TC 310: Basic Telecommunication Policy

Summer 2008 Section 101

MTWTH, 12:40-2:30pm

Ernst Bessey Hall, Room 106

Paul Zube, PhD Student

Office Hours will be held in CAS 14 (in the basement) on Monday and Thursday from 3-4pm

Memo Paper Criteria

Complete Syllabus


This class covers the basics for understanding telecommunication law and policy so that students are better prepared to deal with such topics in their professional careers. Although telecommunication policies are increasingly becoming global concerns, this course focuses on the laws and policies of the United States and the processes that lead to them. Telecommunication policy encompasses a number of related, but distinct, topic areas which each merit their own in depth examination. That being said, this course focuses more on exposing students to the scope of telecommunication policy instead of an in-depth examination of one area. Topic areas that are expected to be covered over the next 7 weeks include: telephone/mobile phone, broadcasting, pod-casting, cable television, satellite/wireless telecom, information technology, internet blogs and related systems and services. Intellectual property pervades these systems and services and is also addressed by this course. As students may already know, the field of telecommunication is changing rapidly. Governments and policy makers, however, move relatively slowly and are frequently behind the fields of interest. This course will also seek to examine the ways in which regulators are attempting to keep up. To help facilitate this, students are asked to bring in current event stories to discuss at the beginning of class.

Required Texts:

Nuechterlein, Jonathan E., & Weiser, Philip J. (2007). Digital Crossroads: American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Miller, Arthur R., & Davis, Michael H. (2007). Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright( 4th Edition). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.


Exams 45

Weekly Reviews 15

Campaign Positions Paper 15

Company Memo 15

Participation 10

Using this 100 point system, grades will be assigned as follows:

4.0= 92 or higher 2.0= 70-74

3.5= 85-91 1.5= 65-69

3.0= 80-84 1.0= 60-64

2.5= 75-79 0.0= 59 or lower


There will be three exams (noted on the schedule) during the course of the summer session. The format of the exam will be a mixture of multiple choice questions and short essay questions. This format may fluctuate somewhat throughout the session, with more emphasis on multiple choice or essay on any given exam, but the instructor will inform students about format changes well in advance to help students prepare.

There are also two formally written papers in this course. The first is a 2-3 double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins page paper about the telecommunication policy/law positions of the 2008 presidential candidates. Students are expected to research each viable candidate and describe their telecommunication policy position. This can be done through official campaign websites, previous voting records, ect. Students are also expected to make an argument about how each candidate is similar and different from each other.

The second paper is an internal memo style paper. Please use a memo style (can be found online) and pretend that you are an employee of a telecommunication company (you may choose which industry/company you work for). Using course concepts, write a professional argument about what regulatory issues your company is currently facing, how your company should deal with those issues, and what issues would be most beneficial for your company to attempt to lobby Congress and/or the FCC to change in some way. This paper should be a minimum of 5 double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margin pages.

Students are also expected to produce weekly review reports. These reports are to be based on the notes taken by students during class. Each report should be approximately 2 pages. Main points should all be summarized and course themes explored. Students are also asked to append any questions they have in these reports. The instructor will review every report and pay particular attention to questions and/or concepts that are not being clearly explained so that these topics can be further reviewed. Reports are due every Monday at the beginning of class.

Finally, students are expected to participate in class. Participation will be graded as bringing a current event story to class (preferably in line with that day's topic), engaging in a discussion in class, asking questions, and completing in class assignments (such as a pop quiz or similar activities).


Only medical excuses with documentation will be accepted after the fact for missed assignments/exams. All other absences that conflict with turning in assignments or exams must be cleared with the instructor prior to the event. There is no attendance policy for this class, however, if you do not attend a class and a participation activity is assigned while you are missing, no make up opportunities will be permitted, unless it falls under the medical excuse category.

Late assignments will always be accepted. If you do the work, it will be graded. There is a penalty for late work, however. For every 24 hour period that the work is missing, .5 will be subtracted from the assignment. As an example, if a weekly review is turned in at 12:50pm, it is within the first 24 hours of being late, meaning the highest grade possible would be a 3.5 for that assignment. The next 24 hour period starts at 12:50pm the next day, making that assignment only worth 3.0. This will continue until the assignment is only worth 1.0. It will be accepted and graded at this level until the last week of class, where the assignment will then be worth 0.0.

Finally, plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course. Please review the University's policy on plagiarism. If you have any particular questions about what constitutes plagiarism, please ask the instructor. Any material deemed to have been plagiarized will receive a 0 for the assignment with no opportunity to make it up. If two acts of plagiarism occur, that student will immediately fail the course and the Registrar's office will be notified.