Syllabus

Fall 2013

Introduction to Mass Communication

MCOM101

 

JoAnne C. Broadwater

Visiting Instructor  

Towson University

Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

 

Course Description: “Issues, theories and structures of mass communication and careers in the mass media” (Towson University Undergraduate Catalog).

This course is designed to introduce you to the history, models, theories, concepts and terminology of mass communication, specifically focusing on journalism, advertising and public relations. It will enable you to understand the complex interactions between media and society, and think critically about the ways in which mass media inform our everyday lives. It will introduce you to mass communication theories and concepts to help explain and/or predict causes and effects of mass communication. It will also introduce you to the various careers in mass media to help prepare you for the professions.

Please note that students may not attempt a course for the third time without prior permission from the Academic Standards Committee. Information regarding this policy may be obtained through Enrollment Services.

Course Objectives: After successfully completing the course, you will be able to:

§     Understand the history and development of mass communication;

§     Identify major technological developments in modern mass communication;

§     Describe how basic concepts of media law and ethics are applied;

§     Use the vocabulary of mass communication to effectively communicate key concepts;

§     Think critically about the mass media as an integral part of our culture;

§     Recognize the effects of mass media upon society;

§     Apply prominent theories to explain and/or predict effects of mass media;

§     Understand the complex role media economics play in shaping media practices and consumption;

§     Understand key developments in media ownership and their impact on democracy;

§     Become a better citizen and discerning media consumer;

§     Describe typical careers in various mass media fields; and

§     Have a clearer idea of your aptitude for a career in the field of mass communication.

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

DO NOT PURCHASE MEDIA AND CULTURE!!! The following is required material for the course:

Required textbook

  • Media Essentials: A Brief Introduction, second editionby Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin and Bettina Fabos. (Bedford/St. Martin’s).
  • One (1) three-tab folder (fill with 8 ½ X 11 lined looseleaf paper for an in-class journal)

 

 

 

GRADING

 

Grading Distribution: Your final grade will be based upon a 1000 point system.  Please note that the instructor reserves the right to raise or lower your grade by five percent based upon factors which may include attendance, effort and professionalism.

Exams:                                     600 points

Research Assignment/Speech:  300 points

Journal                                       100  points

940-1000 points            = A

900-939 points              = A-

870-899 points              = B+

840-869 points              = B

800-839 points              = B-

770-799 points              = C+

700-769 points              = C

670-699 points             = D+

600-669 points             = D

0-599 points                  = F

Administrative failure  = FX

Examinations (600 points): There will be three exams given during the semester.  Each will be worth 200 points.

Research Assignment/Speech (300 points):  Each student will be expected to complete a two (2) part research project which will include one (1) written paper and one (1) oral presentation on a media topic assigned by the instructor.  Each student will receive a different topic and a different due date.  These due dates will begin about one month into the semester and continue for about two (2) months.  Each student will prepare a Powerpoint presentation for his/her speech and email a copy of the presentation to the instructor on the day before his/her scheduled presentation. Any evidence of the “cut and paste” method in the Powerpoint slides will result in an automatic zero (0) for the speech portion of the project.  The written portion of the project—which must use APA citation format—will be due on the same day. Detailed instructions on this assignment will be posted on the course website.

Journal (100 points) Students will be expected to write a coherent entry for each speech that a classmate presents. The entries will be written immediately after the presentation during class time.  The journal must be neat and tidy and may be typed outside of class if you like.  The journal will be collected immediately after the last speech is given.  You will have time to write the final entry in the same class.

CALENDAR:

Aug 28, Sept. 4: Read Chapter 1. Change of schedule period ends Fri, Sept. 6.

 

Sept 9, 11: Read Ch. 9.

 

Sept 16, 18: Read Ch. 15

 

Sept 18: 4-6 p.m. Mass Comm and Comm Studies Student Faculty Kick-off Event UU Chesapeake Rooms.  A fun social event!

