NCSU Department of Communication

COM477::Mobile Technologies and Cultures (Spring 2012)
Instructor: Dr. Adriana de Souza e Silva







Assignments will be evaluated based on:

  • The quality of your argument
  • The quality of the sources you use to support your argument
  • How well you connect your assignment to the topics we are discussing in class
  • The quality of your writing / speech

Many assignments in this course are written assignments. It is expected that you write in clear, formal, academic language. If you need help with your writing skills, please let me know early in the semester. You can contact the University Writing and Speaking Tutorial service for support.

Students are required to complete ALL assignments in order to pass the course.


1. Weekly reflections (blog posts) (20 points)
-- due each Sunday
These are brief summaries/comments about the text you just read for the class. The writing comments are due by Monday at noon and should be around three paragraphs. You should write a one paragraph summary for each text, and then connect them together / comment in another paragraph.

Blog posts will be graded according to the following criteria:

  • 1. The student (a) provides a clear and objective summary of both texts main ideas, and (b) connects both texts main topics with previous classes and readings, and personal observations (For this part, you may address the following question: why is this text relevant to understand the topic mobile technologies and cultures?)
  • 0.5. The student (a) identified some main ideas in the texts, but did not address them adequately, (b) did not provide a clear summary of the texts, or (c) did not satisfactorily connect the text ideas with previous classes, readings and personal observations.
  • 0. The student (a) did not summarize the texts and did not connect it to past classes, or (b) posted after the deadline. Late posts will automatically receive a 0*.
  • 1.5. If you write an outstanding blog post, you'll get an extra credit.

*If you have an excused absence, you can still get credit to your blog post if you post it within one week of the absence. You are excused from posting if you are presenting to the class.

Each class a student will be asked to read their blog post. You can also volunteer to read it. So, you should bring a print out of your blog post to class.

After you accept my invitation to join the blog by clicking on the link provided in the email, login with your google/gmail account. Then you can click on "post" or follow the instructions below.

Instructions to post comments:
1. Go to:
2. Login with your gmail account or google account.
3. Click on "new post" at the top navigation bar.
4. Give a title to your post: the title should be the last name of the text's author, e.g., Abbatte.
5. Assign a label to your post (This should be your last name).
6. Write your post (you can resize the text book by dragging the lower right hand corner).
7. Sign your post with your name.
8. Click on "Publish".
10. To view your post, click on "Visualize Post".
11. If you wish to re-edit it, click on "Edit" below your post, which will take you back to the post interface. Make your changes and click "Publish" again.


Examples of very good blog posts


2. News + class discussion (15 points)

Each week, three students will be responsible for brining a popular press article about the topic addressed in that class. The students will also bring 4-5 discussion questions that connect the articles to the texts assigned for that week.

Students in class will read a summary of the article and discuss proposed questions.

In order to get full credit for the assignment students should:

  • Email two options of articles and the questions one week in advace to the professor / TA.
  • Follow the professor's/TA's feedback, in case the students needs to find a new article or re-work on the discussion questions.

The assignment will be graded based on the following criteria:

  • The quality of your article (if the article is from a trustworthy popular press source)
  • The quality of your discussion questions (how well they relate to the week's readings).
  • The quality of the presentation.
  • Student gave article + quetions to instructor one week in advance.
  • Student followed the professor's feedback, in case he / she needs to find a new article or re-work on the discussion questions.
  • Student provided summary of the article to class.
  • Student led class discussion.

Here's a useful resource that explains what a popular press article is:

Download discussion grading rubric


3. Mid-term and Final Exams (20 and 30 points respectively)
-- questions on 02.23 and 04.24
The mid-term and final exams are individual take home essays. You will have one week to complete the exams. The purpose of the exams is for you to demonstrate that you have understood the major issues addressed in the course and that you can articulate an insightful, well-supported position on one of those issues.

