NCSU Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media (CRDM) program

COM701::History and Theory of Communication Technology
Instructor: Dr. Adriana de Souza e Silva




Class schedule







Assignments will be evaluated based on:

  • The originality and creativity of your ideas,
  • 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

All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. No late assignments will be accepted, except with prior permission from the instructor.


1. Weekly reflections (blog posts) (10 points)
-- due each class
These are brief summaries/comments about the texts assigned for each class. The writing comments are due the day before (i. e., on Tuesday) each class and should be about half- to one- page long (1.5 leading space, 1” margins, 12-point font). You should summarize each text separately and then connect them together.

For each post, you are expected to address the following questions:

  • What are the main ideas and concepts of the texts?
  • How do these texts connect with other readings in the course, class discussions, as well as with relevant outside materials?
  • To what extent do these texts allow me to understand the history and theory of communication technologies? How do they apply to my own experience?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of these texts?

Posts are graded as 1, 1/2 or 0. Blog post grades are available at the course grade book in the course locker.

In order to be added as a blog user, you register at the NCSU WolfBlogs at: Then you will receive an email from me asking you to joing the class blog. After joining the blog, follow the instructions below to post comments.

Instructions to post comments:
1. Go to:
2. Login with your University username and password.
3. Click on "new entry" at the right hand side of the blog name.
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 category to your post (This should be your 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 "Post to Weblog".
10. To view your post, click on "CRD701f08" on the top of the page.
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 "Post to Weblog" again.


Assignment goal: Blog posts are supposed to prepare you for class discussion by helping you to organize your analysis of the texts, and make you aware of your colleagues comments and points of view. You are strongly encouraged to ask research questions on your blog post and bring them to class in order to contribute to class discussion.


2. Text presentation (20 points)

Each class, one student will be responsible for presenting the texts assigned to that day and leading class discussion. Much like the blog posts, you should summarize and analyze the texts, addressing the following questions:

  • What are the main ideas and concepts of the texts?
  • How do these texts connect with other readings in the course, class discussions, as well as with relevant outside materials?
  • To what extent do these texts allow me to understand the history and theory of communication technologies? How do they apply to my own experience?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of these texts?

Also, you should:

  • Bring any type of materials (scholarly sources, newspaper clips, web pages, online works, video clips, etc) that help to understand and contextualize the topic.
  • Address research questions / develop a critical analysis of the text responding to the author’s argument
  • Bring questions to lead class discussion.
  • Take about 20-25 minutes to present the text.
  • Lead class discussion for 40-45 minutes.

You’ll be evaluated based on:

  • how you describe the main concepts in the texts in adequate detail
  • how you connect the texts with other readings in the course and class discussions
  • how you conceptualize the topics in a broader research context,
  • the quality of your research questions
  • the quality of your text analysis and criticism (responding to the author’s arguments)
  • how you conclude/expand the topic beyond the authors’s ideas
  • the quality of the research materials you bring (scholarly papers, articles, audio/visual)
  • the adequate length of the presentation (20-25 minutes long)
  • the adequate citation of sources (APA style)
  • your presentation outline
  • your public speaking abilities

--> You should have your presentation outline ready one week before the due date to discuss it with the instructor.

Assignment goal: The text presentations are supposed to prepare you for public speaking. The presentation part matches the general length of a conference presentation. The discussion part will help you to lead group discussions, as in a classroom setting. Additionally, presenting the text requires you to develop a mini-research on your topic through broader connections to outside research materials.

Download text presentation grading rubric model


3. Sources database (10 points)

A general task to be performed throughout the course is the development of an online database of sources (scholarly and non-scholarly) about history and theory of communication technology that will serve as an updated research source for the class. You need to post on the class wiki newspaper / magazine clippings, ads, web pages, exhibit announcements, video clips, or any other artifact you may run across that in relate to the issues raised in the readings for that class period. As a suggestion for finding relevant sources on the topic, you should subscribe to the Websites/RSS feeds which are in the resources list of the Gaming Lab Website. You are also encouraged to find your own sources. Each student should plan on bringing at least one source each week. You should be able to justify why your source is relevant for the class and for the topic we are discussing that week.

