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    Roundtable I | Roundtable II | Roundtable III | Roundtable IV

    Rogue Scholars Roundtable IV:
    The Virtual Menace

    Panel Proposal submitted to the President-Elect for the 2000 annual meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Detroit, April.

    Panel Moderator
    David Ling
    Central Michigan U

    "The Relationship Among Internet Exposure, Communicator Context and Rurality in a Northern California County"
    Scott Millward
    San José State U

    "Thinking About the Online Classroom: Evaluating the 'Ideal' Versus the 'Real'"
    Jenny Kindred
    Wayne State U

    "The Virtual Campaign: Presidential Primary Websites in Campaign 2000"
    William L. Benoit & Pamela J. Benoit
    U of Missouri

    "Warp Speed Journalism"
    Mike Madias
    Clinical Sociologist, Freelance Journalist

    "Disability on the Net"
    Stephanie J. Coopman*
    San José State U

    "The World Wide Weed: Marijuana Goes Online"
    Xeno Rasmusson
    CSU, Hayward

    "High Speed Access: Micro Radio, Action, and Activism on the Internet"
    Ted M. Coopman
    Rogue Communication

    *contact person: Stephanie J. Coopman, Dept. of Communication Studies, San José State U, San José, CA 95192-0112;

    Purpose: "Rogue Scholars Rountable IV" is the fourth in a series of panels and other forums designed to bring scholarship out of the insular academic community and into the larger community in which academic research is embedded. In other words, our goal with this panel (and other endeavors) is to make scholarship accessible to those whom we study. As Betsy Bach (1997) noted in her presidential address at the 1997 Western States Communication Association Convention: "[W]e must make our written work available and useful to those outside the academy. . . . Those of you who attended the Rogue Scholar's Roundtable on 'Out of the Tower and Into the Streets' yesterday afternoon heard a similar rallying cry for increased accessibility to our academic writing" (p. 340).

    In this panel, the Rogue Scholars examine communication style, education, politics, journalism, and activism on the Internet. David Ling is our moderator and discussion leader. Scott Millward begins with his analysis of individual differences which influence use of the Internet, positing that use of the Internet also influences communicator style. Jenny Kindred takes us into the online classroom, asking first "How?" does this process work and second "What?" can be done to improve online learning. William Benoit and Pamela Benoit expand on their political communication research program by analyzing campaign 2000 websites. Mike Madias is a sociologist and freelance journalist who writes for publications such as the Detroit News, and has produced a video for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Madias describes from first-hand experience the impact of the Internet on journalism. Stephanie J. Coopman explores the presence of the disability community on the World Wide Web, examining constructions of disability, activism, and civil rights in text and graphics. Xeno Rasmusson analyzes the ways in which websites on all sides of the marijuana debate weave their threads into particular stories. Last, Ted M. Coopman describes how the micro radio movement has challenged some of the most powerful telecommunication corporations in the United States by using the Internet as an organizing tool.

    We believe this panel fits well with CSCA's 2000 convention theme, "CSCA at the Millennium: Prospect for the Future," in several ways. First, we suggest a way of disseminating communication scholarship to those who can use this information. We write in plain language. We make our information available on the WWW. Second, we examine the impact of new technology, the Internet, across a broad range of contexts and issues. Third, we represent diverse and divergent viewpoints, including political communication, disability studies, communication education, rhetoric, and human development. Fourth, we bring our interests together under the umbrella of computer-mediated communication.

    Format: This panel is a public discussion of scholarly research. Presenters will write 2500 word (or less) papers about their research in a style the general public can access and understand. Our rule of thumb is that a college sophomore outside the communication discipline must be able to read and comprehend what we write. The moderator/discussion leader will facilitate audience-panelist interaction. These papers will be available on the Rogue Scholar website one month before CSCA for all presenters and potential audience members to read Thus, the format for the panel will be BRIEF presentations (no more than 5 minutes) by panel members, followed by MUCH discussion among panelists and audience members.


    The Relationship Among Internet Exposure, Communicator Context and Rurality in a Northern California County

    Scott Millward

    Over 37% of the U.S. population is online. Yet, those living in urban areas represent a disproportionate share of this percentage. This study explores the relationships among individuals' geographic location (rural vs. urban), communicator style, and use of the Internet. I suggest that Internet use influences, and possibly changes, individuals' communication styles. In addition, I pose two research questions: (1) Are people who are urban Internet users more likely to rely on a different types of communication styles than people who are rural and less frequent users of the Internet? (2) If there is a difference, is exposure to the Internet a predictor of that difference?

    Thinking About the Online Classroom: Evaluating the "Ideal" Versus the "Real"

    Jenny Kindred

    Colleges and universities throughout the country are either offering online classes currently or jumping on the bandwagon to do so. This newer way to take college courses presents challenges for both the instructor and the student. How will the discussion be framed? What are the guidelines for interaction? How is participation measured? What is the method for working on group projects? How does one "talk" online? Through data collected from student surveys and observing real online class discussion, these and other questions will be addressed. The "ideal" online classroom will be contrasted with examples of what really happens when students and instructors meet online. Finally, suggestions for both the student and instructor will be discussed.

