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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "COM 220-3"
COURSE NAME: "Media, Culture and Society "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Kwame Phillips
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00-4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 101
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course examines the mass media as complex social institutions that exercise multiple roles in society—none more crucial than the circulation and validation of social discourses. Introducing students to a variety of theoretical approaches, the course focuses on media operations and textual analysis.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

The course is divided in three main parts. The first part will focus on the analysis of the main elements of the media (media technologies, the organization of the media industry, media content and media users). The second part, Media, Power and Control, addresses questions of media power, manipulation, the construction of news, public service broadcasting, censorship, commercialization. The third and final part, Media, Identity and Culture, will focus on issues of media and ethnicity, gender, subcultures, audiences and fans.


LEARNING OUTCOMES:
The course aims to encourage students to understand the relationship between media representations and society. By the end of the course students are expected to:

•       Be competent in the different models of analysis for the study of media organisations, media representations and media audiences

•       Understand key theoretical perspectives and research traditions within media studies 

•       Have acquired advanced competences for the analysis of social and cultural functions of the media

•       Have a certain understanding of the media structure (industry and technology)

•       Understand the relationship between the mass media, society and culture on a basic theoretical level.


TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Media, Culture and Society. An IntroductionPaul HodkinsonSage978-1412920537 Throughout the semester, several articles will be assigned relevant to class discussions.
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Weekly reflection papers4 papers of 500-750 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. The inclusion of images are encouraged where appropriate. 20
Mid-term Theory Paper3000-3500 words. 1.5 spacing and 12 point font. The inclusion of images are encouraged where appropriate. Students are required to write a research paper that is appropriate to the course material. The topic is open, but must focus on some form of media product or products and be analyzed using one or more of the theoretical approaches discussed in the course. 25
Final PresentationThis will take the form of 15-20 minute group presentations. The presentations will be judged on the following criteria: critical thinking, quality of information, organization, visual design, oral presentation, grammar and spelling, and teamwork. 25
Attendance and participation 15
Bring your own news storyThis will require students selecting and analyzing a news story in a short presentation in class.5
Paper OutlineA one page outline for the midterm paper is required one week before the paper is due.5
Weekly questions/observationsEvery week students are required to provide via email a question or observation based on the readings that will be due the night before the first class of the week. 5

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:

More than 2 unexcused absences will result in an F (Fail) grade for Attendance & Participation. More than 5 unexcused absences will result in failing the course. If unexcused, a tardy of more than 10 minutes will be counted as an absence. Lateness will affect the final grade. Every student is expected to do the readings when required and actively participate in class discussion. All the reading materials and course assignments will be posted on the class website.

-GRADING RUBRIC

Papers will be grading using the following criteria (and judged whether excellent, good, fair, needs work or insufficient):

1. Formatting (page numbers, bibliography, quotes, citations)
2. Sources (diverse, academic)
3. Organization (good transitions, definitions, structured argument)
4. Adherence to assignment guidelines (follows instructions, answers questions, covers topic)
5. Clarity (thesis stated and supported with examples, evidence, background, context)
6. Understanding terms and grasp of concepts
7. Originality
8. Style (readable, lucid, flow, makes sense, creative, academic, command of English)
9. Grammar, spelling, typos, sentence structure
10. Effort, passion, interest
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

•       Some screenings and readings listed here might be subjected to change

ELEMENTS OF MEDIA

Week 1  
      
Course Overview and introduction: Shaping, mirroring and representing:

Media Technologies
Reading: Chapter 2

Week 2      
Media Content
Reading: Chapter 4

Week 3
      
Media Industries
and Media Ideology
Reading: Chapter 3 and 6

FIRST SHORT PAPER DUE

MEDIA, POWER AND CONTROL

Week 4      
Media Users // The Construction of News, Controlling Media Orientation and the Decline of the National Public

Reading: Chapter 5 // Chapters 7, 8 and 9 

Week 5
‘Bring Your Own News Story’ presentations       

MEDIA, IDENTITY AND CULTURE 

Week 6            
Media, Identities and Communities // Media and Intersectionality

Reading: Chapter 12 + TBD
             

SECOND SHORT PAPER DUE

Week 7
Media and Gender (including body image)
Reading: TBD    
      

ONE PAGE OUTLINE DUE

Week 8      
Media and Sexuality 
Reading: Chapter 10

MID-TERM PAPER DUE

Week 9    
Media, Race and Ethnicity (including language and regional background)
Reading: Chapter 11

THIRD SHORT PAPER DUE

Week 10      
Media and Socio-Economic Status/Class (including family makeup, academic and social achievement)
Reading: Chapter 11
               
Week 11
Media and Ability (Mental, Physical, Learning Differences)
      

Week 12     
Media and Beliefs (Political, Social, Religious) // Media and Age
Reading: TBD

FOURTH SHORT PAPER DUE

Week 13
Media Saturation, Fluidity and Loss of Meaning // Final presentations

Week 14 
Final presentations // Wrap up and Review