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COM 250-04 (32075) / COM 250D-02I (32108) Mass Communication and Society
JOUR C200-04 (32076) / JOUR C200-05I (32107) Mass Communications
 Steven Alan Carr, Ph.D.
Summer II 2006

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 process-driven.  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 process goal of this course is to use existing communication technology in a way that extends public thinking and deliberation across time and space.  To that end, the class follows a model of deliberative public discussion.  According to the National Issues Forum, deliberation is not a debate, but a public way of thinking, making hard choices, and weighing consequences and trade-offs (http://www.nifi.org/).  Rather than being structured around lecture or discussion, this course requires students enrolled across face-to-face and Internet sections to collaborate through different means on a series of daily deliberative discussion modules.  Some of these deliberations will take place “asynchronously,” or in a way that allows students to leave messages for one another without having to meet in real time.  Other deliberations will take place “synchronously” using real-time videoconferencing software over the Internet.

 

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 (4) different sections of this course.  Two of these sections, COM 250-04 and JOUR C200-04, will meet face to face on campus in the same classroom at a scheduled time.  All sections ending with an ‘I’ are for students enrolled in an Internet section through Continuing Studies.  These sections attend class asynchronously and via synchronous video, and they must meet a series of ongoing deadlines to facilitate collaboration with face-to-face students.  Internet students also will be expected to make their own arrangements for a computer with reliable Internet access, a working web camera, and speakers and/or a headset.  If you sign up for the Internet section of this class, you are expected to be literate as well as resourceful in using the technology.  Due to the variety and complexity of hardware and software configurations, the instructor cannot guarantee technical assistance for off-campus computers.  Alternatively, Internet students are welcome to attend class in person.  However, keep in mind that each section of the class has different requirements.  If you wish to be assessed based on the requirements of a different section, you will need to go through drop-add and register for the appropriate section.

 

Course Requirements

Because this is a summer class that packs a 16-week course into 6 weeks, the assigned workload is extremely demanding.  The process followed generally will take the form of preparation; informed discussion; reporting results of significant choices and decisions made, and evaluation.  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.

 

Computers, web cameras, speakers, and headsets will be provided for face-to-face student teams in NF B88 for synchronous video teleconference meetings with Internet students.  Internet students are required to make their own reliable arrangements for using a computer with Internet access (broadband recommended), a web camera, a microphone, and a headset, and be prepared to begin all live meetings at the scheduled time.  Outside of class, all students are required to make reliable arrangements for using a computer with Internet access.

 

Almost 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 often will be in excess of 100 pages per week.  To show that you have prepared the reading, you also will take 15 quizzes worth 100 points each, due 12 PM Noon before class begins.  If you are in an Internet section, you also will contribute to the preparation phase on most days by examining your personal stake in a media-related issue via a set of posted responses.  These initial responses are worth 100 points each for an individual grade, with a maximum possible 700 points total toward your final grade.  Internet students will have nine (9) opportunities throughout the semester to complete these so-called “starters.”  If more than seven (7) are completed, only the 7 highest scores will count toward the final grade.  Face-to-face students will use these responses as part of their in-class deliberation.  If you are in a face-to-face section, you will be expected to read, print off, and bring this material to each class meeting.

 

In the discussion phase, daily meetings will examine the value of a particular issue, weigh costs and consequences with various options, consider potential conflicts, and explore opportunities for sharing common ground.  These meetings will take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 5:30 PM – 7:50 PM.  For most of the semester, face-to-face students in NF B88 will work in teams of 5-7 at this stage.  For face-to-face students, in-class contributions to all meetings during regularly-scheduled class time will form the basis of an individual, cumulative participation grade worth 500 points assessed at the end of the session.  For five (5) class meetings, however, all students will collaborate via video-conferencing software over the Internet in real time as the deliberation takes place.  The contributions of Internet students during these meetings will form the basis of an individual, cumulative participation grade worth 200 points assessed at the end of the session.

