This course provides a broad overview of current technology, economics and policy challenges in communications, the internet and digital platforms, emphasizing the "why" and "how", as well as historical connections. The course will rely on primary materials (published papers, white papers, technical reports, laws and regulations) and draw heavily on the diverse experiences of the students in the class, whose active participation is expected.
The class will attempt to provide a broad international perspective, with special emphasis on the United States, Canada and Europe.
The instructor has served in roles at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and, this past academic year, as a Technology Fellow in the office of Senator Ron Wyden.
Topics will include:
(Some topics may be omitted depending on time available and class interests.)
The class sessions will combine instructor lectures, guest lectures and discussions.
General engineering, economics, law or technology background. A programming background is not required; projects for CS students will typically, but not necessarily, contain programming components, but others will be able to do a project that reflect their individual academic backgrounds or work as part of interdisclipinary teams.
Fridays, 1:10 - 3.40 pm online
There are no required books. Background material will be provided as needed.
All homeworks are due by the date and time specified in the assignment (usually one or two weeks after they are issued). Homework submissions will be electronic, through CourseWorks. Complete instructions will be given with each homework.
You can submit your assignment multiple times, but the last submission is what counts. Each submission will be time stamped. Proper submission is your responsibility; we strongly urge you to make sure you understand the submission process and submit early. You can always submit again up until the deadline, so we strongly urge you to submit well before the deadline and then submit again if you have a more updated assignment to submit later.
You are allowed a total of 5 late days for the whole semester, to be used as you wish throughout the semester. That means you can be five days late for Homework 2 (for example) and turn in all other assignments on time, or one day late for each of the first five homework assignments, with no point penalty. Once you have exhausted your five late days, late homeworks will not be graded at all --- no extensions will be given, except for medical emergencies certified by University Health Services or a family emergency. Naturally, you may hand in incomplete assignments for partial credit by the deadline.
Also see the Columbia Policies and Procedures Regarding Academic Honesty.
All students or groups whose assignments are determined to be obviously very similar will receive a zero on the respective homework assignment for the first offense, and will receive an F for the course for the second offense ("all" means both the copy-er and copy-ee). More serious cases of cheating, such as copying someone's work without their knowledge or cheating on exams, will result in the person cheating receiving an F. In addition, offenses will be reported to the Dean's office, which may result in further disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from the program. Penalties will be given without discussion or warning; the first notice you receive may be a letter from the Dean. Note that you are responsible for not leaving copies of your assignments lying around and for protecting your files accordingly.
We would like the course to run smoothly and we'd like you to enjoy the course. Feel free to let us know what you find good and interesting about the course. Let us know sooner about the reverse. See us during office hours, leave us a note, or send us email.