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Introduction to Mass Communication

Course Details

Course Number
1233
Section Number
1233
Semester
Spring 2015
Location
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
114
Days & Times

MWF 1:00-1:50

Professor
Dr. Mitzi Lewis (view Profile)

Course Attachments

Textbooks

Course Objectives

You begin your core for mass communication with this course. Students of any major can benefit from this course because they will become better-informed media consumers.

  • This course is designed to give you an overview of how the mass media operate and their place in American society.
  • You will briefly examine career opportunities in mass communication.
  • You will examine and analyze contemporary issues facing the mass media.

As this is a survey course, emphasis will be placed on gaining a broad, general understanding of the mass media, and it will be difficult to study specific topics in depth.  However, I encourage students to approach me about suggestions for more in-depth readings and/or projects on various topics.

Course Expectations
  • Recommended textbook: Turow, Joe. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Routledge.
  • An internet connection (we will use a class wiki and Desire2Learn for this class
  • Persistence, patience, optimism, and an active mind

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

  1. Students’ responsibility: Take responsibility for your own learning and take advantage of in- and out-of-classroom opportunities
  2. Professor’s (facilitator’s) responsibility: Provide students with meaningful learning opportunities in the classroom and through assignments
Grading Standards

Final grades will be based on a personal journal, a final exam and many smaller assignments and quizzes.  You should take note that you will be required to do a lot of writing over the course of the semester, and the quality of your writing will be a factor in your final grade.  You will also be required to think critically about the issues being discussed and form coherent, defensible positions; I’m not interested in having you quote back the literature to me – I’ve read it.  Details on all assignments will be given as the semester progresses.

Final grades will be based on the following:

Class participation (also called professionalism): 15%

Journal: 30%

Final Exam: 25%

Assignments and quizzes: 30%

Submission Format Policy 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
  • In the professional world, if you can’t show up on time and make your deadlines, you won’t keep your job. Assignments must be completed on time in the format specified.
  • Reading assignments are to be completed by the day they are assigned.
  • Homework and projects are due at the beginning of class on the due date.
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

Because abundant lecturing tends to be counterproductive for both you and me, I try to include activities that are more interesting than straight lecture, such as discussions, presentations, field trips, etc. The success of this format depends on your willingness to actively participate in class discussions and other activities.

Attendance and participation are critical to your success. Another way to describe this is professionalism. Professionalism means that you’re here, ready to engage in new opportunities. You are expected to arrive on time, be prepared, actively participate, and stay for the full class period. If you miss class, you miss the chance to participate in your education and the education of others in class. Your peers are counting on you to be in class and to participate. A peer evaluation will be distributed toward the end of the semester.

If you miss class without an acceptable excuse you get a zero for that day’s participation and class work and any work that is due.

If you have an emergency, you must provide documentation to me, such as an accident report or towing bill. If you do not have documentation, you will receive a zero for the work due or that you missed.

If you must miss class, please let me know BEFORE the class period that you will miss. You may call my office and leave me a voice mail or you may notify me by e-mail. An absence may be excused at my discretion in accordance with university policy if you provide documentation of the reason for your absence. When you have an acceptable excuse, you are responsible for finding out what you missed and arranging to make it up with the instructor. Missed work must be made up within one week of when your return to class, or you will receive a zero.

Plan carefully regarding appointments and/or work schedules to avoid missing class. Any personal emergencies that arise will be dealt with on an individual basis. Do not assume you will be allowed to make up assignments missed during an unexcused absence. If you MISS CLASS, it is YOUR responsibility to find out what you missed.

Your class participation and attendance grade is made up of (a) your coming to class, (b) your input during class discussions, (c) your completion of in-class assignments. In class assignments will help you immediately apply concepts covered in class. If you miss a class you get a “zero” for that day’s in-class assignments. If you miss more than two classes, or if you are habitually late or leave early, your final grade may be lowered by 1/3 letter grade for each instance beyond two absences.  Three tardies = one absence.  Five minutes or more late = one tardy. Twenty minutes or more late = one absence. Leaving before class is dismissed = one absence. If you have difficulty with the attendance and participation (professionalism) requirement, you may be dropped from the class.

I reserve the right to determine what, exactly, constitutes an excused absence or when a late arrival is excusable.

Finally, it is unacceptable to skip another class to work on a project for this class. Also, do not ask me for an excused absence to work on another course. If either of these occurs, it will greatly lower your participation grade. Plan accordingly and be organized.

