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Introduction to Mass Communication

Course Details

Course Number
MCOM 1233
Section Number
MCOM 1233
Semester
Fall 2015
Location
McCoy Engineering Hall
Classroom Number
205
Days & Times

MWF @ 10 – 10:50 a.m.

Professor
Liz Minden (view Profile)

Textbooks

Course Objectives
COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES
 
The course is designed to give you a broad understanding of the development of mass media and the theory, issues and trends in mass communication.  In addition to gaining information from lectures, students are expected to participate in class discussions, conduct research on mass communication topics, and stay current with news and information that helps them understand the mass communication process in an increasingly complex technical and global media environment.  By the end of this course, students should be able to understand and explain:
 
1. How each mass medium developed and currently functions.
2. Mass communication models and theories.
3. The social, legal/regulatory, and ethical considerations of global mass communication environment.
4. The Communication Age’s complex issues and trends.
Course Expectations
COURSE ACTIVITIES
 
1. ACTIVITIES & QUIZZES – each is worth 5-10 points
Activities and quizzes are held at the instructor’s discretion.  Quizzes cover lecture information, any assigned readings, current events and/or discussion topics.  They are held at the beginning of class, so please be on time. Activities may include films, small-group discussions and guest speakers. You will get advance notice of a scheduled activity, but they are not listed in the course schedule.
 
2. THREE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS – each assignment is worth 50 points
a. These assignments are about a variety of mass communication topics.  You will examine some information and write answers to specific questions; written instructions will be provided and include the grading criteria for each assignment.
b. Homework Assignments are due: Sept. 25, Oct. 16 and Nov. 13.
 
3. PERSONAL JOURNAL – worth 200 points
a. This project involves finding recent articles relating to mass media and/or mass communication and writing a synopsis of the article, as well as your thoughts about the information in these articles. A handout detailing this assignment and its grading criteria will be provided.  Please see me if you have difficulty with this assignment.
b. Journals are due at the beginning of class on November 20, 2015.
 
4. FINAL PROJECT – this is worth 100 points
a. This is a small-group team assignment. Your team selects a mass communication topic from a list provided by the instructor; conducts research about your choice; writes a paper based on your research and conclusions; and then presents your findings. You will be given a detailed handout explaining the assignment and its grading criteria, as well as adequate time to complete the assignment.
b. Project Paper Due:  Wednesday, December 2, at the beginning of class.
c. Project Presentations:  Wednesday, December 9, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Grading Standards
COURSE GRADES
 
1. Late work will not be accepted, but you may turn in your work early.  Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period.  A late assignment earns a zero for points. 
2. Fabricating information or using another’s work as your own earns you an “F” for the course. (See “Course Policies” regarding Academic Dishonesty.)
3. Points will be deducted from typed assignments that have numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
4. Students are expected to come to class having read any assigned materials upon which quizzes, writing assignments and classroom discussions are based.
5. Your ability to make up any missed assignment is at the sole discretion of the instructor.
6. Numerical grades will be awarded for each quiz and assignment.  To determine your grade for the course, quiz and assignment grades will be totaled and then divided by the total number of possible points to derive your percentage. The grading scale is: 
 
      A = 90% -100% of the total possible points
      B = 80% - 89% of the total possible points
      C = 70% - 79% of the total possible points
      D = 60% - 69% of the total possible points
      F = Less than 60% of the total possible points
 
**NOTE:  The instructor reserves the right to add or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  If for some reason the number of assignments total more or fewer than the original number set for the course, the method of calculating your final grade will remain the same:  the total points a student achieves for all submitted assignments will be divided by the total possible points for all the assignments to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined above.
Final Exam 12/09/2015 10:30 - 12:30
Submission Format Policy

Homework assignments must be typed.


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

Late work will not be accepted, but you may turn in your work early.  Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period.  A late assignment earns a zero for points.

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:  Students are expected to arrive on time, be prepared, actively participate and remain for the entire class period.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student from the course who misses more than three class periods. If you miss a class without an acceptable, verifiable reason, it’s an absence. Being habitually late to class counts as absences.  Make-up work for any absence is solely at the discretion of the instructor.

Other Policies
COURSE POLICIES
 
1. Attendance:  Students are expected to arrive on time, be prepared, actively participate and remain for the entire class period.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student from the course who misses more than three class periods. If you miss a class without an acceptable, verifiable reason, it’s an absence. Being habitually late to class counts as absences.  Make-up work for any absence is solely at the discretion of the instructor.
 
2. Academic Dishonesty: Plagiarism is: (1) using someone else’s source material (published or unpublished, including the Internet) without following accepted guidelines of giving credit; or (2) submitting work for credit that is not your own. THE INSTRUCTOR WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION FOR STUDENTS CAUGHT CHEATING, PLAGIARIZING OR FABRICATING INFORMATION. The MSU Student Honor Creed in your student handbook and the university catalog reinforces this policy:  “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.” Plagiarism is lying, cheating and stealing. 
 
3. Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability who is registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services (940-397-4140, CSC Room 168) and needs specific accommodations, or requires other considerations because of a disability, should notify the instructor at the beginning of the semester to ensure that these accommodations are provided.
 
4. Limited Right:  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. This “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 for educational purposes.
 
5. FERPA: As a result of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, federal law bars the instructor from releasing information about students to parties outside the university – including his parents/guardian - without the student’s signed consent. In addition, the instructor will not discuss a student’s grades with him/her:  (1) in a classroom, (2) over the phone, and/or (3) by email.  STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR COURSE GRADES MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.
 
6. Disruptive Behavior:  Any student’s classroom behavior that interferes with either the instructor’s ability to conduct the class or other students’ ability to benefit from the instruction – or violates any other Standard of Conduct applicable to the classroom environment – will result in his/her removal from the class.  (See MSU Student Handbook, “Standards of Student Conduct.”). Also, please:
a. Turn off the sound on your cell phone during class.  No text messaging either. 
b. Turn off your iPods and similar technology. 
c. Be polite and respectful of others, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age or abilities. The classroom must be a safe environment for everyone.
 
7. Senior Portfolio:  Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio as part of their internship course, which is a pre-requisite for Senior Production.  This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable.  Through the portfolio, students are required to demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual communication; two examples of each competency are required.
 
As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your senior portfolio.
 
Please see your instructor, adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information (“Mass Communication Senior Portfolio Competencies” and “Mass Communication Senior Portfolio FAQ”).  These handouts are also available on the department web page:  http://finearts.mwsu.edu/masscomm/.
 
8.   Other:  You may be asked to provide your assignments on a portable computer medium (e.g., a jump/thumb drive). Do NOT email your assignments to the instructor without permission.
 
 
 
BE AWARE THAT the instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason, but will provide students with written notice if any changes are necessary.
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.