    The Virtual Campaign: Presidential Primary Websites in Campaign 2000

    William L. Benoit & Pamela J. Benoit

    An AT&T public opinion poll in 1996 revealed that 65% of respondents wanted to research candidate issue positions on the web. Another poll found that during the 1996 elections, one-third of the voters sited the Internet as a source of information. Further, nearly 10% of voters surveyed in that election year reported that information on the Internet influenced their vote. The Internet, as a completely new medium for political campaigning, is already beginning to exert its potential for disseminating information and thereby affecting the voting behavior of millions of voters.

    This paper discusses advantages (cost, ability to adapt to voters, interactive potential, ability to avoid media filtering of messages) and disadvantages (not everyone is connected, technological limitations) of campaign web pages. Then we develop a set of design criteria for evaluating candidate web sites grouped under these headings: Identification, navigation, readability, irritability, information accessibility, information breadth and depth, interest, interactivity, audience adaptation. These criteria are then used to evaluate presidential candidate web sites in the pre-primary stage of the 2000 campaign.

    Warp Speed Journalism

    Mike Madias

    Twentieth century is dead. The wired generation lives in non-Euclidian space/time. All the other poor bastards of last fortunate generations are locked up in locations, events and identities. They (who think themselves a "they") ask: who; what; where; when; how; and why. In that way they seek orientation in a reality matrix. But there are those who know the god Unix, and can pray using command line mantras. There are application jockeys who can snap a mouse with speed and grace, like a flamingo dancer plays castanets. We are the witches and warlocks of the post modern age. When we tell our stories, we are the warp speed journalists.

    Disability on the Net

    Stephanie J. Coopman

    The signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act in 1990 did much to bring the disability movement into the public consciousness and discourse in the U. S. It also served to crystallize and further energize the disability community. Nowhere is this more evident than on the World Wide Web. However, with the potential to reach individuals world-wide, the Internet has vaulted the disability movement from local to global levels. In this paper, I examine disability sites around the world as narrative texts, in which web authors construct for and with visitors/readers representations of disability, activism, and civil rights. I analyze how authors use places in cyberspace to construct particular views of disability and the disability community.

    The World Wide Weed: Marijuana Goes Online

    Xeno Rasmusson

    Cannabis, hemp, pot, marijuana--talk about this infamous weed is in the news and on the Net. From medicinal marijuana to the complete legalization of pot, the debate over this plant has proliferated on the World Wide Web. Websites range from modest endeavors developed by an individual to extensive commercial sites. In this paper, I examine information available on the WWW from all sides of the many debates. Using exemplar sites, I focus on the symbolic narratives or story lines various sites construct in developing their arguments to support a particular view point.

    High Speed Access: Micro Radio, Action, and Activism on the Internet

    Ted M. Coopman

    During the spring and summer of 1999, the Low Power Radio Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently drew a record number of responses. Several thousand people from all over the country participated in what has traditionally been the purview of major corporations and institutions, including 1120 individuals who signed the MicroRadio Empowerment Coalition comments. This paper examines that response and its implications for the micro radio and other activist movements. The Internet played an important role not only in filing responses, but in drafting and signing responses as well. For example, the Joint Statement on Micro Radio garnered 30 organizations and 101 individuals from 17 states in less than three weeks--entirely online. Instantaneous communication, resource sharing, and organizational potential of the Internet are the foundation of a grassroots Micro Radio Movement that has gone from obscurity to the national arena in less than five years. The ability to act, react, and organize effectively and in a timely manner has allowed a broad-based, diverse, but scattered, under-funded, and often divisive coalition to challenge some of America's most powerful media organizations.


    Bach, B. (1997). 1997 WSCA presidential address: Putting an end to arrogance: Tips for climbing down from the ivory tower. Western Journal of Communication, 61, 338-342.


    David Ling
    Department of Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts, Central Michigan U, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859; 517-774-7896;

    Scott Millward
    Department of Communication Studies, San José State U, San José, CA 95192-0112; 408-924-5360;

    Jenny Kindred
    Department of Communication, Wayne State U, Detroit, MI 48202; 313-577-2943;

    William L. Benoit & Pamela J. Benoit
    Communication Department, U of Missouri, 115 Switzler Hall, Columbia, MI 65211; 573-882-0548;;

    Mike Madias
    9 Woodland #408, Detroit, MI 48202; 313-883-4833;

    Stephanie J. Coopman
    Department of Communication Studies, San José State U, San José, CA 95192-0112; 408-924-5366;

    Xeno Rasmusson
    Department of Human Development, CSU, Hayward, Hayward, CA 94542; 510-885-3599;

    Ted M. Coopman
    Rogue Communication, 2501 Friesland Ct., Santa Cruz, CA 95062; 831-477-7780;