 

In the results phase, student groups will complete reports detailing choices, decisions, and outcomes made as a result of these discussions will be due once classtime has ended and before 12 PM on the day of the following regularly scheduled face-to-face class meeting.  The reports will be team-authored modules 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.  At the very least, each report must prominently and correctly display only the names of students who contributed to this report.  Significant contributions by individual team members should be noted within appropriate sections.  Each module should address the following questions: 1) What is valuable to us in this issue? 2) What are the various options available, and what are the costs or consequences associated with these options? 3) Where are the conflicts in this issue that we have to work through? and 4) can we detect any shared sense of direction or common ground for action (http://www.nifi.org)?  Each module will be assessed on the following basis: how well it draws upon input from all students involved in the collaboration; how resourceful the module is 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.  Reports are expected to go beyond simple rote learning and mindless repetition of factual knowledge.  Face-to-face students will develop ten (10) of these throughout the semester, worth 100 possible points each for a group grade, for a total of 1000 possible points.  Additionally, both face-to-face and Internet students will work on five (5) of these reports as a result of their real-time collaboration using video-conferencing software over the Internet.  These modules will be worth 100 possible points each for a group grade, for a total of 500 possible points.

 

Finally, students individually will evaluate posted modules.  These evaluations are due within a specified 24 hour window as marked on the schedule below.  For example, once a face-to-face group report is posted at 12 PM noon, evaluations from Internet students are due beginning 8 PM on the same day, and will be accepted for full credit until 8 PM on the following day.  For evaluations of reports completed through a video teleconference meeting, reports are due 12 PM on the following regularly-scheduled class meeting day, and will be accepted for full credit until 12 PM on the following day.  Evaluations by Internet students of face-to-face modules are worth 100 points each for an individual grade, with a maximum possible 600 points total toward your final grade.  Internet students will have ten (10) opportunities throughout the semester to complete these evaluations.  If more than six (6) are completed, only the 6 highest scores will count toward the final grade.

 

All students must evaluate all modules conducted via a video teleconference meeting.  These evaluations are worth 100 possible points each for an individual grade, for a total of 500 possible points.  You may evaluate any module other than the one on which you contributed.  Your evaluation should address these types of questions: 1) How has your thinking about the issue changed? 2) How has your thinking about other people’s views on this issue changed? 3) What didn’t get worked through in this module? 4) What still needs to be talked about that wasn’t addressed? 5) How can we use what was learned from this module? 6) What, if anything, should we do next? 7) What does this module say that is different from the usual debate on this issue (http://www.nifi.org)?  Evaluations will be assessed according to the criteria outlined the previous section.

 

All students may revise and resubmit an assignment for an individual grade, including any team assignments, if the following conditions are met: the module initially earned a grade of 60% or better; all initial due dates were met; the individual participated fully in the original stream of activity; and that all work is resubmitted in an appropriate area of the course, as instructed.  Because of the tight time frame of the course, feedback for all assignments will be limited to a numeric grade.  Students may request written feedback from the instructor in writing (email preferred) no later than Friday, 21 July 2006.  After that date, you still may revise and resubmit assignments up until the last regularly scheduled class meeting of the session (3 Aug 2006).  However, I cannot guarantee providing written feedback for any requests after 21 July but in time for revisions to be made before 3 Aug.

 

Assignments

Fifteen quizzes worth 100 points each for a total of 1500 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.

 

Face-to-face students will collaborate in face-to-face teams on ten (10) modules.  Internet students will evaluate any six (6) of these modules.  On days when face-to-face students develop modules, Internet students individually will provide seven (7) “starter” modules out of a possible nine (9) opportunities to help face-to-face students focus deliberation.  Additionally, all students will work collaboratively on five (5) modules.  All students will evaluate each of these modules.  You will not receive feedback on course modules (other than a grade) unless you specifically request it.

 

All students will be evaluated on participation during class meeting times.  For face-to-face students, participation is worth 500 points toward your final grade.  For Internet students, participation is worth 200 points.  For both sections, participation 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 encouraged 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 – and the more seriously I will consider the request.  You will not receive feedback on your participation unless you specifically request it.

