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COM 250-02 (31240) / COM 250D-05I (31845) / COM 250D-05X (32345) Mass Communication and Society
JOUR C200-02 (31265) / JOUR C200-05I (31846) Mass Communications
 Steven Alan Carr, Ph.D.
Summer II 2005

Course Syllabus

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.  It has two goals: one content-driven, and the other practical.  The content goal of this course is to 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.  Our goal is not to imitate, worship, or condemn the media, but to think critically about it – as a cultural anthropologist might do when encountering a civilization other than ones own.  Of course, our object of study is a familiar part of society that actively engages us, a circumstance arguably more challenging than studying a culture different from ones own.


The practical goal of this course is to get you to use existing communication technology in a way that extends our thinking and learning across time and space.  To that end, the class will not be devoted to lecture or discussion.  Rather, for students meeting face-to-face, class time will be conducted as collaborative workshops, where teams of students will apply textbook knowledge to design online course modules.  Students registered for the course via the Internet also will collaborate in planning, developing, testing, and evaluating these modules.  All students still will be expected to prepare readings and take daily quizzes to show what has been learned, but in practice, this practical goal presents us with a challenge: can we use mediated technology to disseminate knowledge effectively?


Prerequisites and Intended Audience

There are no prerequisites for this course.  Please note that COM 250 is cross-listed with JOUR C200 Mass Communications, not JOUR J200 Writing for Mass Media.  The intended audience consists of freshmen and sophomores.  The course fulfills Communication major requirements, Journalism minor requirements, as well as IPFW General Education requirements for both majors and non-majors in Area III Culture and Society.  There are five (5) different sections of this course.  Two of these sections, COM 250-02 and JOUR C200-02, will meet face to face on campus in the same classroom at a scheduled time.  All sections ending with a ‘D’ or an ‘X’ are for students enrolled in an Internet section through Continuing Studies.  These sections do not meet face to face, but do require intensive online communication and a series of ongoing deadlines linked to when the course meets face-to-face.  Students in all sections will be expected to collaborate on assignments with students in a section other than their own.


Course Requirements

Because this is a summer class that packs a 16-week course into 6 weeks, the assigned workload is extremely heavy.  Students typically will be involved in 4 streams of activity on a daily basis: preparation; face-to-face planning and development; products and outcomes from face-to-face meetings; and Internet testing and redesign.  Each of these activities is dependent on one another, though at any given time, multiple streams of activity might take place simultaneously by students in different sections of the class.


All activities related to preparation will be due before 12 PM Noon on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  By this time, all students will be expected to prepare assigned readings and complete comprehension quizzes.  Keep in mind that the normal schedule for reading assignments may be in excess of 100 pages per week.  To show that you have prepared the reading, you also will take 16 quizzes worth 100 points each.  If you are in an Internet section, your preparation also will be to give face-to-face students guidance on developing online course modules based on the assigned reading for that day.  The guidance offered by students taking the class via the Internet will contribute to an individual, cumulative participation grade worth 600 points for online students only, assessed at the end of the session.  If you are in a face-to-face section, you will be expected to print off and bring this material to each class meeting.


In the planning and development phase, daily face-to-face class meetings will refine and build upon initial ideas offered by students enrolled in the Internet section.  Although face-to-face students will work in pre-selected teams of 5-7 at this stage, this activity will form the basis of an individual, cumulative participation grade worth 600 points for the face-to-face students only, assessed at the end of the session.


All online modules developed as products and outcomes of face-to-face meetings will be due before 3 PM at the end of class on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  The modules will be team-authored and will earn one grade for all team members, worth 100 points per module.  All team members are asked to uphold the Honors Code in truthfully maintaining the highest standards of academic and personal integrity in earning this grade.  Each module will be assessed on the following basis: how well it draws upon input from students taking the class over the Internet; how resourceful the module in going beyond the text but nonetheless building on its main ideas; on the substance of its idea or ideas raised; and on how it encourages both quantity and quality of participation of those enrolled in the Internet section.  Modules are expected to go beyond simple rote learning and mindless repetition of factual knowledge.  Therefore, please refrain from designing quizzes, crosswords, and other superficial assignments.  Although you are encouraged to be creative, the module must operate within the following, negligible parameters: it must be do-able within a 24 hour time frame; it must be asynchronous in that different people can do it at different times; it must begin and end in WebCT; its results must exist in a tangible form that everyone in the class easily can access; and, it can be completed without the intervention of the instructor.


Finally, students enrolled in the course via the Internet, individually and in pre-selected teams of 5-7, will test and redesign modules within specified windows.  By 3 PM on the Tuesday, Thursday, or Monday following a regularly scheduled class meeting, individual students enrolled via the Internet will test as many of these modules as possible.  Although Internet students are not expected to test all of the modules, the activity at this stage will be assessed on the basis of both quality and quantity, and this assessment will contribute to the individual, cumulative participation grade.  Then, by no later than 3 PM on Thursday, Monday, or Tuesday following a regularly scheduled class meeting, pre-selected teams of 5-7 Internet students will complete an evaluation and redesign of a single module of the team’s choosing.  Each teams will select a module for evaluation and redesign on a first-come, first-served basis. The evaluation and redesign will be team-authored and will earn one grade for all team members.  All team members are asked to uphold the Honors Code in truthfully maintaining the highest standards of academic and personal integrity in earning this grade.


