COMMUNICATION/AMERICAN STUDIES 150
Introduction to Mass Media in
Winter Quarter, 2007
When: Section A- Tues. & Thurs. 12:30-2:40 Section B-Mon. & Wed. 5:30-7:40
Office Hours: by appointment only
Information is power, and since the time of the American Revolution, information has been considered fundamental to our freedom. Today, we have access to more information from more media than ever before. But has it made us freer? How reliable is it? We have more entertainment available than ever before, too. But what are the consequences? Are we, as Neil Postman put it, “amusing ourselves to death?”
Every day, we’re bombarded by media messages. Some maintain that we owe our very sense of what’s “normal” and “natural” to these media—that our own individual experiences and observations are overwhelmed by the images and sounds we encounter on the job, at school, even in our most private moments at home.
This course will examine the role and the history of the mass media and their impact on American culture and society. We’ll look at:
Richard Campbell, Christopher Martin, Bettina Fabos, Media and Culture 5.
Internet access is available in the library, as well as in the NWCET computer labs. We will use the Internet and other multi-media resources as part of this class.
A popular “buzzword” in the media these days in “interactive.” It applies to this class as well. You are expected to be a participant, not a spectator. I want an exchange of ideas and observations, not just a lecture. To succeed in this interactive class, you will need to:
read thoroughly and critically. This means making margin notes, using a highlighter to mark passages which seem to be important, asking questions or making comments in the margins and, of course, completing all reading by the assigned date. Your textbook includes an interactive CD ROM with lots of Web links. Use them. You may expect quizzes over the reading material throughout the quarter.
attend class. At the Academy Awards a few years ago, director Stanley Donen said that the secret to success is “showing up.” You will not get a “B for breathing;” you will, however, fail to earn credit if you fail to attend. The Arts and Humanities Division policy is that if you miss more than one-fifth of the class (or, since this is a twice per week class, four class sessions), that in itself is grounds for failing the class—even if you turn in all assignments. Even if you don’t fail the class completely, your overall grade may be lowered by however much I consider to be appropriate. Much will go on in the class which simply can’t be reconstructed from somebody else’s notes or from the reading. You are expected to be in class on time; if you arrive late, you may not be credited with attendance. IMPORTANT: If you do miss a class, YOU are responsible to get missed notes and assignments from a classmate. I WILL NOT SEND OUT OR GIVE NOTES TO ABSENT STUDENTS.
turn in assignments on time. You will be writing a number of papers and possibly doing some investigative projects. The deadlines are fixed; if you fail to turn in a paper or complete a project on time, you will receive a grade for it which is no higher than the lowest grade given to anybody who turned the paper in by the due date.
improve your writing and reading skills. College-level reading and writing skills are expected for the highest grades; plan to use the Writing Lab to revise your papers if your writing is not at this level.
Keep up with all reading, class discussion, and projects so that you’ll be ready for the midterm and final.
Additional Note: Essential to a liberal arts education is an open-minded tolerance for ideas and modes of expression, which might conflict with one’s personal values. By being exposed to such ideas or expressions, you are not expected to endorse or adopt them but rather to understand that they are part of the free flow of information upon which higher education depends.
To this end, you may find that certain books, films, or other materials are assigned which may, in whole or in part, offend you. These materials are equivalent to required texts and are essential to the course content. If you decline to view or read material you consider offensive, you may still be required to respond to its content, and you may not be able to fully participate in required class discussions, exams, or assignments. Consult the syllabus and discuss such issues with the instructor—accommodations MIGHT be made.
Your final grade will be based upon the following:
two written case studies 40 points each
midterm exam 100 points
final exam or extended paper 100 points
quizzes (4) 25 points each
participation 20 points
These percentages or the nature of the assignments may change after discussion with the class.
READ THE POLICIES OF THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES DIVISION AT THE FOLLOWING URL: http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/artshum/policy.html THESE ARE THE POLICIES OF THIS CLASS, AND YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD THEM. BE ESPECIALLY SURE TO READ THE SECTION ON “ACADEMIC HONESTY.” I HAVE A “ZERO TOLERANCE” POLICY ON PLAGIARISM.
CLASS INFORMATION, THE SYLLABUS, READING ASSIGNMENTS, AND USEFUL WEB LINKS WILL BE POSTED ONLINE AT: https://go.mybcc.net (look for the course link on your page)
IF YOU LACK INTERNET ACCESS OR SKILLS, PLEASE REQUEST A PRINTED COPY OF ANY MATERIAL PLACED ONLINE.
See the Arts and Humanities Division Policies statement. Students with disabilities who have accommodation needs are required to meet with the Director of Disability Support Services, room B233-G (telephone 425-564-2490 or TTY 425-603-4110) to establish their eligibility for accommodation. In addition, students are encouraged to review their accommodation requirements with each instructor during the first week of the quarter.