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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Ronald A. Johnson
INFX 598
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Introduces innovation and specialized topics relating to the study of information in any context.

Class description

BROADBAND - REALITIES & CHALLENGES - Explore the state of broadband networks today; along with the realities and challenges involved in getting &/or expanding, and in having leveraging value from, broadband networks, and in acquiring or deploying broadband for various commercial and public entities (including libraries and other cultural and social service organizations as well as .com &/or .org start-ups), and/or by/for individuals. The course will include coverage of the relevant technologies, as well as an overview of policy and marketplace environments, and will also focus on the issues of served, ‘under-served’ and ‘unserved’ populations. While the materials presented will primarily cover technology, industry, policy, and other ‘supply’ side factors, students will also be encouraged to explore the equally important ‘demand’ side and value chain issues. Although primarily focused on the U.S., there will be some comparison to the international setting.

Student learning goals

enable students with a serious interest in some area of practice or of research relating to ‘broadband’ to pursue those interests while also coming together to discuss some of the timely core general themes and realities of 'broadband' and also 'broadband' programs and deployments (or failures to do so) be they in the USA or around the world.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

ASSIGNMENTS: The five deliverables for this credit/no-credit class will be:

1) Prior to the second class meeting provide me via email with your proposed term paper, report or presentation topic, and then briefly discuss it in our second class meeting. This is intended to both help me shape the materials to best align with the interests of course participants and also to help student get off the dime quickly and make more progress over the quarter.

2)Constructively participate in class discussion (including “3” and “4)” below as professional colleagues with shared interests – but possibly diverging views. Networking, as well as modern research, is an inherently collaborative, interdependent endeavor in which people necessarily build on one another's work. It is a world in which facilitating others contributions can be as important as making ones own.

3 Based upon on a topic or activity that I sign off on in advance -– noting that I am comfortable with a very broad range of interests/topics and only ask that students treat whatever they choose to do as a serious exercise -- do one of the following.

a. Complete a 7-15 page paper by the last day of finals; and also both: present a less than 15 minute initial/interim report on the ideas/findings by mid-quarter at the assigned class meeting, and also present a less than 15 minute account of the near-final draft to the class at a time assigned during the last 2 weeks of classes.

b. Make (and turn in) a full formal ~30 minute ‘talk’-like presentation in class of your work - which can be an outreach/field activity - at a preassigned time during the final 2 weeks of classes, and also present a less than 15 minute initial/interim report on the ideas/findings by mid-quarter at the assigned class meeting.

c. Conduct an outreach/'field' activity with a final formal written descriptive report turned in by the last day of finals; and both, present a less than 15 minute initial/interim report on the ideas/findings by mid-quarter at the assigned class meeting, and also present a 15-20 minute near-final or final draft to the class at a time assigned during the last 2 weeks of classes.

4)Meet with me at least once during the 1st third of the quarter to go over your project ideas and direction.

5)Serve as part of a defacto class working peer-review/feedback panel to provide feedback on each other’s work. To me, that somewhat mirrors the world of research & practice. And while it doesn't take a lot of work, it does mean one has to show up, listen to, and give thoughtful and constructive feedback/debate/dialog regarding other's work and interests, and also take a few minutes to compose and ship a concise one or two paragraph email to me about it after each instance of a student presentation in class (including both the initial/interim and final/near final presentations).


This is a credit/no credit course.

General grading information for the University of Washington is available here. The iSchool has adopted its own criteria for grading graduate courses. The grading criteria used by the iSchool for graduate courses are available at

Your written work will be graded based on its clarity, organization, balance, amount of pertinent detail included, depth and clarity of evaluative and analytical comments, and preparation. It will also be graded on the extent to which a good understanding of the material presented in the course is shown and on the extent to which directions are followed. If evaluative or analytical comments are required, they should be supported by factual evidence, either from readings or other documents. Other aspects of individual assignments may also be included in the grading.

Written work that shows a lack of understanding of subject matter, is unclear or poorly organized, contains few or irrelevant details, does not follow directions, contains little or unsubstantiated evaluative commentary, or is poorly written, prepared (e.g. typos, grammatical errors), or documented will receive low grades.

Late assignments are not accepted unless submitted to the professor no more than 24 hours after the due date. A late assignment will incur an automatic .5 deduction for its grade. If there are any extenuating circumstances, please notify the professor BEFORE the day that the assignment is due. Students are encouraged to take drafts of their writing assignments to the Odegaard Writing and Research Center for assistance. Information on scheduling an appointment can be found at

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Ronald A. Johnson
Date: 03/16/2013