Telecommunications | Media History
T311 | 15106 | Terry, H

TEL-T 311 is an overview of U.S. elecronic media history, primarily
covering the period from the mid-19th century through the end of the
20th century.  While the focus is on U.S. electronic media history,
we'll also consider non-electronic media history in order and non-
U.S. media history where it helps us understand U.S. developments.

The prerequisite is completion of either TEL-T 205 or TEL-T 207 with
a grade of C- or higher.  If you will not have completed one of
these courses prior to the start of the Spring, 2010 semester, you
can contact me ( and I will consider requests,
enrollment limits permitting, to let you in without having completed
the prereqisites.  I'm most likely to consider this favorably if you
are not a Telecommunications major or minor, since the major (and,
typically, a minor) requires that you complete these two courses
anyway.  I welcome qualified and well prepared students from outside
Telecommunications, however, so please --if you fall in that
category, contact me and give me an opportunity to assess your
prepararation for the class.

Good background for this class is a sound prior knowledge of U.S.
history, since we'll often set electronic media history in that
historical context and will not have the time, obviously, to
comprehensively cover general U.S. media history of this period.

We plan to cover telegraphy, telephony, broadcasting, cable-TV,
satellite services, the Internet, and interactive electronic media
(including games).  We won't move much into the 21st century because
it's premature to have historical perspective on such recent

Sterling and Kittross' Stay Tuned is the basic text.  We may also
use a recently published history of cable TV, but I've not yet read
that book so I can't be sure if it will fit our purposes or not.

There will be both a midterm and a final exam -- both essay (and, in
the case of the final, to some extent comprehensive).  There will be
papers, but their nature (and length) can only be determined after
we soo how many people this class enrolls.  If it goes to maximum
capacity, I still will not have an A.I. and will have to have
shorter papers than if it runs 25 persons or so.  We'll just have to
see how that goes.

This course counts toward Social and Historical Studies distribution
requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences. It may, or may
not, also count toward other degree requirements. For more
information about which requirements this course could fulfill see
the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin at
If you have questions, or need additional help, see your academic

This course sometimes qualifies for Intensive Writing credit in the
College of Arts and Sciences.   That will NOT be the case this
semester.  My experience is that IW courses often enroll many
students who are not interested in the subject matter of the class --
they just want to fulfill the IW requirement.  That can result in an
unsatisfactory class for all.  Not making it IW seems to result in
enrollments of more interested (and motivated) students who,
typically, do well.

Please contact me at if you have any additional