COM 250-02 (31278) / COM 250-04I (31807) Mass Communication and Society
JOUR C200-02 (31307) Mass Communications
Course Syllabus
Steven Alan Carr, Ph.D.
Summer II 2004

Course Content and Goals

This course surveys the rise of American mass media in its various formats, including electronic, recorded, broadcast, film, broadcast, and print.  This course will show how "the media" 1) refers to the plural of "medium"; 2) are complex, diverse, even contradictory, and hardly monolithic; 3) exist as a part of society, not in opposition to it; and 4) can operate as a business, as a conduit through which other social forces operate, and as a significant and influential cultural force in its own right.  Please note that the course is cross-listed with JOUR C200 Mass Communications, not JOUR J200 Writing for Mass Media.  Our goal is not to mimic, praise, or condemn the media, but to think critically about it – as cultural anthropologists might do when encountering a civilization other than their own.  Of course, our object of study is a familiar part of society that actively engages us, a condition that some might may say is more challenging than studying a culture different from our own.


Prerequisites and Intended Audience

There are no prerequisites for this course.  The intended audience consists of freshmen and sophomores.  The course fulfills Communication and Journalism major requirements, as well as General Education requirements for both majors and non-majors in Area III Culture and Society.  There are three different sections of this course.  Two of these sections, COM 250-02 and JOUR C200-02, will meet face to face on campus at a scheduled time.  The third section, COM 250-04I, is for students enrolled in an Internet section through Continuing Studies.  It does not meet face to face, but does require intensive online communication and a series of ongoing deadlines.  Students in all sections will be expected to collaborate on assignments.


Course Requirements

Because this is a summer class, the assigned workload is extremely heavy.  The normal schedule for reading assignments will be in excess of 100 pages per week.  Consequently, students' primary responsibility will be preparing for daily discussions of the readings.  To that end, there will be 16 quizzes worth 100 points each, due before 12:30 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  In addition, you will subscribe to a class listserv and participate in an online discussion with students in both the face-to-face and online sections of the course.  You will also be required to write a final, argument driven paper in which defend a position on a particular controversy concerning the media.  Finally, you will be assessed on the basis of participation.  For students in the face-to-face sections of the course, this participation will be assessed primarily on the basis of what you do during class.  For online students, this participation will be assessed primarily on the basis of what you do during online discussions.



Sixteen quizzes worth 100 points each for a total of 1600 points will be available by 8 AM on the date of an assigned reading, and due before 12:30 PM on that date.  Quizzes will consist of ten (10) multiple-choice questions.  You will take these quizzes online.  You may retake a quiz for a higher grade only if you score 60% or better on that quiz.


You must post 3-5 original online discussion questions worth 100 points each for a total of 1600 points on the class listserv no later than midnight on the date of an assigned reading.  You will not receive feedback from the instructor on these questions, unless specifically requested.  However, the questions will be assessed on the basis of being excellent, satisfactory, or poor.  You may not revise these questions.


You must write a final, argument-driven paper worth 400 points, and due by the last Thursday of Summer II.


Your participation is worth 400 points toward your final grade.  For students in the face-to-face section of the course, this participation will be assessed primarily on the basis of what you do during our scheduled class meeting.  You will not receive feedback on your participation unless specifically requested.  For online students only, this participation will be assessed on the basis of your response to the online discussion questions that are posed by your fellow class members.  These responses are due before 5 PM on the Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday following when the questions were posted on the listserv.  You will use the listserv to post your responses.  Your participation will be assessed on the basis of being excellent, satisfactory, or poor.  You may not revise your participation.


Grading Scale







Online Discussion Questions



Argument-Driven Paper















3600 – 4000

3200 – 3599

2800 – 3199

2400 – 2799

0 - 2399


Tentative Schedule




Mon, 28 June

Introduction and Overview

Read Course Policies and Syllabus

Sign Course Agreement

Sign Up for Class Listserv

Tue, 29 June

Media and Culture

Read Ch 1

Quiz 1

Post Ch 1 Discussion Questions

Wed, 30 June


Last Day to Drop Course for Full Refund

Thur, 1 July

Internet and New Technnologies

Read Ch 2

Quiz 2

Post Ch 2 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 1 Responses (online students only)

Mon, 5 July



Tue, 6 July

Sound Recording

Read Ch 3

Quiz 3

Post Ch 3 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 2 Responses (online students only)

Thu, 8 July


Read Ch 4

Quiz 4

Post Ch 4 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 3 Responses (online students only)

Mon, 12 July


Read Ch 5

Quiz 5

Post Ch 5 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 4 Responses (online students only)

Tue, 13 July


Read Ch 6

Quiz 6

Post Ch 6 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 5 Responses (online students only)

Thu, 15 July


Read Ch 7

Quiz 7

Post Ch 7 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 6 Responses (online students only)

Mon, 19 July


Read Ch 8

Quiz 8

Post Ch 8 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 7 Responses (online students only)

Tue, 20 July


Read Ch 9

Quiz 9

Post Ch 9 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 8 Responses (online students only)

Thu, 22 July


Read Ch 10

Quiz 10

Post Ch 10 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 9 Responses (online students only)

Fri, 23 July


Last Day to Withdraw from Course

Mon, 26 July


Read Ch 11

Quiz 11

Post Ch 11 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 10 Responses (online students only)

Tue, 27 July

Public Relations

Read Ch 12

Quiz 12

Post Ch 12 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 11 Responses (online students only)

Thu, 29 July

Economics and Globalization

Read Ch 13

Quiz 13

Post Ch 13 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 12 Responses (online students only)

Mon, 2 Aug

Media Ethics

Read Ch 14

Quiz 14

Post Ch 14 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 13 Responses (online students only)

Tue, 3 Aug

Media Effects

Read Ch 15

Quiz 15

Post Chs 15-16 Discussion Questions

Post Ch 14 Responses (online students only)

Thu, 5 Aug

Media Regulation

Read Ch 16

Quiz 16

Post Chs 15-16 Responses (online students only)

Final Paper Due

All Revise and Resubmits Due