You should be prepared to answer any of the questions based on your class notes, slides, class readings, and outside sources. Your essay should present a clear, well-structured answer to the question, incorporating information, facts, or quotations from the course readings and from your lecture notes, research sources, and blog postings. You are required to use at least two quotes or facts from the course readings listed after the question and at least two quotes or facts from any other outside sources. This is the minimal requirement, however; if you are aiming for an “A,” don’t settle for the minimum. All source material must be properly indicated using quotation marks (if it is a quote) and credited using proper parenthetical references.

When your turn in your completed exam, you will also turn in copies of all the sources you used (not including course readings).

Directions for the exams:

• Each answer should be about two to three pages long (double-spaced, 12-point font).
• For each answer, you should cite at least 2 texts used in class and 1 outside source reference.
• Cite your sources at the end of each answer as a references list.
• Sources and in-text citations should be formatted according to the APA style.
• Attach copy of all the external sources you used (not including course readings).

Your answers will be evaluated based on:

  • the substance of your research, that is:
    • how you answer the questions in adequate detail;
    • the quality of the sources you use to support your argument;
    • how well you connect your assignment to the topics we are discussing in class;
  • the correct citation of sources according to the APA style;
  • the correct number of sources;
  • the adequate length of the answer;
  • the quality of your writing.

Mid-term exam - models of correct answers:

Final exam - models of correct answers:

4. Final group project (10 points)

In gorups of 5, students will design proposal/concept for a digital tool that takes advantages of the affordances of mobile technologies/ubiquitous computing. It could be a mobile app for the iphone/android, or a more sophisticated proposal for a pervasive computing prototype. The theme for the project is open, as long as it addresses at least one social issues discussed in class surrounding mobile technologies, such as:

  • privacy,
  • surveillance,
  • collaboration and sociability,
  • mobility,
  • spatial awareness.

The project concept should be original, that is, it should be different than any other already existing commercial app. In your final presentation, you should be able to articulate this difference as well as clearly justify the functionality of your tool. This can take the form of a flow chart, a series of hyperlinks, images, or a video tutorial. The proposal must contain sufficient detail to communicate specific interface features and desired user behavior. Different than a regular design project, what you are presenting is anticipated usage. You are demonstrating how users are likely to engage in the application, program, tool that you have created. And you are demonstrating why it matters.

The project will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Is the project well conceived? Do all the pieces fit together?  Is it likely to work?
  • What is the quality of the presentation (both verbal and visual)?
  • Does it adequately address the issues of mobility and mobile technologies we have discussed?  Does it solve a clearly articulated problem?
  • Is your design concept clear and concise?
  • Is the project creative and original?

There is no additional writing component required in this project.  Everything should be clearly communicated through the visual presentation. A printed copy of the presentation should be delivered to the instructor after the presentation.

During the semester, there will be brainstorming sections with computer science students, that you are encouraged to attend.

You will develop the project by completing a series of four assignments, each of which contributes to the total of 10% of your grade:

  • Define work groups (02.02)
  • Present a written (one paragraph) proposal of the final project to be discussed in class (02.16)
  • Present an initial storyboard for the final project (03.22)
  • Final presentations (04.26)

The last class meeting will be reserved for students’ demonstration / presentation of their project.

Final project grading rubric


5. Participation (5 points)

Participation entails not only attending the class but coming prepared having done all the readings, having made an honest attempt at understanding the author’s argument, and bringing reading notes and questions you’d like to ask. In order to get the maximum amount of points for participation, students are expected to:

  • Be present in class;
  • Contribute to the class with your ideas, comments and questions;
  • Actively participate in the course, answering the instructor's questions and engaging in class discussions.

The final participation grade will be given according to the following criteria:
A+ (5) Outstanding participation. Student meets and exceeds all criteria for “A” participation.
A (4.75) Student is well prepared, attentive, always responds when called upon and volunteers often with pertinent answers or questions.
B (4.25) Student is usually prepared, responds when called on and volunteers on occasion.
C (3.75) Student shows evidence of being unprepared on occasion, has trouble when called on and does not volunteer often.
D (3.25) Student is unprepared, inattentive, never volunteers, or comes to class late.
F (0%) Student exhibits a lack of concern for the class, sleeps in class, or disturbs                                     the class.