Courses in Communication Studies (Division 352)

103. Introduction to Mass Communication. Not open to seniors. (4). (SS).

This course is designed to provide an introductory overview of the historical, social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, structures and the processes of the mass media. We will concentrate primarily on communication technologies, practices, and perspectives in an American context. The course objective is to analyze the historical and current factors influencing the development of mass media and our relationship to them. Grading is based on two essays, two exams and critical/analytical questions handed in during discussion sections. WL:1 (McLaughlin)

202. Freedom of Expression. (3). (SS).

This course explores the origins and development of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of the press and speech and provides the student with the knowledge to examine current and future issues impinging on these vital rights. While it examines court decisions and administrative guidelines, it is not primarily about "press law." It is for all who have a serious interest in balancing professional and social rights. It is not intended to advise future journalists how to beat a libel case. (Stevens)

206. Evaluating and Communicating Information. (4). (SS). (QR/1).

This course teaches the fundamental thinking skills necessary for critical evaluation and presentation of 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 or computing expertise is required. Cost:2 WL:1 (Price)

301. Mass Communication Theory. (3). (SS).

This lecture and discussion course will present a broad overview of the various theories of mass communication processes and effects on individuals and the social system. Mass communication effects on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals, as well as influences on the functioning and ideology of social systems will be covered. After initial review of basic social scientific concepts and methods necessary for an understanding of the reading material the course will examine theory and research efforts, proceeding, in general, from investigations of individual to societal-level processes. Critical reading and evaluation of social scientific theory and research is expected, and is developed. Grading will be based on midterm, a final, and a paper, in addition to occasional section assignments. Cost:2 WL:1 (Oshagan)

420/Pol. Sci. 420. Politics and the Mass Media. Pol. Sci. 111, 300, 410, or 411. (4). (Excl).

This course is devoted to a simple proposition: that the mass media have become an inescapable element of the American political system at every level from state to national government. This course will examine how the press covers politics, the impact of press coverage on politics and policy, government officials' strategies for using the media to their advantage, and how the press influences public opinion and shapes the political agenda. A special focus of this course will be the role of the press in the presidential election process, with an emphasis on what we can learn and predict about the 1996 race already underway. WL:1 (Thrall)

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