Some additional guidelines:

  • You are responsible for all material presented in every class period, whether present or not.
  • If you miss a class period you should obtain the material presented from another classmate. (I will not repeat lecture material that was missed. Handouts are available from my office – it is your responsibility to come get them.)
Other Policies
  • Classroom behavior that interferes with either the instructor’s ability to conduct the class or the ability of other students to benefit from the instruction will result in the instructor’s removing the disruptive student(s) from the class.
  • “If you promise that you will not halt your class participation to read your email, text with a friend, post to your Facebook wall... I promise that I will not halt my class participation to read my email, text with a friend, or post to my Facebook wall.” (from oh_richard on chronicle.com)
  • Eating and drinking are not allowed by the computers because we are working with expensive equipment that can very easily be damaged by food or drink. Food and drink may be left on the bookcase by the door. Any misuse or abuse of equipment will result in expulsion from the lab for the semester and/or assessment of replacement/repair costs.
  • Students are expected to adhere to the Standards of Conduct as published in the Student Handbook. Students should refer to the current MSU student handbook and activities calendar for University policies and Student Honor Creed on academic dishonesty, class attendance, student’s rights, and activities.

a.     The main statement from the MSU Student Honor Creed should be a guiding principal for you: “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”

b.     I reserve the right to drop any student with an F if he/she engages in any form of academic dishonesty.  I further reserve the right to recommend other sanctions as may be appropriate.  Students are also encouraged to consult the following sources for additional discussion of students’ rights and responsibilities regarding cheating, attendance and general conduct:

                                                        i.     The MSU Student Honor Creed

                                                      ii.     MSU Undergraduate Catalog

                                                     iii.     MSU Student Handbook

c.     In addition, the university requires faculty to provide this statement to all students:By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and educational purposes.”

  • On the Internet, plagiarism is especially easy. DO NOT give in to the temptation to copy-and-paste other people’s work! Your work must be your own. If you plagiarize as a professional and get found out, you will damage if not destroy your own reputation and do great harm to the reputation of any organization you work for. In this class, plagiarism will have dire consequences.
  • Plagiarism: Plagiarism comes from the Latin word plagiarius, which means kidnapper.  Webster’s Dictionary defines plagiarize as to take (ideas, writings, etc.,) from (another) and pass them off as one’s own-plagiarizer. Plagiarism includes the deliberate as well as inadvertent failure to properly attribute. All of the work you do in this class should be the work of you. Violation of this policy will result in the student and/or group receiving a failing grade for this course.  IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE…IF IN DOUBT-ASK! Students in this course should adhere to the MSU Student Honor Code. 

Privacy

Federal privacy law prohibits me from releasing information about students to certain parties outside of the university without the signed consent of the student.  Thus, in almost all cases I will not discuss your academic progress or other matters with your parents.  Please do not have them call me.  Regardless of these important legal considerations, it is my general policy to communicate with the students, not their parents, even when a student has signed a consent form.  College students are adults and are expected to behave accordingly.

Social Justice

Social justice is one of Midwestern State University’s stated core values, and I consider the classroom to be a place where students will be treated with respect as human beings, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Moreover, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided the students can agree to disagree. It is my expectation that ALL students be able to consider the classroom a safe environment.

Special Accommodations

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information that needs sharing, or if you need special accommodations in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. Please also contact Disability Support Services at 940-397-4140 in Clark Student Center, room 168, to document and coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities if you have not already done so.

Research and Creative Opportunities at MSU

Enhancing Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (EURECA) is a program that provides opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in high-quality research and creative activities with faculty. EURECA provides incentives and funding through a system that supports faculty and students in a cooperative research process. For more information contact the Office of Undergraduate Research, (940) 397-6275 or eureca@mwsu.edu. Information and resources are available at www.mwsu.edu/eureca.

To support undergraduate research and creative activities, Midwestern State University holds an enhanced institutional membership with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).  This institutional membership includes unlimited memberships for any interested faculty, staff, and students. Students may find information on benefits and resources at www.cur.org/resources/for_students and may sign up at members.cur.org/members_online/members/newmember.asp.

Suggestions

§  Attend class regularly.

§  Remember I am available to help you. Ask for help immediately if you don’t understand something. Waiting to “get it later” doesn’t always work and could get you into trouble.

§  Back up your work. Have two backups.

§  Expect the unexpected.

§  Try to do work for this class ahead of time. This will give you some cushion in case you have problems.

§  Sometimes things will go smoothly, other times they won’t – the important thing is to have fun and practice thinking and working with both sides of our brains.

§  This is your class; we can do (or try) almost anything you want; be creative!

Final Caveat: I reserve the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason. This includes changing or deleting assignments. Sufficient notice will be given to you if changes to the syllabus are necessary.

By accepting this syllabus and staying enrolled in this course, you are indicating that you understand and accept the terms of this syllabus.

Thanks to Jim Sernoe and Jim Gorham who allowed me to adapt some of their classroom policies, to Stan Ketterer for allowing me to use his attendance policy, and to Liz Minden, who shared ideas and assignments.

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 https://mwsu.edu/academics/wpr, 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 https://mwsu.edu/campus-carry/rules-policies.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at patrick.coggins@mwsu.edu.