 

Sept, 23, 25 Study for Exam #1

 

 

Sept 30, Oct 2: Exam #1 Ch 1, 9, 15 on Wednesday, Oct. 2

 

Oct 7, 9: Begin student speeches/research assignments. Read Ch. 11.

 

Oct 14, 16:  Read Ch. 12

 

Oct 21, 23: Study for Exam #2.

 

Oct 28, 30: Exam #2 Ch. 11, 12 on Wed., Oct. 30. 

 

Nov 4, 6: Read Ch. 2. Last day to withdraw is Nov. 6.

 

Nov 11, 13: Read Ch. 3

 

Nov 18, 20:  Read Ch 13.

 

Nov 25: Class. Read Ch. 4

 

Nov 27-Dec 1: Thanksgiving break

 

Dec 2, 4 Read Ch. 14. Last day of speeches Dec. 2.  First Amendment day Dec. 4.

 

Dec 9,11:  Study for Final Exam #3  Ch 2, 3, 4, 13, 14.  Dec 11 is last day of classes

 

Dec 12-18: Final exam period

 

MCOM101  FINAL EXAM WED, DEC 18 12:30 p.m.

 

CLASS RULES AND POLICIES

Attendance policy:

  • Five (5) absences will result in an F for the course regardless of your other performance in the course.  In this situation, you are advised to drop the class.
  • Two latenesses equal one absence.
  • The University attendance policy in the Towson University Undergraduate Catalog states:  Absences will only be excused if you: (1) have an illness or injury precluding you from attending class; (2) observe a religious holiday that prevents you from class attendance; (3) are required to participate in a university activity by a recognized authority; or (4) experience a compelling, verifiable emergency beyond your control.
    • Acceptable written documentation must be provided to verify the reason for your absence. Examples: physician’s note, traffic accident report, court summons, hospital bill, death notices, obituaries.  Providing documentation does not guarantee an absence will be excused.
    • If you know that you are going to be absent on a particular day or days, you must turn in any assignment due during that time period AHEAD OF TIME.

 

If you miss class, it is your responsibility to catch up by contacting a student in the class.

  • Exchange numbers with someone on the first day.

Students must be present, completely—not partially–prepared and must participate completely on the day of any in-class workshop activities to receive points.

  • MCOM257, 356 and 358 are often conducted as graded workshops.
  • Student/instructor meetings, peer editing and in-class writing and research must be done in the scheduled class time for students to receive workshop points.
  • No work done outside class will receive workshop points.
  • Graded workshops may be held on any day, without announcement.

Do not use any form of technology in class unless instructed to do so.

  • Keep computer screens black and cell phones off.
  • For each infraction, one point will be deducted from your final grade.
  • No recording devices of any type may be used before, during or after class without the express permission of the instructor.

Check the online site for this course along with your TU email daily.

  • The university requires all students to use their official Towson email.

Turn in assignments at the beginning of class, on or before the due date.

  • No late papers will be accepted.
  • If an emergency prevents you from getting to class, email it to me by the beginning of class so that I know you finished it on time.
  • Bring a printout to me on the day that you return to class, along with documentation of the emergency.  If you do not do both, you will receive a zero (0).

Take all exams/quizzes on the scheduled date.

  • No make-ups unless the absence is excused.
  • No absence will be excused without written documentation.
  • Be prepared to make up the exam on the day of your return or you will forfeit your right to make-up the work.

.

Pop quizzes may be given at any time.

  • No make-ups.

Students will be expected to master software skills outside of class.  

  • Basic instruction during class will be limited.
  • Late, substandard or incomplete work will be penalized with lower grades.

Sign the instructor’s dated register when you turn in any assignment.

Printout a rubric from the instructor’s website for all writing assignments and staple to the front. 

Policy for Student Athletes/University Activities Participants: Provide a letter from your coach with a schedule of games/competitions during the semester. Take any tests and prepare any assignments that conflict with this schedule before the test or due date, not after.   Provide a Notification of Absence from Class Form for every absence throughout the semester.

