York College/CUNY

CT 201: Foundations in Communications Technology

Fall 2022


Class Day & Time: Wednesdays 12:30 – 1:45pm – Fully Online (Via Zoom)

Pre-req.: ENG 125

Professor: Ryan Seslow

Office: Remote / Via Zoom

Office Hours: Wednesdays 11:30am – 12:30pm by request please (e-mail)


Class Website:

(Access to the Zoom link and Passcode can be found on our class Blackboard page)


Course Description:

Introducing the nature, development, functions, and social context of communications technology, including theories of information transmission and the history of print, photographic, sound, motion image, and computer-based media.

This course will present, provide and archive a selection of curated (OER) Open Education Resources by the professor.

***Optional Textbook:

Straubhaar, J., LaRose R. & Davenport L. (2015). Media now: Understanding media, culture, and technology (9th ed. ISBN: 1305080351). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.  

(The 8th edition is acceptable. You can find a used copy online for about $10)

Required Readings:

All course content will be provided throughout the semester via our class website – – the course website should be referred to each week. We will NOT be using blackboard to list or submit course assignments. Blackboard will only be used to host password protected content such as the zoom link & its password. Students will be required to view media, read articles, and participate in discussions outside of class via our class website.    

Learning Objectives:

  • To be able to describe and explain using examples to classify different types of communications technology and analyze its connections to society and culture
  • To view and discuss works crucial to the history of communications technology
  • To analyze the formal and stylistic elements of communications technology through writing
  • To engage in discussions of aesthetic value and ethics

Course Requirements:

  • Participate actively in our virtual class sessions. This will help us to learn from each other through attentive and respectful dialogue about our thoughts and experiences.
  • All assignments should be submitted on time. If you need more time to complete assignments please remain in contact with the professor.
  • Remain open-minded regarding perspectives that may differ from your own. This is perhaps the most crucial strategy to accomplish transformative knowledge-sharing and affect social change.

 Major Assignments and Grading Percentages:

  • Final Term paper (40%) – Students are required to write one term paper on a topic related to media (6 pages – NOT including the bibliography). All essays must document their sources. I suggest following the APA style to document sources (Reference: All essays must be submitted to me via e-mail – – This is a writing-intensive course, the essays will incorporate a “scaffolding” process to guide students toward longer written assignments. The scaffolded assignment structure pulls first from the courses reflective blog posts; you will select one of these topics to expand upon for your formal final term paper. After your topic has been approved, you must submit a rough draft at specified due dates; at this time, the professor will propose revisions to the rough draft and a classroom writing workshop will allow students to engage with the material and learn from each other in improving elements of style, organization, content, and editing. Following this process ensures the professor and students remain engaged in an ongoing dialogue that continuously progresses and improves the final drafts which will be turned in at the midpoint and end of the semester.
  • Discussion Board Commenting (20%): Throughout the semester, students will react and respond to 9 blog postings (150 words minimum) in the form of commenting on our class website to related articles, video screenings, media and content covered in class. This will help students to think and learn about the overall course content while engaging in the discourse surrounding the major historical and cultural shifts in communication technologies. You are required to comment on at least 5 of your classmates’ comments through-out the semester as well.
  • Mid-Semester and Final Reflection Essay (20% total) – Students will submit a mid-semester (between week #8 & 9) and final reflection essay (Week #15) that will self-assess their progress and evolution in the course. This includes an estimated grade that help takes responsibility for all completed or missing course work, participation and relatedness. Both reflections should be at least 1 page in length and sent via e-mail to me –
  • Participation (20% total) – Students should participate in all class activities, discussions, and course work in all formats. This includes sharing your reactions, reflections, opinions and support for our course and classmates. Various modalities of communication will be available and discussed.

Grading Scheme

85 or above = A 63-66 = C
80-84 = A- 60-62 = C-
77-79 = B+ 57-59 = D+
73-76 = B 53-56 = D
70-72 = B- 50-52 = D-
67-69 = C+ below 50 = F


Course Schedule (subject to change)

Week Date Weekly Topic Break-down Discussion Board Assignment due
1 8/31 Course overview – 1st Meeting!   1  
2 9/7   The Changing Media   2  
3 9/14 Media and Society   3  
4 9/21 Books, Magazines & Newspapers    4  
5 9/28 From Print to Digital   5 Final Term Paper proposal discussion  
6 10/5 **No Class – College is Closed**    
7 10/12 Recorded Music & Radio Final Term Paper proposal due  by 10/12
8 10/19 Music & Radio Continued 7 Final Term Paper Bibliography / sources due 10/19 – 10/26 
9 10/26 Film and Home Video – Mid-Semester recap / forward motion   8 Mid-Semester Assessment discussion
10 11/2 Television 8 Mid-Semester Assessment due 10/26 – 11/16
11 11/9 The Internet / Smart World    9  
12 11/16 Public Relations   10  Final Term Paper draft due (3-4 pages)11/16 – 12/7
 13   11/23 Ads & Advertising 11  Final Term Paper draft due (3-4 pages)
14 11/30 Media Uses and Impact        Final Term Paper draft due (3-4 pages)
15 12/7 Last zoom class meeting time – Closing statements / assessments   *Final Term Paper – final version due – 12/7 – 12/20
  Final Exams week 12/15 – 12/21     *Final-Semester Assessment Due no later than 12/20 pls.    



Students are expected to treat the instructor and fellow students with the appropriate degree of respect, both in class (if applicable) and in online discussions. Communication, either in person or through electronic media, that is deemed abusive, threatening, or harassing in nature will not be tolerated.


York College’s Academic Integrity Policy & Procedures, developed to conform to the CUNY policy on Academic Integrity.


The following overview of the INC grade is condensed from York’s grading policy website

The student must be passing the course, and have work remaining to complete the course requirements. The student must request an INC grade. The instructor must approve whether the student has a valid reason for not completing course requirements and has reasonable expectation that the student can in fact successfully complete the requirements of the course within the allotted time.


CUNY York College is committed to providing access to programs and services for qualified students with disabilities. If you are a student with a disability and require accommodations to participate and complete requirements for this class, contact the STAR Program (Specialized Testing & Academic Resources), services for students with disabilities (Academic Core Building (AC), Room 1GO2, 718-262-2191/3732) for verification of eligibility and determination of specific accommodations.

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