COM 250 -02 (23066) and -03 (21286) Introduction to Electronic Mass Media
Steven Alan Carr, Ph.D.
Course Syllabus
Fall 2004

Course Content and Goals

Building upon COM 250, this course teaches you how to become literate in the analysis of mediated texts, and how mediated representations create meaning.  Thus, the course objective is for you to demonstrate literacy in analyzing the techniques and various codes used in mediated texts.

Prerequisites and Intended Audience

Although there are no prerequisites for this course, it is assumed that students have taken or are currently enrolled in COM 250 Mass Communication and Society. The intended audience consists of freshmen and sophomore Communication majors in the Media and Public degree track, as well as anyone seeking General Education credit in Area IV Humanistic Thought.


The required reading for this course, on DVD-ROM, will be James Monaco’s How to Read a Film: Text and DVD.  This is a DVD-ROM bundled with a book.  Since some people prefer to read from a bound volume, the book is provided for your convenience.  However, you are responsible for all material for each assigned reading included in the DVD-ROM.  This includes any pictures, diagrams, audio, and video.  For additional readings available on the DVD-ROM, you are responsible only for those listed in the course schedule below.  Please check for information on where to purchase, how much this item typically costs, the minimum requirements for your computer, and other questions you might have.  An order for the bundled DVD and book was placed with Follett’s on 17 Oct 2004.


You are responsible for making arrangements to access the DVD-ROM on a computer that has a working DVD drive.  DVD drives have been installed in the NF B73 computer lab.

Course Requirements

The normal schedule for reading assignments will be between 30-60 pages per week. Consequently, one of your primary responsibilities will be to prepare for each week’s reading by completing assigned readings before Tuesday’s class meeting. To that end, there will be fifteen (15) online quizzes worth 100 points each, due before class on the assigned date at 12 PM noon. In addition, you will subscribe to a class listserv (further instructions will be provided). You should check both your email and WebCT on a daily basis for important course announcements. You will participate in ten (10) online discussions worth 100 points each. You will take a midterm and a final. You will be required to write a final, argument driven paper defending your analysis of a particular mediated text. Finally, your participation will be assessed, primarily on the basis of what you do during the scheduled class meeting time, but in general on the basis of what you do as a stakeholder to help make this class a success.


No incompletes will be given for this course, except in extreme circumstances. If an extreme circumstance does arise, however, you are urged to notify the instructor and propose a workable solution as soon as possible. A workable solution in this case, of course, would include the possibility of an incomplete.


It is expected that all work submitted is the original work prepared specifically for this course by the student whose name appears on it.


Fifteen (15) online quizzes worth 100 points each for a total of 1500 points will be available for a 24 hour window before the date of an assigned reading, and due before 12 PM (noon) on that date. You may use your textbook and notes, but you will have a maximum of 30 minutes to take each quiz. Quizzes will consist of ten (10) multiple-choice questions. You will take these quizzes online. Once you open the quiz and see the questions, you must answer at least 6 questions correctly on that quiz in order to be eligible to retake it. You may print off the quiz.  However, if you print a hard copy of the quiz to study with it and you do not complete the quiz within 30 minutes, you will receive a grade of zero and you will not have the opportunity for a retake.


Ten (10) times throughout the semester, you must post 3-5 discussion questions either on WebCT or via some other venue announced in advance by the instructor. Each submission is worth 100 points for a total of 1000 points and is due no later than midnight on the date of an assigned reading. You will not receive written feedback from the instructor on these questions, unless specifically requested. The questions will be assessed on the basis of being excellent, satisfactory, or poor. You may not revise these questions once they have been submitted.


You will take a midterm and a non-comprehensive final. Both the midterm and final will build upon readings, questions that appear on the quizzes, on online discussion questions, and on issues raised in class discussion. Both the midterm and the final each will count 500 possible points toward your final grade.


You must write a final, argument-driven analysis paper worth 500 points.  This paper will be submitted in parts - including a proposal, a rough draft, a peer review of another paper, and a final draft - at various intervals throughout the semester.


Your participation is worth 1000 points toward your final grade. This participation will be assessed primarily, though not exclusively, on the basis of what you do during our scheduled class meetings. You will not receive feedback on your participation unless specifically requested. The burden of proof is on you to maintain detailed, accurate, and clearly presented records of your contributions to the success of the class. Although you are not required to do so, you are strongly encouraged to maintain evidence of these contributions throughout the semester. This data can include evidence of preparation (such as detailed, original notes), letters of support from other students, written self-evaluations of your performance, etc. Should a difference of opinion arise with regard to the level of your performance, you will be asked to produce these records upon request.