Policy for Students with Disabilities: Individuals with physical, psychological or learning disabilities must be registered with the Disability Support Services Office (410/704-2638) to receive auxiliary aids and services and reasonable accommodations. It is strongly recommended that students with disabilities contact me early in the semester to discuss and arrange accommodations. “Students who suspect they have a disability but do not have documentation are encouraged to contact DSS for advice on how to obtain an appropriate evaluation,” as stated in the Towson University Undergraduate Catalog.

Students are expected to exhibit civil behavior in class. 

  • The College of Fine Arts and Communication has instituted a civility code which students are required to follow.
  •  Students must leave the classroom and take an unexcused absence if they do not behave in a civil manner.
  • When students’ behaviors become disruptive to class, faculty have the authority to remove students from class.  Students will not be allowed to make up the rest of that semester’s coursework.  If the incident occurs before the final withdrawal period, students must withdraw themselves.  If the withdrawal period has expired, students will receive either an FX or the earned grade.  Depending on the nature and level of disruptive behaviors, the faculty may report students to the Student Affairs Office or Judicial Affairs.  The faculty may also call the University Police immediately if there are threats of imminent physical injury or danger to the faculty or to other students in class.
  • Examples: unnecessary talking, using the computer or cell phone in class, arguing with the instructor, talking disrespectfully to the instructor or other students before, during or after class, sleeping, typing assignments for other classes or typing for any reason other than assigned classwork, chronic lateness.

COFAC CIVILITY CODE

  • All College of Fine Arts & Communication Studies students, staff, and faculty are committed to collegial and academic citizenship demonstrating high standards of humane, ethical, professional, and civil behavior in all interactions.
  • We must take responsibility for the relationship between our personal conduct and the quality of campus life. What we do and say always has an effect on others, whether we see it or not. Civility means more than respecting campus facilities and grounds. Civility means consistently treating people with consideration and respect. It means being courteous, polite, and fair. It means recognizing diversity and honoring differing points of view. When our behavior is guided by concern for others in our community, we are being civil. Practicing civility requires thoughtful behavior and checking our assumptions and perceptions of others’ race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, abilities, culture, belief systems and economic status.
  • Civility Code: COFAC places a priority on learning. We value the inherent worth and dignity of every person, thereby fostering a community of mutual respect. Students have the right to a learning environment free of disruptive behaviors and offensive comments. Faculty have the right to define appropriate behavioral expectations in the classroom and expect students to abide by them. Faculty have the responsibility to manage and address classroom disruption. Staff have the right and responsibility to define appropriate behaviors necessary to conduct any university activity free of disruption or obstruction.
  • We believe that in order to achieve these ideals, all COFAC students, staff, and faculty are expected to exhibit and practice civil behaviors that exemplify: (1) respecting faculty, staff, fellow students, guests, and all university property, policies, rules and regulations; (2) taking responsibility for one’s choices, actions and comments; (3) delivering correspondence – whether verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic – with respectful language using professional writing standards and etiquette; and (4) accepting consequences of one’s choices and actions.
  • The use of offensive, threatening or abusive language, writing, or behavior will not be tolerated and can lead to academic dismissal. Further information about civility can be found in Appendix F of the university catalog.
  • Examples demonstrating civility in the classroom as a student include:
    • Being respectful of the professor and other students.
    • Not texting or using cellular phones and other electronic devices.
    • Not using your laptop for activities other than class work.
    • Not eating or drinking in class.
    • Not reading newspapers or listening to music during the class.
    • Not sleeping in class.
  • Examples demonstrating civility in the classroom as a faculty member include:
    • Being respectful of the students.
    • Attempting to understand individual student needs and learning styles.
    • Discussing civil behavioral expectations during the first class.
    • Taking time to talk with students whose behaviors negatively affect the classroom.
    • Encouraging students to follow your civil behavior.

