Courses in Communication Studies (Division 352)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

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101. The Mass Media. (4). (SS).
This course is designed to provide an introductory overview of contemporary mass media systems and an examination of the various factors historical, economic, political, and cultural that have shaped their development. The course begins with a description of present print and electronic media and examines their evolution. Attention is given throughout to the legal and ethical implications of mass communication systems and to comparisons between American media systems and those elsewhere in the world. Finally, it considers the probable future course of the media and examines possible alternatives. Cost:2 WL:1
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102. Media Processes and Effects. (4). (SS).
This course introduces students to the contemporary research on mass communication processes and effects. Basic processes involved in the production, dissemination, reception, and impact of media messages are examined. The course investigates a variety of effects on individuals' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as influences on the functioning of larger social systems. It proceeds in general from investigations of individual-level to societal-level impact. Critical reading and evaluation of research on media processes and effects, and of its application to social policy debates, is encouraged and developed. Cost:2 WL:1
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111. Workshop on Managing the Information Environment. (1). (Excl).
Hands-on workshop intended to develop student mastery of the rapidly developing and expanding electronic information environment. Skills developed include the use of electronic communication systems, data base searching, word processing, data management, and various research uses of public computer networks and the information superhighway. The course introduces students to a range of campus computing resources, including local area networks and available software, and remote access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. Problem-solving assignments are designed to teach strategies used in finding information and evaluating its validity and utility. Cost:2 WL:1
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211(206). Evaluating Information. Comm. Studies 111. (4). (SS). (QR/1).
This course teaches the fundamental thinking skills necessary for critical evaluation of research-based arguments, especially those based on quantitative information. Such skills are required for one to be a competent mass communicator of information, a critical consumer of information relayed by the mass media, or an intelligent scholar of media processes and effects. The course introduces generic logical and statistical concepts through analysis and discussion of specific cases drawn from research reported in the mass media (e.g., health and business news, public opinion polls), research on the media, (e.g., the impact of media violence), and research for the media (e.g., audience research). Students' logical and quantitative reasoning skills are improved through a variety of "hands-on" exercises and projects (many involving computerized spreadsheet programs). The course is introductory in nature, and no prior statistical expertise is required. Cost:2 WL:1 (Traugott)
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321(450). Undergraduate Internship. Junior standing, concentration in communication studies, and permission of instructor. Internship credit is not retroactive and must be prearranged. No more than six credits combined of Comm. Studies 321 and 322 may be elected. (1-3). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. May not be used to satisfy communication studies electives in a communication studies concentration plan. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Communication Studies concentrators who have reached junior standing may receive some amount of experiential course credit for an internship. Student assessment will be based on the academic merit of the work and evaluation of the final paper. Cost:1 WL:3
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322. Practicum. Permission of department. Practicum credit is not retroactive and must be prearranged. No more than six credits combined of Comm. Studies 321 and 322 may be elected. (1-3). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit. May not be used to satisfy communication studies electives in a communication studies concentration plan. (EXPERIENTIAL). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
The practicum is designed to provided Communication Studies concentrators limited credit for appropriate practical experience gained in other than an employment setting. Student evaluation is based on satisfactory completion of an analytical evaluation (e.g., research-based paper) of the experience, under direction of the practicum supervisor. Registration is permitted only with approved faculty supervision. Cost:1 WL:3
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351. Structure and Function of Media Systems. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).
This course examines research and scholarship focused on existing media institutions, their genesis and current lines of development, institutional arrangements, organization and operation, economic structure, and characteristic communications "output." Course topics may include: the history of media systems; media and government, including legal, regulatory, and free-expression issues; media economics; international media systems; technologies; media organizational routines; and the values and behavior of media professionals. The course investigates the ways in which institutional, economic, and organizational arrangements affect professional behavior and media content, with attention to media system changes over time and in comparative contexts. Cost:2 WL:1
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361. Processes of Mediated Communication. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).
This course examines general phenomena involved with the creation, dissemination, and reception of mediated information. Course topics may include: information processing, including message encoding and decoding; media priming and framing of evaluations and decisions; influences of message structure and communication modalities on processing; media use and reception, including interpretive processes; information flow and control, focusing on influences of communication networks, message diffusion, and information gatekeeping; and communicative processes of learning, persuasion, and social influence. The emphasis is on the development and testing of general theories explaining how mediated communication works, even though research examined will center on particular cases (e.g., studies of priming in political communication). Cost:2 WL:1
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371. Media, Culture, and Society. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).