Your final grade will be determined based on the following criteria:

Fifteen (15) Quizzes @ 100 pts ea

1500 points (30%)

Tue before noon (unless otherwise noted)

Ten (10) Discussion Question Posts @ 100 pts ea

1000 points (20%)

Tue before midnight (unless otherwise noted)

Midterm Exam

500 points (10%)

Thu 17 Mar

Final Argument-Driven Analysis Paper

500 points (10%)

R 27 Jan; R 7 Apr; T 14 Apr; R 28 Apr

Final Exam

500 points (10%)

See schedule


1000 points (20%)



5000 points (100%)




(Above Average)


(Below Average, But Passable)






0 - 2999


Tentative Course Schedule





T 11 Jan

Course Introduction


The Moving Image as Media

R 13 Jan

Electronic Media

M Ch 6 to “Television”

Quiz 1

T 18 Jan

Television and Video

M Ch 6 “Television” to end; Williams, Winn

Quiz 2 and DQ 1

R 20 Jan

Television and Video


T 25 Jan


M Ch 7

Quiz 3

R 27 Jan

In-Class Workshop

Analysis Paper Proposal and Abstract

The Moving Image and the Traditional Arts

T 1 Feb

Defining Art and Perception of Art

M Ch 1 “Nature of Art,” “Ways of Looking at Art,” Williams, Aristotle, Sontag, Horace

Quiz 4 and DQ 2

R 3 Feb

Defining Art and Perception of Art


T 8 Feb

Moving Image as Art Form

M Ch 1 “Film, Recording, and Other Arts” and “Structure of Art”

Quiz 5 and DQ 3

R 10 Feb

Moving Image as Art Form


The Technology of the Moving Image

T 15 Feb

Lens and Camera

M Ch 2 “Art and Technology,” “The Lens,” and “The Camera”

Quiz 6 and DQ 4

R 17 Feb

Lens and Camera


T 22 Feb

Photographic Image and Sound

M Ch 2 “Filmstock,” “Soundtrack,” “Post-Production,” “Video and Film,” and “Projection”

Quiz 7 and DQ 5

R 24 Feb

Photographic Image and Sound



T 1 Mar


M Ch 3 “Signs,” Metz readings, Barthes

Quiz 8 and DQ 6

R 3 Mar



T 8 Mar


R 10 Mar

T 15 Mar

Formalism and Mise-en-Scene

M Ch 3 “Syntax,” Godard, Pudovkin, Eisenstein

Quiz 9

R 17 Mar


F 18 Mar

Last Day to Withdraw

Historical and Cultural Approaches to Interpretation

T 22 Mar

Social History Approaches

M Ch 4 “Movies/Film/Cinema,” “’Movies’: Economics,” Berg, and Bach

Quiz 10 and DQ 7

R 24 Mar

Social History Approaches


T 29 Mar


M Ch 4 “’Film’: Politics,” Dyer, Sarris. “Towards a Third Cinema”

Quiz 11 and DQ 8

R 31 Mar



T 5 Apr

Film Styles

M Ch 4 “’Cinema’: Esthetics” to “New Wave,” DeMille, Ramsaye

Quiz 12

R 7 Apr

In-Class Workshop

Analysis Rough Draft

T 12 Apr

Global Influences

M Ch 4 “New Wave” to end

Quiz 13

R 14 Apr

In-Class Workshop

Rough Draft Peer Review

Theories of the Moving Image

T 19 Apr

Expressionism and Realism

M Ch 5 to “Montage,” Andrew, Arnheim, Kracauer

Quiz 14 and DQ 9

R 21 Apr

Expressionism and Realism


T 26 Apr

Montage, Neorealism, and Contemporary Theory

M Ch 5 “Montage” to end, Eisenstein, Balazs, Bazin “Ontology,” Horkheimer and Adorno

Quiz 15 and DQ 10

R 28 Apr


Final Analysis Paper

All Retakes and Resubmits

T 3 May

Section 02 Scheduled Final Exam 1-3 PM


R 5 May

Section 03 Scheduled Final Exam 4-6 PM