Policy on Plagiarism/Academic Dishonesty:

  • Plagiarism, cheating and/or fabrication will not be tolerated and will carry serious consequences.
  • Students will be prosecuted to the full extent that the policy allows, which can include failure for the assignment, failure in the course and a referral to Judicial Affairs.
  • For further information, consult the Towson University Undergraduate Catalog  and the departmental policy on plagiarism and cheating that is also attached to this syllabus.
  • Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:
    • Writing stories from online sources.  Journalism, by definition, is based upon in-person or telephone interviews with real people who are experts in a field. You, your family and friends are not legitimate sources/experts.
    • Not doing original research
    • Copying a classmate’s assignment
    • Failing to attribute information to the appropriate source
    • Recycling material or assignments from concurrent or previous courses
    • Using other people’s reporting notes or a recording (You may, however, double check the accuracy of your facts and quotes with other reporters who attended the same interview or event.)
    • Using sentences or paragraphs from other people’s stories or writing without giving credit
    • Turning in someone else’s story and pretending it is yours
    • Fabrication:
      • Making up direct or indirect quotes in stories. Quoted material should be what a real person actually said to you.
      • Making up people, events, or facts in a story.
      • Making up an entire story from an event that never happened.
      • Making up a story from an event or interview you attended in the past. You must represent the information in a story accurately.
      • Making up a story from other people’s notes or other people’s accounts of an event.
    • If there is any dispute about whether the offense occurred, the case will be referred to a disciplinary hearing.

Provide the instructor with contact information for all sources used in each news story.

  • This will enable the instructor to contact the sources to confirm the authenticity and originality of students’ work.

In all assignments, students must comply with all laws and the legal rights of others (e.g., copyright, obscenity, privacy and defamation) and with all Towson University policies (e.g. academic dishonesty).  Towson University is not liable or responsible for the content of any student assignments, regardless of where they are posted. 

 

University Weapons Policy: Weapons are prohibited on campus.  Details provided at the following link: http://inside.towson.edu/generalcampus/tupolicies/documents/06-01.11%20Weapons%20Prohibited.pdf

 

 

The course may change based on the speed that a given class is advancing or on the judgment of the instructor that an alternate method may allow learning at the current or at a superior rate.

 

 

 

GRADING

 

Grading Distribution: Your final grade will be based upon a 1000 point system.  Please note that the instructor reserves the right to raise or lower your grade by five percent based upon factors which may include attendance, effort and professionalism.

940-1000 points            = A

900-939 points              = A-

870-899 points              = B+

840-869 points              = B

800-839 points              = B-

770-799 points              = C+

700-769 points              = C

670-699 points             = D+

600-669 points             = D

0-599 points                 = F

Administrative failure  = FX

Grading Criteria: The following criteria will determine the grade you receive on individual assignments, as well as the overall grade you receive for the course.

 

90%-100% (A, A-) (Ö++): The work meets and exceeds assignment objectives. It is exceptionally clear, well done, thorough and free of errors. It is organized well and contains effective transitions, quotations, citations, descriptions and anecdotes, as appropriate. It also is an effective discussion of the topic. All of the information contained within is based completely upon interviews with experts based upon the instructor’s definition of expert.  You do not know the individuals you have interviewed in my writing skills classes.  In terms of the course, this means you have almost perfect attendance, scores in this range on assignments and tests and that you make constructive, insightful contributions to class discussion.

80%-89% (B+, B, B-) (Ö+): The work meets assignment objectives, and is adequate but not exceptional. It is well organized, with appropriate citation usage. However, the assignment contains a few minor errors and might be more interesting, thorough or cohesive. All of the information contained within is based completely upon interviews with experts based upon the instructor’s definition of expert. You do not know the individuals you have interviewed in writing skills classes. In terms of the course, this means you have good attendance, scores in this range on the assignments and tests, and make constructive, insightful contributions to class discussion.

70%-79% (C+, C) (Ö): The work minimally meets assignment objectives; however, it may omit important information or require extensive editing. The assignment may be disorganized, and/or contain several minor errors. Some sentences may be, for instance, vague, complicated and use passive rather than active verbs. Some sentences may have to be rewritten because they are awkward, wordy, or confusing. Citations are used, but may be used inappropriately or inadequately.  All of the information contained within is based completely upon interviews with experts based upon the instructor’s definition of expert.  You do not know the individuals you have interviewed in writing skills classes.  In terms of the course, this means you have poor attendance, scored in this range on the assignments and tests, and have not participated in class discussions.