The first 10 minutes each class will be dedicated to the discussion of the research sources you bring with you. You should be prepared to critically analyse the sources and to explain to the class:

  • why you chose that specific source
  • why is it relevant for the topics discussed in class
  • how it connects with other sources brought by other students

Your wiki entry should contain:

  • The title of your article/news/image (etc)
  • A brief description
  • The uploaded file / link to the file

Instructions to populate the online database at the wiki:
1. Go to:
2. Login with your unity ID and password at the top right hand corner of the page.
3. Click on the class topic (e.g., "Space/Place")
4. Click on the "Edit" button at the top navigation bar
5. Decide if your contribution is a scholarly article, popular press article, a blog/wiki or a book. Click under the category you chose.
6. Write a title for your article / news / image, etc.
7. Select the title and click the "b" button at the edit navigation bar to make it bold.
8. Write a brief description of your source.
9. If you want to add a link, use the links at the top edit bar.
10. If you want to insert an image, you need to upload it first using the link at the left hand side. Keep the name of the file. Then go back to your edit page and click on the button for "embedded image". Replace the given tag with your image name.
11. Sign your name in the end, so I know you wrote that source: by yourname.
12. Also click on the signature button to keep track of when you posted.
14. Click on "Save Page " to finish.

Assignment goal: New Media Studies is a fairly recent academic area. Therefore, the number of resources available (especially journal articles) is very limited and can be hard to find. By creating an online database we are collecting our own sources and sharing resources among ourselves in order to promote and facilitate research.


4. Final assignment (60 points)
Paper: 50 points
Paper presentation: 10 points

The final individual paper should focus on the theory studied during the course and on your own specific research goals. The paper topic is open, as long as you focus on some theoretical aspect of the history and theory of communication technologies. You can use a rhetorical approach, discourse analysis or critical theory as methods for developing your paper. It is recommended that you also investigate some characteristics of new media, such as mobile media, gaming, databases, Internet, etc. Your analysis should emphasize any cultural and social implications of communication technology or new interfaces.

General directions for the paper:

  • Minimum of 20 and maximum of 25 pages, not including title page, notes, references list, and appendix.
  • Double line spacing, 1” margins, 12-point font, and no extra space between paragraphs
  • If you want to include images, insert them as an appendix. Don’t forget to mention copyright and sources
  • Cover page with the paper title, your name/number and class
  • Follow APA style guide for references and paper formatting.
  • You must have at least 15 sources; 9 of which must be scholarly sources. You should cite at least 4 texts used in class.

Your paper must have:

  • Abstract / 5 keywords / Introduction / Conclusion / References.
  • a clearly defined research question(s);
  • a clearly defined thesis statement;
  • clear supporting points;
  • a logical, argument-based structure; and
  • concrete, well-documented evidence.

Your paper will be evaluated based on:

  • your topic definition, that is:
    • how you define your research questions / thesis statement in adequate detail.
    • if you analyze multiuser and/or location aware games
    • if you connect it to your project
  • the substance of your research, that is:
    • the originality of your idea
    • how you completely and clearly discuss the issues involved drawing from class lectures, discussions and readings.
    • how you define, review, and draw on the relevant scholarly literature.
    • how you provide specific criteria and evidence for the position being espoused based upon readings and lectures.
    • if your research is appropriate to your topic.
  • Your paper structure, that is:
    • the adequate length of your paper;
    • the adequate number of sources;
    • the adequate number of scholarly sources;
    • the proper formatting and citation of sources;
    • if the paper is clearly structured and organized.
    • the quality of your writing (paragraph transitions, spelling, grammar, punctuation).

You will write this paper by completing a series of 4 individual assignments, each of which contributes to the total of 50% of your grade:

For additional help on writing your paper look at the following Workshop:

*Download grading rubric model


Paper presentation:
The final paper presentation should be treated like a conference presentation. You will have 10 minutes to present your paper main ideas. You might use any kind of audio/visual material to help you with that.

The presentation will be evaluated based on:

  • How clearly and concisely you present your paper concepts (5)
  • Your public speaking abilities (3)
  • The correct timing of your presentation (2)

The last class meeting will be reserved for students’ demonstrations / presentations of the projects and the papers.