COMS210A2010 - COMS 210 Introduction to...

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: COMS 210 Introduction to Communication Studies Fall 2010 As the only required course in our minor, COMS 210 offers an introduction to the field of Communication Studies as it is practiced at McGill. Students will be exposed to some of the major questions facing Communication Studies scholars today, learn how to take positions in important debates, and explore emerging issues in the contemporary media landscape. Lectures every Monday & Wednesday from 11:35am  12:25pm and required weekly discussion conferences (starting September 16th). Students must register for conferences on Minerva. Instructor Teaching Assistants Richard Hink Adam Cantor [email protected] [email protected] Office Hours: Christopher Gutierrez Wednesday, 12:30 ­1:30pm [email protected] Thursday, 11:00am ­12:00pm Thursday afternoons by appointment Emily Raine W280 Arts Building (3rd floor, west wing) [email protected] TA office hours and office locations will be announced in class and on WebCT; they begin after add ­drop. Please see the email policy under “course policies” and allow approximately 48 hours for a reply. Don’t hesitate to stop by office hours without an appointment. We are happy to see you. The rest of our time is set aside for meetings, class prep, writing, reading, etc. If you wish to see us outside our regular office hours, please make an appointment. Office hours may occasionally be cancelled or rescheduled; this will be announced on the course website or in class. Other Contacts: (Name) (Phone) (E ­Mail) (Name) (Phone) (E ­Mail) Course Requirements and Marks During the course of the term, we will evaluate your performance in four areas: • 15% Participation In lecture writing (5%) and conference participation (10%) • 20% Conference Assignments Group presentation (10%) and short paper (10%) • 35% Term Paper Term paper • 30% Examinations Mid term (5%) and final examination (25%)* The evaluation scheme for this course has been designed to encourage you to participate—both in conference and in lecture—and to reward your hard work. We do not assign any “busy work;” everything you are asked to produce is linked to your comprehension of the materials and engagement with the course. Participation Over the course of the semester, you will complete between five and eight short writing assignments during the lecture. These 5 ­10 minute exercises will often ask you to respond to a short question or summarize the main concept under discussion. There are three possible scores for these exercises: ( 100 ) Provided a reasoned response to the question. ( 10 ) Showing up is half (or, in this case, 10%) of the battle. ( 0 ) Absent or otherwise unresponsive. Your scores on these exercises over the course of the semester will be averaged and make up 5% of your final mark. Your lowest three scores will be dropped without penalty; these freebies will cover any days missed during the term. In ­class assignments cannot be made up or excused for any reason whatsoever. The rest of your participation mark (10%) will represent your performance on short assignments for conference sections and in ­conference discussion. Your lowest mark will be dropped (for instance, if you miss a session). If you make an exceptional contribution to the course in some other way, it will be recognized in your mark for conference participation. Please note that you will only be marked as present if you attend the conference for which you are officially registered through Minerva. Rude or disruptive behavior toward classmates or teachers will lead to a significant reduction in your semester participation mark, or to a “0” in this category. Conference Assignments While in conferences, you will complete a short 800 ­1000 word paper on a pre ­assigned topic. Dates will be assigned during your first conference session. Papers are graded according to a standard grid (available on WebCT). Because of the volume of papers, we cannot provide other written comments on your finished product. However, we will be happy to meet with you during office hours to talk about your paper. The short paper will be 10% of your final mark. 2 Once during the semester, you will be part of a group responsible for a 15 ­minute presentation on the assigned readings at the beginning of your assigned conference session. Your task will be to bring in a real ­world example to which the readings could be applied and use that example to help explain and explore the material for your classmates. Dates will be assigned in the first conference session. The group presentation will be 10% of your final mark. Term Paper Toward the end of the semester, you will submit a single analytical paper on a topic to be announced during the term. Papers are graded according to a standard grid (we will hand this out with the assignment). Because of the volume of papers, we cannot provide other written comments on your finished product. However, we will be happy to meet with you during office hours to talk about your paper. We will also provide you with time off from conferences and extra office hours to meet with us before the paper is due. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to propose alternative projects to the professor should they have a particularly interesting alternative to the analytical paper assignment in mind. Examinations A mid ­term examination (5%) will be given during a regularly scheduled class period. The mid ­ term will consist solely of multiple ­choice questions. We will frequently go over example multiple choice questions during lectures so you have a better idea of what to expect. The final exam (25%) will consist of a group of multiple ­choice questions and several short answer questions. University policy requires that I offer supplemental and deferred finals; the format of these alternative exams may differ from the regular exam. * Exam Improvement Policy: If you earn a higher score on your final exam than on your mid ­ term and you have received B or better averages for participation, your final exam score will replace your mid ­term score. You must actually sit for the mid ­term examination to benefit under this policy. Resources You Although this is a large lecture course, your participation is essential and constitutes a large portion of your mark. Listen carefully. Take lots of notes on lectures and readings. Take advantage of opportunities to participate. Ask questions in lecture or in conference. Use our office hours. Readings and Course Content All online course content will be hosted on the university’s WebCT courseware system ( You should visit WebCT at least twice a week to check for the official course schedule (and changes thereto), announcements, reading assignments and questions, links to readings, supplemental material, etc. Changes to the class schedule will be announced on WebCT and/or in class. 3 A coursepack, available from the McGill Bookstore and on reserve at McLennan ­Redpath Library. Note that coursepacks from the Fall 2008 and 2009 COMS 210 include most, but not all, of the readings required this year. If you have access to an old coursepack, you will probably find it cheaper to use this and photocopy any additional readings from the library or from a friend. Coursepacks from before 2008 will not be of much use. Several readings are available for free online and are therefore not included in the coursepack. Recommended Reading/Reference: Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman & Patricia Albanese. Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Research and Writing – Social Sciences. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2009. Additional “recommended readings” may be placed on reserve at the McLennan ­Redpath reserve desk, and some material may be available electronically through the course website. Other University Resources The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) provides a broad range of support and services to assist students, faculty, and staff with disabilities. They are located in suite 3100 Brown Student Services Bldg., 398 ­6009 (voice), 398 ­8198 (TDD), []. Counseling and Tutorial Services provides personal, academic, and career counseling to undergraduate and graduate students. They also offer workshops on study skills, multiple choice exams, and test anxiety/stress management. They can be found at suite 4200 Brown Student Services Bldg, 398 ­3601 []. An additional list of workshops can be found at []. Important Dates Dates for assigned readings are announced on WebCT and may be subject to change. Be sure to check the course calendar on WebCT at least once a week. Failure to do so may lead to unfortunate bewilderment in lecture, or worse, attempting to write an in lecture assignment having read the wrong essay. A properly formatted calendar of dates will be available on WebCT for the more visually inclined. Lectures are held every Monday and Wednesday except for as noted below; conferences are on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. You must attend the conference for which you are registered on Minerva—you will not receive any credit for attending any other conference. W 1 Sep: First Day of Class. Introductions, caveats and expectations. W ­F 1 ­3 Sep: No conferences (and no lecture Fri 3 Sep). M 6 Sep: Labour Day (no class). W ­F 8 ­10 Sep: No conferences (and no lecture Fri 10 Sep). M 14 Sep: Add/Drop Period Ends. No turning back now. W 15 Sep: Conferences begin. M 11 Oct: Thanksgiving (no class). W 20 Oct: Mid ­Term Examination (in class). 4 W ­F 17 ­19 Nov: Conferences cancelled. Work on your term paper. M 22 Nov: Term paper due at beginning of class. Fri 3 Dec: Monday Schedule. Final Exam Review in our normal lecture hall. TBA: Final Exam (set by the exam office and completely out of our control) Course Policies and Expectations Failure to follow the letter and the spirit of class or university regulations can result in a reduction of your final grade, failure of the course (or a section thereof), and/or other penalties as set by University policy. Email Policy and How not to turn in your work Email is a useful supplement to other ways of interacting with your teachers, but it is not a substitute. Therefore, we have installed a simple policy: a. If your email requires more than a 3 ­line answer, come see us during office hours or make an appointment. b. If your email asks a question that can be answered by looking at the syllabus, website or FAQ, we reserve the right to reply with a one ­word reply indicating the location of your answer. It’s nothing personal. E ­mail is not an acceptable way to submit your assignments to your TAs or professor. Unless such an arrangement has been made in advance—and only in documented cases where the laws of physics and/or limitations of space and time make it impossible for you to submit an assignment—do not e mail assignments and expect them to be accepted or marked. You will receive the normal late penalty until the