We will adhere to that rule. However, we have cumulative projects in this course, so it will be important for you to do the reading and the suggestions for preparation to succeed in the core assessment on a regular basis across the semester.
 
This course is based on reading. You cannot succeed without reading the material, reading it carefully, and taking notes on what you have read. If you attempt to read all the material necessary for the final reaction paper in the seventh week, you will be miserable. Simply monitoring the discussion threads and reading the lectures will not be enough -- citations from the material are required in every evaluation and you cannot reach successful depth of understanding without reading. Please let me know if you are having trouble understanding the material. You will probably not be alone and you will provide me a clear opportunity to help all the students engage with the ideas.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Think of this as a learning community and think of your fellow classmates as members of this community. Please conduct the affairs of the class with civility and tact. We will, no doubt, engage in heated discussion. It is particularly important when discussing on line where you can't send non-verbal cues to those you are conversing with to be careful about how you phrase your response. It is always important to be critical of ideas but not of people. You will find it easier to get your point across is you couch it as a question rather than an assertion. Much of philosophical discussion is founded on this one principle.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
 

Week 1

  • Read all the articles for week 1 in doc sharing
  • Make four lists
  • Respond to discussion threads
  • Read the introduction to “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life” 

Week 2

  • Read Chapters I, II and III in Sissela Bok’s, “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework: Group discussions
  • Respond to discussion threads

Week 3

  • Read Chapters IV, V, VI in Sissela Bok’s, “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework: Respond to a question about the nature of excuses
  • Respond to discussion threads

Week 4

  • Read Chapter VII in Sissela Bok’s, “Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.”
  • Homework: none
  • Bok reaction paper due at 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
  • Groups one and two post presentations and monitor student responses. Reaction paper from groups one and two about their presentations due one week later.
  • Homework: Respond to a question about vulnerable audiences from Chapter 3
  • Phase one of the mock libel trial begins for groups six and seven
  • Respond to discussion threads.

Week 6

  • Read Chapters 4 and 8 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.”
  • Read the material from Josiah Royce in doc sharing.
  • Read the material on the Potter Box in doc sharing.
  • Groups three and four post presentations and monitor student responses. Reaction paper from groups three and four about their presentations due one week later.
  • Phase two of the mock libel trial begins for groups six and seven.
  • Homework: Create a Potter Box to clarify the issues raised in one of the group presentations.
  • Respond to discussion threads.

Week 7

  • Read Chapter 5 in “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.”
  • Group five posts a presentation and monitors student responses. Reaction paper from group five about their presentation due one week later.
  • Phase three of the mock libel trial begins for groups six and seven. Reaction paper from groups six and seven about the trial due one week later.
  • The final reaction paper will be due at midnight Sunday.

Week 8

  • Tale the proctored examination about libel law from, class discussion, the mock trial and the Associated Press Libel Manual. You may not use the Associated Press Libel Manual but you may use class notes and notes from the mock libel trial.
  • Respond to discussion threads wrapping up 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 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 97

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 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
Be extra careful about downloading material from the Internet. Downloading is so easy we sometimes forget we do not own the material we access. It is simple to credit the source, so do it. It is best to put the material into your own words. I take this seriously. I consider any material you use without credit plagiarism and will deal with it harshly.

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 course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

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:









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:2/8/2013 7:27:19 PM