Introduction to CSC442 Section B – Transcript


Today's podcast is an introduction to CSC 442 Section B at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  For more information, visit the blog at


Welcome, and greetings to all of you!!  This is Burks Oakley, and I'm speaking to you from my rented condo in beautiful Naples, Florida.  Today is Monday, January 13th, 2014.  I'll be facilitating Section B of CSC 442 during the Spring 2014 semester.  By means of introduction, I retired from the University of Illinois in May 2007 after being on the faculty for 27 years.  From 1997 until I retired, I served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and I was the director of the University of Illinois Online initiative.  In my retirement, I'm working part-time at UIS teaching this online class.

I've taught a number of different online courses for UIS, and you'll find that I'm always experimenting with new pedagogical approaches in online teaching and learning – approaches such as podcasting.  And this podcast is meant to give you an introduction to our course – an overview of what we'll be doing this semester.

At the University of Illinois at Springfield, all students are required to take upper-division general education courses, which constitute the Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (or ECCE's, as they are called).  These courses are designed to increase awareness of contemporary public issues and to provide a wider understanding of these issues through a multidisciplinary approach.

The ECCE in which you now are enrolled, CSC 442, is entitled "Internet and American Life", and it is categorized as an ECCE focusing on "U.S. Communities".  It is based on a series of published reports from the Pew Internet and American Life Project.  According to the website of the Pew Internet Project, it [quote] produces original, academic-quality reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life. [unquote]  These reports are available for free in PDF format on the Pew Internet Project's website.

Our course is structured as follows.  The course is divided into weeks, with each week starting early on a Monday morning and ending the following Monday at noon central time.  Each week, you will read several reports from the Pew Internet Project, and as a class, we will discuss these reports in a forum within the Blackboard course management system.  Participation in these weekly discussions will count for 40% of your final course grade.  You also will be writing two papers for this class.  The first paper, which is worth 25% of your final grade, is about how the Internet has impacted a specific part of your life in the past five years.  The second paper, which is worth 35% of your final grade, will be a research paper that will go into detail about the laws and public policies that are related to some aspect of the Internet, and how specific communities are impacted by these policies.

All of our course handouts are on the main course website (it's outside of the Blackboard course management system), and it is linked from my personal website at

I hope that you’ll take the time to read through the handouts I've put on the web.  Especially important is the syllabus, which has much more information about how the course is organized, as well as the detailed learning objectives for the course.  There also is a handout called “Additional Information”, which, not surprisingly, includes additional information on the course navigation in Blackboard, on netiquette, the technical requirements for the course, and where you can go for technical and academic support.  Also important at this time are the handouts about the weekly discussions.  There also is a handout called “Helpful Software”, and I really encourage you to read through this handout and install most, or even all, of this free software on your own computer.

You should check out the Facebook handout, and then visit the official class page in Facebook.  If you like this page, then any announcements that I post to that page will appear in your Facebook news feed.  Most students have told me that they find the short announcements that I post to Facebook are really very helpful.  Note that we don't have to be Facebook friends for this - all you have to do is like the official class page.

I also have a handout about podcasting on the main course website – you'll see that I'm very engaged with podcasting.  I suggest that you install the free iTunes software on your PC, and subscribe to the RSS feed for the podcasts I'll be producing for our class.  The procedure for subscribing to the podcasts using RSS is described in the podcasting handout.  I plan to produce one new podcast for our course every week, and I hope that these podcasts will be of some value to you.

I'm looking forward to interacting with each of you this semester.  I hope that you enjoy this class, and that you will learn new things about the ways in which the Internet is impacting our lives in America today.


Well, that wraps up this first podcast, so until next time, this is Burks, signing off.