JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Senior Capstone Project"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Antonio Lopez
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 6:30-9:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisites: COM 470, with the exception of the University of Milan Dual Degree students

This senior capstone course culminates the coursework in communications by focusing on the study and application of ethical standards in a variety of communication environments. Classical and alternative ethical frameworks are explored in order to evaluate and respond to communication problems in the context of global media and cultural citizenship. Through the analysis of case studies, students explore how the structure of media organizations impact ethical decision making and learn to develop self-reflective media practices.

As a senior seminar, this class is designed to culminate the accumulated skills, wisdom and theory from previous communications courses. Assignments are designed to reflect the learning outcomes of the course. Topics include:

·       Create a digital portfolio

·       Summarize paper topics and themes from past four years of undergraduate work

·       Research traditions in media studies

·       Video essay

·       Critical discourse analysis, metaphor analysis and visual methods

·       Research topics

·       Doing qualitative media analysis

·       Annotated bibliographies and literature review


The course outcomes and method of evaluation will be aligned with the core mission of the communications department. Students should be able to:

  • Apply multidisciplinary theoretical perspectives to identify the major debates, controversies, dilemmas and conflicts in media studies by critically assessing institutional and individual media practices.
  • Apply professional standards and ethics in research and media practice, and critically evaluate the ethics of institutional and individual media practices.
  • Interpret representation in media texts and demonstrate competency in media literacy (information, visual, technological, and textual).
  • Communicate effectively in a variety of formats (oral, written and multimedia) and develop self-reflective media practice through the creation of a professional portfolio.
  • Perform graduate level academic work.



Attendance and participation More than three unexcused absences will result in an automatic loss of a letter grade and will impact your final evaluation. 5%
Final Research ProjectDrawing from an area of study relevant to your interests, students will develop either a final research paper (18-20 pages) or 8-10 minute video essay.35%
Video essayA 3-5 minute video essay based on an idea and theme from previous research projects (use your intellectual autobiography for clues and ideas) and portray it using audio visual tools.25%
Digital portfolio 5%
Autobiographical paper 5%
Research journalStudents are required to keep a research notebook that tracks the research process.5%
Literature Review5-6 page paper with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The lit review is a survey of background research (articles, studies, chapters, books) related to your particular area of inquiry.20%

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 co
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference 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.

More than three unexcused absences will result in the automatic loss of a letter grade. Being late three times counts as an absence. Chronic tardiness will also impact your attendance/participation grade.
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.
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.


Week Date Theme Notes Reading
1 Overview McQuail, D.,. (2002). McQuail’s reader in mass communication theory. London; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. (Origins and development)
We Are Not the World
Joshua Meyrowtiz, Analyzing Media: Metaphors as Methodologies
2 Mapping media studies and paradigms
Boyd-Barrett, O. (2002). Theory in media research. In C. Newbold, O. Boyd-Barrett & H. v. d. Bulck (Eds.), The media book (pp. 1-54) London: Arnold ; 2002. (Theory in media research)
Lopez, A. (2014) Metaphors as Meaning Design. Greaning Media Eduation. Peter Lang: New York
Lopez, A. (2014) A field walk through the media ecoystem. Greaning Media Eduation. Peter Lang: New York
3 Developing topic and literature reviews Autobiography and portofolio draft due Begin lit review and research
Library visit
4 Doing research/theoretical framework Cont. research
5 Cont. research
6 Lit review due Compile images for video essay
7 Video essays work on video essay
8 work on video essay
9 Video presentation Video Essay due work on video essay
10 Video presentation Paper proposal due Work on final paper proposal
11 Revised proposal due (paper or video essay) Due
12 Work on papers
13 Work on papers
14 Work on papers