This course explores social and cultural approaches to the study of mass communication. Course topics studied may include: communication and social identity, including race, ethnicity, and gender; media's role in defining and reflecting culture; the equity of community, state, and worldwide information systems, including debates over the "new world communication order," postcolonialism, and globalization; media audiences as interpretive communities; media and social movements; and the role of media in altering and maintaining political and social order. Research on mass communication is examined in connection with broader questions about the relations between cultural systems and social formations, and about the dynamics of social and cultural change and contestation. Cost:2 WL:1
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381. Media Impact on Knowledge, Values, and Behavior. Comm. Studies 101 or 102 strongly recommended. (4). (SS).
This course critically evaluates research and scholarship on the impact of mass communication, especially television, in a variety of substantive domains. Media impact is treated both in theoretical and applied terms. The research examined spans levels of analysis, including effects on individuals as well as society at large. Topics to be covered include media impact on: social values, educational development, political behavior, violence and aggressive behavior, consumer behavior, health, emotion and mood, and children. Research on the use of mass communication in public information campaigns is also reviewed, as is the role of media research in providing guidance for social policy makers and media professionals. Cost:2 WL:1 (Harrison)
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439. Seminar in Journalistic Performance. (1-4). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of eight credits.
Investigates long-range factors affecting the ability of the news media to perform their function in a democratic society. Topics vary by section. This course is an arranged, periodic seminar made possible through the support of the Marsh Visiting Professor Fund. When such opportunities to offer the seminar arise, descriptions are made available in the Department of Communication Studies office and by special announcement. Cost:2 WL:1
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441. Independent Reading. Permission of department. (1-8). (Excl). No more than four credits may be included in a Communication concentration. (INDEPENDENT). Comm. 441 and 442 may be repeated for a combined total of eight credits.
Intended for individualized instruction in subject areas not covered by scheduled courses. Must be arranged with the faculty member. Cost:2 WL:1
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442. Independent Research. Permission of department. (1-8). (Excl). No more than four credits may be included in a Communication concentration. (INDEPENDENT). Comm. Studies 441 and 442 may be repeated for a combined total of eight credits.
Intended for original, individualized student research under the direction of a faculty supervisor. Must be arranged with the faculty member. Cost:2 WL:1
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452. Media Law and Policy. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
This course covers the basic principles of media law and its applications in connection with media practice and regulation. Topics covered include First Amendment theory, hate speech, prior restraints, libel, indecency, obscenity and pornography, media censorship, rights to privacy, freedom of information and public rights of access, advertising and consumer regulation, and electronic media regulation. Cost:2 WL:1
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453(400). The Media in American History. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (SS).
This course places the development of American mass media in historical perspective. It surveys the evolution of the mass media from colonial times to the present, focusing on the development of contemporary forms: the newspaper, magazine, broadcasting, and motion picture. Changes in the structure of the media are examined in connection with historical and economic trends in American society. While there are no specific prerequisites, a general grounding in American history is recommended. Cost:2 WL:1
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462. Social Influence and Persuasion. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. Students who have taken Communication 310 in a previous term should not enroll in this course. (4). (Excl).
This course examines the capability of the mass media to persuade, and the basic processes involved. Both cognitive and social-psychological theories of influence are examined in detail, and in connection with a variety of persuasive phenomena, including advertising, media campaigns, and propaganda. Conditions that facilitate or impede the persuasive influence of media messages are investigated, as are the ethical implications of employing the mass media to influence audiences. Cost:2 WL:1 (Allen)
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464. Communication Processes and Technologies. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
A survey of the present state and future applications of interactive communication technologies, cable and satellite delivery systems, worldwide computing networks, and other new electronic media. The course examines the impact of these technological developments on basic mass communication processes, against the backdrop of research on the interplay of technology, society, and behavior. Topics include the impact of communication modalities on cognitive processing of messages, spatial and cultural "biases" of different media technologies, and the manner in which communication technologies are adapted and implemented for commercial purposes. Cost:2 WL:1
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469. Seminar in Mass Communication Processes. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Political Socialization and Attitude Change.
