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UNIV 3713 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

UNIV 3713 - Freedom, Openness, and the Internet

1 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course pursues an in-depth exploration of the openness of the Internet in both historical and contemporary context. The readings and discussion topics will address cultural, technical and government policy affecting the Internet and its openness. Additional readings and discussions will consider business and economic interests (technology manufacturers, telecommunications, software developers) and their interrelationship with an open Internet.

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Understand the history of the development of the internet – including cultural, technical, and government policy factors.
  • Critically discuss the openness of the internet as we know it today including: Who “owns” the internet? Who does/should govern the internet?
  • Understand the business and economic interests that have a vested interest in managing the internet including technology manufacturers, telecommunication providers, and software developers.

Other learning outcomes for the student in this course include:

  • Gain a strong understanding of how the internet came to be as it is today including technical innovations and historically significant individuals who played a role in its development and their influence on the cultural and business uses of the internet today.
  • Develop a self-awareness of what an open internet means personally, culturally, and economically.
  • Identify and describe contemporary factors related to governance, ownership, and access to the internet – both domestically and internationally.
  • Develop critical thinking skills related to the topic of “an open internet” to that can be applied in concrete situations commonly experienced by IT professionals. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

The course will be organized into modules that generally align with the four primary learning objectives of the course as follows:

  • Module 1: Course Overview / Setting the Context for Discussing Internet Governance
  • Module 2: History of the Internet and Evolution of Governance Structure
  • Module 3: Exploring “Openness” of the Internet: Why does it matter?
  • Module 4: Competing Forces and Governance of the Internet (domestically and internationally).
  • Module 5: Formulating an Argument for Ownership of the Internet.
  • Module 6: Looking Ahead: Future Issues – short- and long-term.
Specific Course Requirements:

Assessment will be conducted in two primary forms: (1) formal writing assignments and (2) participation in online discussion topics. For both categories of assessment, formal rubrics will be provided that clearly communicate to the students how they will be assessed. [Additional details can be found in the "Grading Procedures" section later in this syllabus.]

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

There are no other reading materials for this course that the student will need to purchase. Beyond the textbooks, all other required (and optional) readings will be provided as web links with in the course topics.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

In keeping with the spirit of a discussion seminar course, there are no formal tests in this course. However, your primary assessed work in the course will be through active and thoughtful participation in a variety of discussion topics and submission of formal written assignments (see below for additional details).

Grading Procedures:

Because this is a one-hour seminar course assessment will reflect a strong emphasis on critical and integrative thinking on the topic of the course with the readings and online discussions acting as the foundation of the assessed activities. Formal assessment will be in two primary forms: (1) Written essay/research assignments and (2) participation in online discussion topics. For both categories of assessment, formal rubrics will be provided that clearly communicate to the students how they will be assessed. These skills demonstrate if the student has grasped the material.

Grading Scale:
Points RangeAssigned Grade
900 - 1000 PointsA
800 - 899 PointsB
700 - 799 PointsC
650 - 699 PointsD
under 650 PointsF


Assignments and Projects:

Assessment will be conducted in two primary forms: (1) formal writing assignments and (2) participation in online discussion topics. For both categories of assessment, formal rubrics will be provided that clearly communicate to the students how they will be assessed.

Written research papers and essays:
Three (3) over balance of semester at approximately equal intervals apart. This will include one formal cumulative paper at the end of the course.

Discussion topics: 
There will be one discussion topic for every week of the semester (except for the last two weeks when the reflective paper assignment is due. The weekly discussion topics will be the primary means of maintaining engagement and interaction among the students and instructor. Contemporary readings and journal articles will provide the theme for each discussion. There may also be the opportunity for students to participate in optional periodic synchronous events using a web-conferencing tool for students who prefer more direct interaction. (Note: the synchronous sessions will be strictly optional and not required.)

The point value of the individual discussion topics varies (50 or 100 points each) to balance assessed work among the modules with other work that is required. For example, in modules that include a 200 point written essay, the discussion topic has a lower value reflecting the fact that additional effort should go into the written essay. When considering how a discussion posting will be assessed, you should focus on being thoughtful, analytical, and complete in your comments. Constructive responses to other students' postings or originating complete ideas that stimulate discussion are examples of good discussion work. Saying "I agree", on the other hand, is not an exceptionally insightful discussion posting.

Graded Items
DescriptionSubtotal Points
(3) Formal Written Assignments @ 200 points each600
(2) Discussion topics, @ 100 points each200
(4) Discussion topics, @ 50 points each200
Total Points1,000


Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. Students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events.

Late Policy:

In general, students are expected to meet deadlines as stated in the Calendar. All due dates for assessed assignments are clearly indicated with the assignment instructions and in an Assignments Summary List that can be found in the "Getting Started" module of this course.

Written assignments may be turned in anytime up to and including the date due. Please see the table above for a detail on the numbers of assignments, discussions topics, or formal written assignments and their actual grade value. Discussion topics will each have a defined window of activity including staggered start and end dates to allow some overlap among adjacent and related topics.

Generally all work should be completed and submitted consistent with the calendar and the due-dates included in the assignment instructions. However, since many students have personal or work-related conflicts that pop up during semester, some latitude may be offered by your instructor based on the nature of the issue and the extent to which you communicate the tardiness. However, late work may be subject to reduced credit based on extent and reason for the tardiness. In all cases, the student must get in touch with the teacher and provide a reasonable explanation of why he/she was late in order for the instructor not to deduce points for late submission.

All due dates for assessed assignments are clearly indicated with the assignment instructions and in a summary list that can be found in the "Getting Started" module of this course.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on June 5, 2017