Ethics & Problems in Telecom- Syllabus

RTV 4432 – Ethics & Problems in Telecommunication

Instructor: Bridget Grogan
Office Hours: Available at all times while abroad or by appointment
Office Location: 2112 Weimer Hall
Phone: 294-1503 office

This course will prepare you to resolve right-from-right dilemmas by using a three-step process in ethical reasoning.  You will learn to reason your way through the types of dilemmas faced by journalists today in which two or more central values of your moral system come into conflict.  You will study ethics theory in order to develop and understand your own ethical ideology to help you make good ethical decisions that can be defended with solid reasoning. You will develop decision memos within the context of key frameworks.  You will weigh your ethical decisions within the contexts of technology, transparency, harm, autonomy, privacy and community.

By the conclusion of this course, you should be able to:
Debate the most pressing ethical issues facing journalists today.
Evaluate claims and assertions using critical-thinking skills.
Resolve dilemmas with a three-step ethical reasoning skills

1) Decision Memo Guide by Dr. Norm Lewis:  Decision Memo Guide
2) Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice by Patrick Lee Plaisance
media ethics book





Decision Memo Guide test                                                                                            15%
Quizzes                                                                                                                              10%
Decision Memos – due in classes #4, #6, #8, and via email by June 15               50%
Class Presentation                                                                                                          25%

Decision Memo Guide test (15%) to be taken on the second day of class.
This multiple choice test on the Decision Memo Guide is difficult. Read and study, do not skim, the guide.

Quizzes (10%)
Quizzes will be based on the assigned book chapters for each class.

Class Presentation (25%)
Teams of two students will make a presentation about a case study in which one team member will offer his/her decision based on the stated dilemma.  The other team member will offer an alternate/opposing decision. Case studies will be assigned by the instructor and will vary.  Each team member will also turn in his or her own decision memo.  The team’s individual decision memos will have the same set-up paragraph, dilemma paragraph, and alternatives paragraph but different solution and rationale paragraphs. Laptops will not be permitted when you make your presentations. You must KNOW your material.

Decision Memos (50%)
These are completed decision memos according to the formula and examples in the Decision Memo Guide. They will be scored according to the rubric in the guide. You will submit four as indicated above and indicated in the class schedule below.

*** Prior to the first class, you will be expected to read the Decision Memo Guide to be prepared for a test on the guide.  You will also be expected to read Chapter 1 of Media Ethics and take the quiz on pages 18 and 19 regarding your ethical ideology.


Follow the Decision Memo Guide directions.  The memos are fairly easy to write if you structure them properly.  Not following the format will cost you significant points on your memos.

Do NOT make the mistake of being an advocate for the victims, families or others affected by the stories. This is not an advocacy journalism class.  This is a reporting/ethics. class. Think like a reporter. What would you be expected to do?

Class Schedule

Subject Assignment Due
1 Course Overview, Chapter 1 Discussion Final Project Team Selection Read Chapter 1
2 Decision Memo Guide test, Work on sample Decision Memo in class Decision Memo Guide Test
3 Chapter 2 Discussion- Key Frameworks Chap. 2 Quiz
4 Chapter 3 Discussion – Application to Media Chap. 3 Quiz, DM 1 due
5 Chapter 4 Discussion – Technology Chap. 4 Quiz
6 Chapter 5 Discussion – Transparency Chap. 5 Quiz, DM 2 due
7 Chapter 8 Discussion – Autonomy Chap. 8 Quiz,
8 Class Presentations Chap. 9 Quiz, DM 3 due
9 Class Presentations
10 Class Presentations

Grade Scale:

The UF grading policy can be found in the undergraduate catalog online.

Percent Percent Percent Percent
A 100-93% B 86-83% C 76-73% D 66-63%
A- 92-90% B- 82-80% C- 72-70% D- 62-60%
B+ 89-87% C+ 79-77% D+ 69-67%


Attendance is mandatory. Per study-abroad policy, anyone coming late (after a 5-minute grace period) loses a half-letter grade for the course, and anyone who misses a class loses a full letter grade for the course. The only exception is if you are truly ill and you let me know ahead of time. (FYI, the mandatory attendance policy also applies to other educational activities during the month abroad such as guided tours and speakers.)

Academic Integrity

You are required to abide by the Student Honor Code. Any violation of the academic integrity expected of you will result in a minimum academic sanction of a failing grade on the assignment and possibly a failing grade for the course. Any alleged violations of the Student Honor Code will result in a referral to Student Conduct and Conflict resolution. Please review the Student Honor Code and Student Conduct Code at

Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the Disability Resource Center (352-392-8565) by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter, which must be presented to the professor when requesting accommodation.

Help With Coping

The UF  Counseling and Wellness Center  is a terrific, free resource for any student who could use help managing stress or coping with life. The center, at 3190 Radio Road on campus, is open for appointments and emergency walk-ins from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To make an appointment or receive after-hours assistance, call 352-392-1575. You can also contact The U Matter, We Care team can also help connect students to the many other helping resources including, but not limited to Victim Advocates, housing staff, and the Counseling and Wellness Center.  Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength.  In case of emergency, call 9-1-1. If you need assistance while we’re in Europe, call on any faculty member or AIFS staff member.

Course Evaluations

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing online  evaluations. You will be notified by email when the evaluations are open. Summary  results  are available to you and the public.

Student Complaint Process
Students who have complaints about any course can use the links below for information about filing a complaint:
Residential Course:
Online Course:


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