 

Grading Scale

Assignment

Section

Unit

FTF Total

IS Total

Quizzes

All

100

1500

1500

Face-to-Face (FTF) Group Modules

FTF

100

1000

0

Individual Internet Student (IS) Evals of FTF Designed Modules
(10 possible; only 6 highest counted)

IS

100

0

600

IS Module Starters (9 possible; 7 highest counted)

IS

100

0

700

Collaborative Group Modules

ALL

100

500

500

Individual Evaluation of Collaborative Modules

ALL

100

500

500

Participation

ALL

varies

500

200

TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS

4000

4000

 

Breakdown of Points for Individual and Group Assignments

Assignment

FTF Individual

FTF Group

IS Individual

IS Group

Quizzes

1500

0

1500

0

FTF Group Modules

0

1000

0

0

IS Evals of FTF Group Modules

0

0

600

0

IS Module Starters

0

0

700

0

Collaborative Group Modules

0

500

0

500

Evals of Group Modules

500

0

500

0

Participation

500

0

200

0

SUBTOTALS

2500

1500

3500

500

 

Grading Scale

A

B

C

D

F

3600 – 4000

3200 – 3599

2800 – 3199

2400 – 2799

0 - 2399

 

 

Tentative Course Workflow

Date

All Students

Due 12 PM Noon

Face-to-Face Students (NF B88)

Internet Students

M 26 June

 

Introduction and Overview 5:30 - 7:50 PM via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250

T 27 June

Read Ch 1 Media and Culture

Quiz 1

Develop Media and Culture module in class

 

W 28 June

Last Day to Drop Course for Full Refund

R 29 June

Read Course Policies

Read Course Syllabus

Sign Course Agreement

Read Ch 2 Internet and New Technologies

Quiz 2

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Media and Culture module

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Media and Culture module

Develop Internet and New Technologies module 5:30 - 7:50 PM via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250

M 3 July

Post Internet and New Technologies Module

Read Ch 3 Sound Recording

Quiz 3

Develop Sound Recording module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Sound Recording starter

T 4 July

HOLIDAY BREAK – NO CLASS

R 6 July

Evaluate Internet and New Technologies module

Read Ch 4 Radio

Quiz 4

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Sound Recording module

Due 8 PM: Post Sound Recording evaluation

Develop Radio module via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250 5:30 - 7:50 PM

M 10 July

Post Radio Module

Read Ch 5 Television

Quiz 5

Develop Television module via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250 5:30 - 7:50 PM

T 11 July

Evaluate Radio Module

Post Television Module

Read Ch 6 Cable

Quiz 6

Develop Cable module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Cable starter

R 13 July

Evaluate Television Module

Read Ch 7 Movies

Quiz 7

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Cable module

Develop Movies module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Movies starter

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Cable module

M 17 July

Read Ch 8 Newspapers

Quiz 8

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Movies module

Develop Newspapers module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Newspaper starter

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Movies module

T 18 July

Read Ch 9 Magazines

Quiz 9

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Newspaper module

Develop Magazines module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Magazine starter

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Newspaper module

R 20 July

Read Ch 10 Books

Quiz 10

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Magazines module

Develop Books module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Books starter

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Magazines module

F 21 July

Last Day to Withdraw from Course

Last Day to Submit Work for Feedback from Instructor

M 24 July

Read Chs 11-12 Advertising and Public Relations

Quiz 11

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Books module

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Books module

Develop Advertising and Public Relations module 5:30 - 7:50 PM via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250

T 25 July

Post Advertising and Public Relations module

Read Ch 13 Media Economics

Quiz 12

Develop Economics and Globalization module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Economics and Globalization starter

R 27 July

Evaluate Advertising and Public Relations module

Read Ch 14 Media Ethics

Quiz 13

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Economics and Globalization module

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Economics and Globalization module

Develop Media Ethics module via http://breeze.itap.purdue.edu/com250 5:30 - 7:50 PM

M 31 July

Post Media Ethics module

Read Ch 15 Media Effects

Quiz 14

Develop Media Effects module in class

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Media Effects starter

T 1 Aug

Evaluate Media Ethics module

Read Ch 16

Quiz 15

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Media Effects module

Develop Media Regulation module

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Media Regulation starter

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Media Effects module

R 3 Aug

 

Due 12 PM Noon: Post Media Regulation module

Due 8 PM: Evaluate Media Regulation module (accepted by F 4 Aug 8 PM)

READING DAY – NO CLASS OR ONLINE MEETING

Due 8 PM: Online Course Evaluations and all Revise and Resubmits

 

i was saved from complete obsolescence on 25 june 2006 by carr@ipfw.edu