hard copy of your assignment has been received. Likewise, do not slip assignments under doors or leave them in unattended mailboxes. Our colleagues in the department office (Arts W ­225) will be happy to date ­stamp your assignment so that we know when it was received. You may also use the locked box next to the main office when no one is available. Make sure any assignment submitted to the office is clearly marked with “COMS ­210” or “Prof. Hink” to ensure that I receive it. Late Arrivals and Early Departures Your professor finds people entering and leaving the classroom during lecture to be distracting. If you know that you must leave early on a given day, please let him know before class and find a seat as close to the exit as possible. Please make your visits to the bathroom and drinking fountain before and after class. If you arrive late or leave early (or if your excretory system presents you with an emergency in the middle of class) enter or leave the classroom quietly. If you are more than 10 minutes late, don’t come to class. Repeat offenders will be rewarded with reduced marks. The Classroom: Seating, Questions, and Comments Please sit toward the front and center, so that you can hear the lecture and be heard when you ask questions. Although this is a large class, we like discussion. You are encouraged to raise your hand during lecture and ask questions, add comments, or ask for something you didn’t understand to be repeated or clarified. When you do, please speak up. The room acoustics can 5 be funny: even if you can hear the professor perfectly, your classmates may not hear you as well. We will decide as a group if an area of the classroom should be designated a laptop free zone if some people find them distracting. The use of mobile computing and computing devices must, in all cases, respect policies and regulations of the University, including in particular the following: 1. The Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures; 2. The Policy Concerning the Rights of Students with Disabilities; 3. The Policy on the Responsible Use of McGill IT Resources. No audio or video recording of any kind is allowed in class without the explicit permission of the instructor. Furthermore, no device is to be used for voice communication without the explicit permission of the instructor. We understand that many of you find it more comfortable to take notes on a laptop during class and encourage you to do so if you find it useful. Please remember, however, that your fellow classmates and your teachers have a reasonable expectation to be free from unnecessary distraction. Mobile phones, PDAs, IM programs, audio players and other appliances or programs that make noise or distract you are not welcome in our classroom. If you must bring them with you, turn them off and put them away. The professor reserves the right to take action against offending devices or their owners. We also reserve the right to require students to shut their laptops if they are facebooking, youtubing, IMing, gaming or doing something else distracting to us or other students. Since conferences are for participation and discussion, laptops are not permitted in conference sections without a medical note or other appropriate documentation. Extensions Aside from the written exercises during lecture, assignments will be announced well in advance of due dates. If you know well in advance that you can’t make a due date for an assignment, please discuss it with us beforehand. If you would prefer a different date for your conference paper or presentation than the one you get, it is your responsibility to switch with someone else and to notify your TA ahead of time. Late Assignments and Missed Exams Late papers will be penalized 1/3 of a letter grade per day that they are late, including weekends (e.g., a 2 ­day late B+ paper counts as a B ­). Late assignments will be “excused” only in exceptional and unavoidable circumstances. To get a late assignment excused after the fact, you must submit (a) one typed, double ­spaced page explaining the reason for missing the deadline, and (b) relevant documentation such as an official doctor’s note on letterhead. The written (not emailed) request for an excuse must be in the professor’s hands within one week after the scheduled due date and it is entirely your responsibility to provide sufficient documentation. Note that instructors are not permitted to make special arrangements for final exams. Please consult the Calendar, section, General University Information and Regulations for more on the final. Grades and Appeals We take grades very seriously because we know you do. We do not give out grades over email or the telephone. We cannot even disclose that you are enrolled in the course to third parties, including your parents, roommates, boy/girlfriend/spouse, pets, etc. 6 Should you wish to dispute a mark, it must be done according to the grade appeal policy on the course website. Keep in mind that “A” grades are awarded for superior (and not merely sufficient) performance. While there is no quota, an “A” is a truly superior grade in this course. Last year, approximately 12 of the 220 enrolled students earned an A and 30 earned an A ­; the average mark was 72.3 (B). Previous years had similar grade distributions. Also keep in mind that disputes over written work seldom result in an elevated mark and can result in a lower mark (if you ask for your assignment to be re ­graded, the grade can go up or down). Language The language of instruction