Telecommunications | Intro to Telecommunications Policy Studies
T504 | 21157 | Terry, H.
Semester: Fall, 2006
Course Number: TEL-T 504
Class Number: 21157
Course Title: Introduction to Telecommunications Policy Studies (3
T504 is the starting point for the graduate level study of
telecommunications law, policy, economics and technology in the
Department of Telecommunications. It is part of the set of core
classes applicable to most graduate programs in the department and
prepares students for more advanced law and policy courses at the
500 and 600 level -- including TEL-T 530 which will be taught
Although focused on the U.S. electronic media, this course considers
U.S. telecommunications law and policy in its increasingly global
context. It presumes an undergraduate level knowledge of (1) the
U.S. legal and political system, (2) U.S. electronic media law and
policy, (3) the structure, institutions of and characteristics of
the electronic media industries in the U.S., (4) electronic media
economics and (5) electronic media technologies.
Students who did not study electronic media law and policy and the
electronic media industries in their undergraduate or masters'
programs will probably have to do additional readings, very early in
the semester, in order to get up to speed. This is likely to be
especially true of graduate students entering our program from other
degree programs outside of the U.S. The goal is to teach T504 at a
graduate level, however, so if you haven't had the appropriate
undergraduate background work, you will have to make that up, very
quickly, through additional, largely independent, work.
The course begins with a brief overview of the U.S. legal and
political system. This is intended as a refresher for students who
grew up in the U.S. As noted above, international graduate students
may need to do more than this, at the start of the class. The
course then moves to theoretical and practical consideration of what
policy is and how it comes about. There are different schools of
thought about this and we'll consider several of them.
This is followed by an selective overview of major constitutional,
statutory and regulatory laws and policies that affect the U.S.
electronic media industries and media consumers. Our emphasis here
is largely on current developments and controversies in these
areas. It's presumed that the undergraduate level work described
above has given you the necessary background to understand current
issues and controversies. We consider major legal and regulatory
theories for the electronic media (both old and new), with attention
to how those theories are stressed by contemporary convergence and
globalization. To some extent, areas to be chosen will reflect the
composition of, interests of, and academic goals of class members.
Finally, It reviews how telecommunications law and policy works in
the U.S., the institutions involved in policy, and also introduces
students to very basic legal bibliography and legal research methods.
The course is a seminar not a lecture-based class. Thus, students
are expected to arrive at class prepared for discussion. There will
be written midterm and final examinations that, combined, will equal
about 50% of the overall course grade. There will also be
individual and group research projects collectively equaling the
other 50% of the grade. Texts planned at this point (March, 2006)
will be: Benjamin, Stuart Minor, Douglas Gary Lichtman, Howard A.
Shelanski, Telecommunications Law and Policy, Durham, N.C.: Carolina
Academic Press (a 2006 edition is planned to be published in August,
2006; Colebatch, H.K., Policy, 2nd ed, Buckingham:: Open University
Press, 2002 and Armstrong, Rob, Covering Government: A Civics
Handbook for Journalists, Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press,
2002. The Armstrong book is out-of-print so you might want to try
to locate a used copy soon if you are going to take this class. Be
mindful, however, that other texts may be substituted for these if
better materials are published between now and Fall, 2006. There
will also be reserve readings.
Class meets in TV 169 from 5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. MW.