This course focuses on the role of various types of communication in the development of political attitudes and behavior throughout the life-span. Processes of political attitude change will also receive attention. Special emphasis will be placed on the mass media, but other agents of socialization, including family, friendship networks, and social groupings will also be explored. Readings will be drawn from a range of disciplines, including social psychology, communication theory, political behavior, and public opinion research. Cost:2 WL:1 (Valentino)
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473. Cross-Cultural Communication. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
Examines some of the major issues concerning the nature of cross-cultural communication: the flow of information across national boundaries, the unequal distribution and access to information world-wide, the varying points of viewing concerning the New World Information Order, the worldwide consequences of the Information Age (post-industrial society), the new paradigms that are being developed to explain and predict the development of media in underdeveloped societies and propaganda analysis. A major concern of this course is to understand how communication and the media, especially, operate in an international context and to evaluate some of the arguments and notions concerning their future global operations, with particular reference to the developing world. Cost:2 WL:1 (Allen)
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474. Mass Communication and Identity. Comm. Studies 351 or 371 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
This course explores the role of mass communication in shaping personal and social identity. Special attention is given to the ways in which the mass media can create, sustain, or alter ethnic culture and subcultures. Topics include the ethnic media in contemporary America, including the role of the media in immigrant communities, and the complex interplay of "mainstream" and minority cultural life. Cost:2 WL:1
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481. Media and Violence. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
This course examines the theoretical and empirical connections between violence in society and portrayals of violence in the mass media. The course explores the reasons for the prevalence of violent themes in television, film, and other popular media, and investigates the psychological and social mechanisms through which media portrayals might influence attitudes and behavior. Because one cannot fully understand the relation between violence and violence in society without first understanding the causes of aggressive and violent behavior, we will begin by examining the nature of aggressive and violent behavior and how it develops. In Part 2, we will discuss the role of the media as socializing agents in general. In Part 3, we will delve into the research and theory on the link between media violence and aggression. Finally, in Part 4 we will discuss societal and psychological approaches to controlling violence and the effects of media violence as well as issues of media policy. Cost:2: WL:1 (Huesmann)
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482. Children and the Media. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl).
This course examines the influences of the mass media on children in American society. The course is designed to explore in-depth the literature on media effects, emphasizing the interaction of mass media, psychological development, and social behavior. The focus is interdisciplinary. Course readings examine both methodological and theoretical issues, drawing from work in communication, psychology, human development, and public policy. Cost:2 WL:1 (Harrison)
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484(420)/Poli. Sci. 420. Mass Media and Political Behavior. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (4). (Excl).
This course focuses on the role and importance of mass media in the political process. The interaction between the press, politicians, and the public during political campaigns receives detailed attention. Topics include: how news is made; campaign strategies; political advertising effects; relations between Congress, the President, and the media; and the role of mass media in political campaigns. These topics are examined through a systematic review of research in both mass communication and political science. Cost:2 WL:1 (Valentino)
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485(463)/Soc. 463. Mass Communication and Public Opinion. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (SS).
This course explores enduring research questions concerning mass communication and public opinion. Important normative and conceptual issues (e.g., the role of the press in a democratic society; the susceptibility of citizens to media influence; the differentiation of mass, crowd, and public; the relationship of attitudes to opinions) are first identified and examined by reviewing writings in social philosophy and social science. These issues are then investigated further through a review of relevant research in sociology, political science, social psychology, and mass communication. Emphasis is given to recent research dealing with the impact of the media on public opinion. Cost:2 WL:1
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489. Seminar in Media Effects. Comm. Studies 361 or 381 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
This course investigates advanced topics relating to research on the effects of mass communication. Topics vary by section. Cost:2 WL:1
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491(590). Senior Honors Seminar, I. Comm. Studies 311 and admission to Honors. (3). (Excl). No more than 3 credits of Comm. Studies 491-492 may be included in a Communication concentration plan.
This is the first in a two-part Honors seminar sequence of seminars that Honors concentrators in Communication Studies must take during their senior year while writing a senior thesis. During this first seminar, offered only in the Fall, students develop thesis topics, decide on a choice of methods, and write a prospectus. To be eligible for enrollment students must be accepted as Honors concentrators during the second term of their junior year. Admission as an Honors concentrator requires a cumulative GPA of 3.3, and at least a 3.5 in departmental course work, and a passing grade of B or higher in Communication Studies 311. Qualified applicants should meet with the Honors advisor during the second term of their junior year to be evaluated for admission. Cost:2 WL:1 (Huesmann)
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