at McGill University is English. However, you may submit your written work in French. Accommodations If you require special testing accommodations or other classroom modifications, please notify both the professor and Office for Students with Disabilities by the end of the first week in which you are enrolled in the course. They are located in suite 3100 Brown Student Services Bldg., 398 ­ 6009 (voice), 398 ­8198 (TDD), []. Nondiscrimination Statement & Discussion Policy Your teachers value equality of opportunity, and human dignity and diversity. In accordance with University policy, we will not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, ethnic or national origin, civil status, religion, creed, political convictions, language, sex, sexual orientation, social condition, age, personal handicap or the use of any means to palliate such a handicap. Among other things, this means that you do not have to agree with your teacher or the assigned readings in order to do well in this course. You are, however, obligated to demonstrate an understanding of the course material whether or not you agree with it. If there is something we can do to make the class more hospitable, please let us know. This course encourages group discussion and healthy debate. Always remember, however, that you also have a responsibility to ensure that our classroom(s) are safe, hospitable places for all of your classmates, teachers, guests, etc. • Treat others with respect. Give time for others to finish speaking before you begin. Personal attacks, snide remarks, and prejudice of any kind will not be tolerated. You will be called out on any infractions and your grade will reflect any disrespectful behaviour. • Critique rather than criticism. Thoughtful comments and questions encourage us to look more closely at how we can use the ideas. A negative “seek and destroy” approach, on the other hand, doesn’t help us understand the material or its argument. Serious violations of this policy may constitute a violation of the Code of Student Conduct (see sections 8(b) and 19, in particular) and will be treated as such. Academic Integrity 7 Since we take grades seriously, we also take academic integrity very seriously. Failure to follow procedure or a direct request from your professor or TA during a quiz or exam can result in immediate failure of the exam. Use of any communication devices other than your pen or pencil is forbidden during an in ­class quiz. Please note that taking out an electronic communication device (or talking) during a quiz or exam is considered cheating – per Chapter 3, Section A.III.16 of the McGill Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. And now, McGill’s official language regarding plagiarism and cheating: McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences cheating plagiarism and other academic offences under the code of student conduct and disciplinary procedures (see for more information). L'université McGill attache une haute importance à l’honnêteté académique. Il incombe par conséquent à tous les étudiants de comprendre ce que l'on entend par tricherie, plagiat et autres infractions académiques, ainsi que les conséquences que peuvent avoir de telles actions, selon le Code de conduite de l'étudiant et des procédures disciplinaires (pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez consulter le site TENTATIVE READING SCHEDULE Any changes to reading dates and deadlines will be posted on the course website. Check the website for the most accurate, official reading schedule. Note that the readings listed under each date are those that should be read in preparation for (i.e., before) that class meeting. Week 2 W, 8 September Thinking about communication Read: Walter Lippmann, excerpt from On Public Opinion (1921). Available on WebCT. John Durham Peters (in coursepack) Week 3 MW, 13 & 15 September Sender, Message, Receiver & the Transmission Model Read: Stuart Hall, Davison and St. John Week 4 MW, 20 & 22 September Social constructionism and the ritual model of communication Read: Berger & Luckmann and Carey Week 5 MW 27 & 29 September Reality Production 101; Ideology Read: Billig and Lull Week 6 MW 4 & 6 October Sensation and Saturation; the body in communication 8 Read: Marvin and Gitlin Week 7 W, 13 October Taste, or why your new iPad makes you cooler than everyone else Read: Bourdieu Week 8 MW, 18 & 20 October Social networking and roles Read: Goffman and Boyd (recommended) MIDTERM EXAMINATION (Wednesday, 20 October) Week 9a M, 25 & 27 October Thinking about technology and technologies Read: Williams, Faulkner and Wise & Slack Goggin & Newell (recommended) Week 10 MW, 1 & 3 November Eyeballs for sale, or the less riveting title “Political economy of communication” Read: McChesney and Meehan Week 11 MW, 8 & 10 November Communication, capital and intellectual property/policy Read: Lessig and Vaidhyanathan Week 12 MW, 15 & 17 November Advertising and Branding; Ideology II Read: Klein and Schudson Week 13 MW, 22 & 24 November PAPERS DUE (Monday by 11:45am) Blurring the lines between producers and consumers: audience economics and playbour Read: Jenkins and Kucklich (not in coursepack, see WebCT for link). Week 14 Built in schedule padding M, 29 November Final lecture W, 1 December Final Exam Review F, 3 December 9 ...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 01/11/2012 for the course MATH 100 taught by Professor Loveys during the Fall '11 term at McGill.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online