Syllabus
Introduction to Mass Communication
Spring 2017
M/W/F COMM 0101 10:25am - 11:15am, Ely 338

=============================================

Professor Nigel Dobereiner
Teaching Assistant Sarah Rayner
Office: Ely 321
Office Hours:
Monday 11:15-12:15 and by appointment
Wednesday 11:15-1:15 and by appointment
Office Phone: (413) 572-5743
E-mail: ndobereiner@westfield.ma.edu

In this course we will conduct a comprehensive survey and critical analysis of mass communication. This will be accomplished through the study of the history and structure of mass media industries and an examination of social, economic, political, cultural, and global factors that create the context in which media operate. 

OBJECTIVES:

Among other things, when you finish this course you will be able to:

ATTENDANCE:

Students are expected to get to class each day. I will take attendance at every class and excessive missed classes will lower your final grade. (I define "excessive" as being in the bottom 10% -20% of the class in attendance.) Missing classes will almost certainly affect your final grade also in that much of the material on the exams will come from class lectures and participations. Anyone with borderline scores at the end of the semester will benefit from a good attendance record, and vice versa.

If you expect to be absent, please notify me as soon as possible. If feasible I will give you assignments ahead of time. I will not provide copies of my lecture notes. All make-up exams must be completed within one week of the date the exam was originally given. If you miss an exam, it's your job to arrange a time with me to make it up before a week has passed. If you do not take your make-up exam within the one week period, your ultimate score on that exam will be lowered by two full letter grades. NO EXCEPTIONS!

REQUIRED MATERIALS:
Media/Society (5th edition) by David Croteau, William Hoynes and Stefana Milan- available at the bookstore

GRADING:
Three exams will make up the majority (75%) of your grade. They will be spread throughout the semester. You will also receive several writing assignments (3 – 5) which together with attendance and participation will contribute (25%) to your grade. The writing assignments will be based on your text readings, case studies or films we watch in class. Attendance counts. Be here. If you miss a writing assignment you can hand it in up to a week late (TYPED!), but don't expect me to chase you down to complete it. A writing assignment that is more than a week late will not be accepted! 

It is my view that students, in effect, grade themselves. That is, I will make every effort to assist you and give you all the information you need to succeed. However, the ultimate responsibility for success (or failure) is your own. Below you will find the Grading Structure. 

GRADING STRUCTURE:

A

97-100

C+

77-80

 

A-

93-96

C

73-76

F

B+

89-92

C-

69-72

60 or below

B

85-88

D+

65-68

 

B-

81-84

D

61-64

 

You will also be graded based on class participation. During many classes I will lecture for part of the class, encouraging participation, and then have you participate in a group activity. I am a big believer in group-based activities in all my classes. This is a communication course, after all, and I feel you will learn best through communication with each other as well as with me. 

If you are having trouble, please arrange to meet with me during office hours. I will be happy to assist you in any way I can. Anyone whose final grade is close to a borderline status between two letter grades will receive the benefit of the doubt (or vice versa) by a consideration of class attendance and participation records. Again, it's all up to you.

A NOTE ABOUT PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING
Creating your own work is how you will get ahead your career, no matter what you choose to do. Using anyone else’s work; using a project that was submitted in another class; or having someone else write your assignment, are examples of plagiarism. I caught two students recently and followed procedure to sanction them both. In the real world, plagiarism is often simply called theft and will not be tolerated by companies who may be sued for having employees who steal. I know most people would never commit this crime. But you should know that plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated. Committing plagiarism also means you are not developing skills you will need in the marketplace. You can read more about what constitutes plagiarism here. http://catalog.westfield.ma.edu/content.php?catoid=8&navoid=356&hl=%22%26quot%3Bacademic+honesty%26quot%3B%22&returnto=search#Academic_Honesty_Policy

This policy may be updated this year so check for the latest version, if needed. If you have any doubts about whether something is considered plagiarism or not, please check with me.