All students may revise and resubmit an online course module for an individual grade that replaces a team grade if the following conditions are met: the module earned a grade of 60% or better; the team met all due dates; the individual participated fully in the original stream of activity for the module; and the revision is resubmitted in the appropriate area of the course no later than the last Thursday of Summer II.



Sixteen quizzes worth 100 points each for a total of 1600 points will be available no later than 24 hours before it is due, which typically will be 12 PM noon on the date of an assigned reading.  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 will collaborate with other students in both the face-to-face and online sections of the course in developing and evaluating sixteen online course modules worth 100 points each for a total of 1600 points.  Building upon the topic of an assigned reading, the modules will be developed in face-to-face class meetings with input from students enrolled via the Internet and posted on WebCT at the end of each face-to-face meeting.  Internet students will “pilot,” evaluate, and redesign these modules within 48 hours of being posted on WebCT.  Individuals may revise and resubmit for an individual grade that replaces a team grade under certain conditions.  You will not receive feedback on course modules (other than a grade) unless you specifically request it.


You will write a final, argument-driven paper worth 300 points, submitted in parts throughout the semester, and due in final draft form by the last Thursday of Summer II.


Your participation is worth 600 points toward your final grade, and will be assessed on the basis of being excellent, satisfactory, or poor.  Because participation is assessed on an ongoing basis, you may not revise, make up, or conduct extra credit activities for your participation.  You are invited and welcome to initiate a discussion regarding the quality of your feedback.  The earlier in the semester you initiate this conversation, the more likely you will be able to tailor your participation to meet the requirements for this course.  You will not receive feedback on your participation unless you specifically request it.  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. For online students, this participation will be assessed on the basis of your responses to the online activities conducted on WebCT.


Grading Scale







Online Course Modules



Argument-Driven Paper















3600 – 4000

3200 – 3599

2800 – 3199

2400 – 2799

0 - 2399


Tentative Course Workflow



Due 12 PM Noon

In-Class Topic/Module

Due 3 PM

Internet Evaluate/Redesign

Due 3 PM

Mon, 27 June


Introduction and Overview

(no module due)


Tue, 28 June

Read Course Policies

Read Course Syllabus

Sign Course Agreement

Read Ch 1

Quiz 1

Input for Ch 1 module

Unless otherwise noted, Internet students must post; face-to-face students must print and bring to class

Media and Culture module


Wed, 29 June

Last Day to Drop Course for Full Refund

Thu, 30 June

Read Ch 2

Quiz 2

Input for Ch 2 module

Internet and New Technologies module

Intro and Overview module

Mon, 4 July


Tue, 5 July

Read Ch 3

Quiz 3

Input for Ch 3 module

Sound Recording module

Media and Culture module

Thu, 7 July

Read Ch 4

Quiz 4

Input for Ch 4 module

Paper Topic, Thesis, and Supporting Topic Sentences (100 pts)

Radio module

Internet and New Technology module

Mon, 11 July

Read Ch 5

Quiz 5

Input for Ch 5 module

Television module

Sound Recording module

Tue, 12 July

Read Ch 6

Quiz 6

Input for Ch 6 module

Cable module

Radio module

Thu, 14 July

Read Ch 7

Quiz 7

Input for Ch 7 module

Movies module

Television module

Mon, 18 July

Read Ch 8

Quiz 8

Input for Ch 8 module

Newspapers module

Cable module

Tue, 19 July

Read Ch 9

Quiz 9

Input for Ch 9 module

Magazines module

Movies module

Thu, 21 July

Read Ch 10

Quiz 10

Input for Ch 10 module

Paper Sample Paragraph (Topic Sentence with Supporting Claims and Citations)

Books module

Newspapers module

Fri, 22 July

Last Day to Withdraw from Course

Mon, 25 July

Read Ch 11

Quiz 11

Input for Ch 11 module

Advertising module

Magazines module

Tue, 26 July

Read Ch 12

Quiz 12

Input for Ch 12 module

Public Relations module

Books module

Thu, 28 July

Read Ch 13

Quiz 13

Input for Ch 13 module

Economics and Globalization module

Advertising module

Mon, 1 Aug

Read Chs 14-15

Quiz 14-15

Input for Ch 14-15 module

Media Ethics and Effects module

Public Relations module

Tue, 2 Aug

Read Ch 16

Quiz 16

Input for Ch 16 module

Media Regulation module

Economics and Globalization module

Thu, 4 Aug

Final Draft of Paper

All Revise and Resubmits


Course Evaluations

Individual Consultations

(no module due)

Media Ethics and Effects module or Media Regulation module (choose one)


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