Intro to Internet/WWW Intro to Internet/WWW

Assignment: Communications Log

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce you to the variety of ways that you can use the Internet for group and mass communication and to reinforce your understanding of the client-server model of communication.

The Assignment

For security and administrative reasons, you must use the computer account supplied to you by the University to email your assignment--failure to do so will result in your assignment not being graded. UW-Milwaukee students can use panthermail.uwm.edu.

You will visit three different types of communication on the Internet. For each of these visits, write out a log entry that records the date and time of your visit, the client software you used, the server you accessed, the content you observe, and a short paragraph on the human communication you observed. Vague, non-specific, or incomplete answers will not receive full credit.

To do this assignment, use your campus Web-based email account, start a draft message, copy and paste all the text in this template file into that draft mail message, and then complete the observations by typing in your answers into the mail message. When completed, use these procedures for turning in your assignment.

In this template, you must fill out communications log entries for:

  1. An asynchronous (NON-real time) threaded text discussion. For example, Usenet news or any online forum where people post and respond to text messages.
  2. Streaming media (audio or video) feed (live or recorded).
  3. Your choice of one of either:
    1. An electronic mail-based discussion list; or
    2. A synchronous (real time) text discussion (such as IRC, MUDs/MOOS, a chat system, or instant messaging)

See the lessons on tools, communication, the Net tools list, and the Net audio information for information on tools to access online communication forums.

Notes on Your Communications Log Entires

Give me enough detail in your description of the client, server, and content so that I could observe the same kind of communication--that is, I would have enough information to get my own client of the type you used, find the server that you used, and identify the forum or group that you observed. Of course, when I would do this, some other activity would be going on in that forum at the time of my visit.

Be specific in your description of what you observed, but you need not exceed 100 words description for each forum that you visit.

Examples of Communications Log Entries

Example Observation of Usenet News

OBSERVER: John December
DATE: 2001-01-06
TIME: 09:51 am

CLIENT: I used software for reading news called Xnews/03.04.11 (available at http://Xnews.3Dnews.net).
SERVER: By using my Earthlink account, I used the news.earthlink.net Usenet news server (which I identified in the Xnews client).
CONTENT: The content that I accessed can best be described by the URL news:alt.fan.letterman

OBSERVED: In one thread, newsgroup participants discussed the "Thanksgiving Pie Contest Report." In this contest, newsgroup participants guessed what pies Dave Letterman's mom Dorothy was going to bake for Thanksgiving. Letterman since 1993 has called his mom on his show to guess the Thanksgiving pies she makes. The newsgroup participants created a Web site for accepting guesses of the pies Dorothy would make. About 45 guesses were registered at the Web site, and a winner was chosen. A newsgroup participant baked a pie and delivered it in person to the winner.

Example Observation of Streaming Media

OBSERVER: John December
DATE: 2002-02-16
TIME: 08:34 pm

CLIENT: I used a Internet Explorer (http://www.microsoft.com) Web browser that produced a popup window that contained an embedded Real Player (http://www.real.com) in it.
SERVER: The audio was streaming from http://www.live365.com
CONTENT: The content that I accessed was the programming offered by the "Comedy Store" station (http://www.live365.com/stations/201278) at the time. I listened to part of "Ryan Stiles on Z 95.3 FM," followed by Jerry Seinfeld--"Air Travel," from his album Telling You for the Last Time.

OBSERVED: The first selection was an improvisational comedy routine that challenged the participants to perform a skit using different voices and personalities. I caught only the last part. It was pretty funny. Then I listened to a Jerry Seinfeld routine about air travel, in his trademark observational style. I liked his comment on the "Alcatraz-style" faucets in the airport bathrooms.

Example Observation of Instant Messaging

OBSERVER: John Q. Public
DATE: 2003-01-20
TIME: 11:31 am

CLIENT: AOL Instant Messenger version 5.0.2938, available at http://www.aim.com/
SERVER: login.oscar.aol.com.
CONTENT: The content was an Instant Messaging chat between some of my friends and myself.

OBSERVED: I observed a conversation about the current crop of reality television programs. Most people thought they were stupid programs, but at the same time, they watched them regularly and talked about them often. They read about these programs in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet, and watched news reports about how stupid these programs are and how millions of people watch them. Doubtless, there will be even more of these programs as more people watch them and the media provides endless coverage of them, essentially free advertising, to promote them.

Remember, check for a receipt from me to make sure that I received your assignment before you consider the assignment done--remember "It's not complete until you get your receipt!"

Turning in Your Assignment

Your assignment is due by the time listed on the syllabus. Use these procedures for turning in your assignment. Your assignment will be graded according to criteria I set up for this tutorial.

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