60%-69% (D+, D) (Ö-): The work does not meet assignment guidelines and is superficial, confusing or requires extensive rewriting. It also may contain an unacceptable number of punctuation, spelling, and/or grammatical errors. Citations are used inappropriately or not at all. Some or all of the information contained within is not based completely upon interviews with experts based upon the instructor’s definition of expert.  You know some or all of the individuals you have interviewed in writing skills classes. In terms of the course, this means you have missed more classes than you attended, scored in this range on the assignments and tests, and have not participated in class discussions. Students may receive elective credit with a D, but this course will not count among MCOM credits.

0%- 60% (F): The work may be so poorly organized, ineffective, or outside assignment objectives that it cannot be revised effectively. The information presented is completely incorrect. It does not meet the requirements in page length, focus, sources or format. It may also contain significant misspellings and/or grammatical and/or factual errors. Citations are not used. Only some or none of the information contained within is based  upon interviews with experts based upon the instructor’s definition of expert.  You know some or all of the individuals you have interviewed in writing skills classes. In terms of the course, this means you have missed more classes than you have attended, scored in this range on the assignments and tests, and have not participated in class discussions. If you are caught cheating in any way, you will automatically receive an F in the course. If you attend the final exam and your average is below 60, you will receive F rather than an FX.

(“FX”): This is an administrative failure for non-attendance or failure to withdraw. If you stop attending class and do not withdraw from the course by the University’s present deadlines for the semester and stop attending the class, this is the grade you will receive.

(“I”) Incomplete: Students may receive an incomplete only when “verifiable medical reasons” or “documented circumstances beyond their control “prevent students from completing a course within the term” (Towson University Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2006, p. 25).

 

Final grades in this class will follow the above scale for percentages with the following exceptions: No A+ or D- can be awarded as a final grade in this class. Please note you must earn at least a C to progress in the major.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY

College of Fine Arts and Communication

 Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

Towson, MD 21252

 410-704-3431

MEMORANDUM

TO: All Students in the Department Of Mass Communication and Communication Studies FROM:

FROM: Department Faculty

SUBJECT: PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING

Plagiarism

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies adheres to the following policy regarding plagiarism:

1.           Any words or images taken directly from another source (including the Internet) must be

footnoted or cited and in quotation marks. Similarly, in oral presentations, attributions must

be clear.

2.           Any ideas derived from a source not in the public domain or of general knowledge must be

clearly attributed.

3.           Any paraphrased material must be footnoted or cited. In oral presentations, attributions must be

clear.

  1. All papers and presentations must be the student’s own work. Submission of papers or presentations authored by others, even with their consent, constitutes plagiarism.

Any student found plagiarizing in any of the above ways will receive an automatic “F” for the assignment and may receive an “F” for the course. Documented evidence of the plagiarism will be kept in the department office, and will be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

Any student discovered soliciting others to write a paper, speech, test, or other assignment for that student will receive an automatic “F” for the course.

There are ambiguities in concepts of plagiarism. Faculty will be available for consultation regarding any confusion a student may have.

Most students are careful to avoid blatant plagiarism, the unacknowledged copying of exact words of the source. However, students must also be aware that the concept of plagiarism extends not only to wording but to patterns or sequences of ideas. If you paraphrase without acknowledgement, using the same sequence or structure as the original author, then you are plagiarizing.

Students have the right to appeal a charge of plagiarism. An appeal starts with the chairperson of the department.

Cheating

The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies has adopted the following policy regarding cheating:

ANY STUDENT CAUGHT CHEATING ON ANY QUIZ OR EXAM WILL RECEIVE A MINIMUM OF AN “F” ON THE QUIZ OR TEST AND A MAXIMUM OF AN “F” FOR THE COURSE.

Revised 1-11-05

 

 

 

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