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Introduction to Mass Communication

Course Details

Course Number
MCOM 1233
Section Number
MCOM 1233
Spring 2018
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Christopher P. D'Amico, M.S. (view Profile)
Course Objectives

Course Description As this is a survey course, emphasis will be placed on gaining a broad, general understanding of the mass media, the history and means by which they communicate, the effects of this communication, and the professional and ethical issues involved. We cover print media, photography, radio, cinema, television and new media, and such related fields as advertising, public relations and political communication. Primary Course Learning Objectives: • By the end of this course you should be able to explain basic terminology and theories associated in the field on communication and mass media. • Be able to recall a variety of important historical events and how they shaped or were shaped by mass media. • Should be able to explain how technology has increased the global scope of communication and media. • Should be able to identify critical elements that impact sociopolitical implications of mass media and media convergence and conglomeration. • Be able to demonstrate the ability to use critical thinking skills to analyze a variety of mass media within historical and cultural contexts.

Grading Standards

Weekly Quiz: A weekly quiz will be given most Thursdays in class. These are very short quizzes emphasizing what we spoke about that week. On Tuesday, the decision will be made in class if one will be given. It will be posted on D2L Announcements after Tuesday's class as well. Journals: In this course, you will be writing 10 (ten) journal entries. Each entry is worth 5 points. They will be graded as follows: • 0- Lack of effort, content and thought—no research & coherency • 3- Shows potential and some effort--- grammar/spelling issues/ research issues • 5- Critically analyzes the entry, backs up thoughts and claims with research • The professor assigns grades in increments of .5pts. You need to read each question carefully. Do NOT simply answer the questions. Use them as a guide for you in formulating a journal entry with evidence (research) to backup your thoughts and ideas. Each entry will be 3 pages of content. Cover page and reference page do not count in your page count. If you are unhappy with your journal entry grade, see REVISION POLICY in this syllabus.

Final Exam 05/08/2018 8:00-10:00AM
Submission Format Policy

Requirements for all written work: ALL work submitted in this course should be prepared according to the following guidelines: o Papers must be typed, double-spaced in 12-point font in Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins. o Pages must be numbered in the top, right-hand corner of each page. o Papers should have a cover page with a title, your name, course identifier, and date. o Papers should have a cover page with a title, your name, course identifier, and date. o Papers must include accurate and complete in text citations and a complete reference list. You should follow the guidelines of the MLA or APA style manual. o Save as a Pdf. File to upload to D2L it works the best. Revision Policy: I believe all work is in a constant process of revision. Therefore, I invite and encourage you to rework your assignments. A revision, however, means more than just changing some grammar errors and typos. It requires you to rethink, recognize and rewrite your work. As a rule of thumb, I never drop your grade based upon a revision. The lowest grade you will receive is the original grade. There is only a one (1) week window of opportunity for you to revise and resubmit (Example- If I hand back a journal on Friday, then the revision is due the following Friday.)

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Missed Assignments Policy: If you miss any assignments without being excused, you will fail the course. I reserve the right to determine whether an absence will be excused. In-class assignments may be excused at my discretion; however, all outside assignments must be completed within a reasonable time frame after your absence — no exceptions. In addition, I reserve the right to determine what, exactly, is a "reasonable time frame." In sum: This is a zero-tolerance policy. I have no time or patience for those who are not going to take this class seriously; thus, "three strikes and you're out" does not apply. "ONE strike and you're out" is more applicable. Some past students have flunked the course for this reason. In any case, I tend to be cynical about making up missed assignments, but if you have a legitimate problem, alternate arrangements can be made at my discretion. If you cannot make it a priority to complete every assignment, on time, please drop now so another student, who is more serious, can have your spot. By accepting this syllabus and remaining enrolled in this course, you are indicating that you understand the Missed Assignments Policy.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance: Successful completion of the course requires regular class attendance at lectures and active participation in class discussions and projects. • More than four (4) absences will result in a fifteen (15)-point deduction from your grade. On the eighth (8) absence from the class, you will fail the course. • If you have to miss a class or a deadline for any reason, please contact me IN ADVANCE to let me know. CONTACTING ME IN ADVANCE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY EXCUSE AN ABSENCE, but it is a lot better than calling after the fact. If you fail to contact me before the next class period to explain an absence, it will be very difficult for me to excuse the absence. Please note that work, non-emergency medical and dental appointments, hangovers, intramural games, visitors from out of town, fixing your roommate's computer, fraternity/sorority events, arguments with boyfriends/girlfriends and studying for other classes do NOT constitute excused absences.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at