CELL PHONES AND COURTESY:
I expect all cell phones to be turned off and not sitting in your desktop awaiting the next message. Messaging of any type in class is not allowed. It is considered rude, shows you don't care about the content of the class, and can have you ejected from the class. Don't let me tell you about this if I see a violation. I will work hard to embarrass you.

Respect other students. When someone is speaking or presenting, be quite and listen to them. They have the floor. They are not just speaking for my benefit. Always give others the respect you'd like to be shown. (See the Golden Rule.)

There will also be a Teaching Assistant in the classroom for most sessions. She is to be treated with the utmost respect as she represents me and will carry out my requests. She will assist in class-prep on a daily basis and also be available for tutoring and exam study sessions.

ONLINE RESOURCE:
All assignments and study guides will be available online at www.znod.com. 

CLASSES AND TOPICS
The following Classes and Topics listing is subject to change as our/your interests and progress dictate. However, barring instructions to the contrary, reading assignments should be listed in advance of the day of lecture on that topic. We'll use the lectures, movies and current events as talking points, and I don't just call on people who raise their hands; so be prepared to discuss the material.

Classes and Topics

#

Date

Topic

Assigned Reading

1

1/23

Course introduction, review of syllabus

 

2

1/25

Why study the media?
A Sociology of Media

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 15-27

3

1/27

Fred and Wilma exercise: Media and Society

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 2-15

4

1/30

Economics of the Media Industry Conglomeration

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 32-45

5

2/1

Economics of the Media Industry Concentration and Conglomeration

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 46-54

6

2/3

Video: “Behind the Screens

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 61-64

7

2/6

In-class writing assignment #1

 

8

2/8

Media’s influence on Politics

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 224-235

9

2/10

Regulating Ownership and Control

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 72-91

10

2/13

snow cancellation

 

11

2/15

Regulating Content


Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 91-104

12

2/17

Video: “Rich Media/Poor Democracy

 

 

2/20

Holiday – President's Day

 

13

2/21

Monday Schedule on a Tuesday
Media Organizations and Professionals

 Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 113-120
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 123-130

14

2/22

Exam prep and review

 

15

2/24

EXAM 1

 

16

2/27

Video: “Outfoxed” (begin)

 

17

3/1

Video: “Outfoxed” (cont.) discussion

 

18

3/3

Exams returned and reviewed

 

19

3/6

Ethics in the Media

 Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 130-134

20

3/8

Media and Ideology
Media representations of society
Class and the media

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 151 -166Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 187-205
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 209-221

21

3/10

Video: “Mickey Mouse Monopoly

 

  3/13 - 3/17 Spring Break  

22

3/20

In-class writing assignment #2

 

23

3/22

Sexual difference and the media

 

24

3/24

Advertising and consumer culture

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 61-70
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 177 -182

25

3/27

Video: “Advertising and the End of the World”

 

26

3/29

Advertising Exercise: Magazines and Let’s make an ad

 

27

3/31

In-class writing assignment #3

 

28

4/3

Media Effects
Video: The Mean World Syndrome

 

29

4/5

Cultivation Theory

Croteau/Hoynes: page 240

30

4/7

Exam prep and review


31

4/10

EXAM 2

 

32

4/12

Globalization and Japan - What's the same in our media, what's different and why.
Internet participation in Japan
Japanese perception American TV

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 182 -185
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 254 -259
Croteau/Hoynes: page 308
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 342 -351
33

4/14

Exams returned and reviewed

 

34

4/17

Holiday – Patriot ’s Day
 

35

4/19

Video: “Toxic Sludge is Good For You

 

36

4/21

Discussion of video
Public Relations

 

37

4/24

Media and Social Movements

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 109-112
Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 241-243

38

4/26

Knowledge and Opinion (cont.)
Social Context of Media Use: Encoding/Decoding

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 265-274

39

4/28

In class writing assignment #4

 

40

5/1

Media Technology and Social Change
Children and Violence on TV

Croteau/Hoynes: pgs. 299-306

41

5/3

Internet Smarts

 

42

5/5

Internet Searches
Exam Prep

 

43

5/8

EXAM 3