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CMS 3101: Media & Culture

Instructor: Dr. Virginia Bonner
Messages: vbonner@clayton.edu :-)
678-466-4713 :-(
678-466-4769 fax
Spring 2015
3-0-3 credit hours
CMS 2010, FILM 2100, and COMM 1110 and CMS Writing Assessment
Meetings: CRN 80782: TR 2:10-3:25pm in Music 215
Office hours: Scheduled via AdvisorConnect, met by email, phone, & by appt. in Music 105 or via Skype: virginia.bonner (use direct-dial Skype button from my homepage link above)
Web Address: www.virginiabonner.com
Teaching Interns: Ms. Alberta Lyons and Ms. Stephanie Jones
Review Sessions TBA and Office Hours by appointment

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

This course focuses on the cultural theories and practices of visual, aural, and written media. We will survey the interrelationships among the major forms of global media, including cinema, television, advertising, print, and digital media. In addition, we will explore issues related to media and culturally diverse communities, including the impact of cultural contexts and audience expectations on aesthetic and ethical interpretations. We will then question how we, as a society, learn to respond to and interpret these messages.

A central idea in our class is that knowledge and images conveyed through media texts are not neutral; rather, they socialize and discipline us even as they entertain and inform us. In this course, then, we will closely analyze several media texts and discuss how cultural media work to create meanings. Through this process, we will become more thoughtful readers, viewers, and consumers of those messages.

Course Format

The format of this class is largely discussion-based (class and small group), with lecture, films, in-class and out-of-class assignments, a group presentation, daily quizzes, and three exams.

The most productive teaching/learning experience results from an interactive process. Ultimately, this is your class; each of you will contribute to this learning experience through active contemplation and discussion. Though I will lecture on occasion, I will not be reading you facts that you will then regurgitate by rote. Instead, we will explore topics together, and we will all challenge ourselves to think critically about these ideas.

Since everyone will contribute to the teaching/learning experience this semester, this means that you must contribute to the class discussion daily. It also means that if you see or hear something outside of class that you think is relevant to what we've been discussing, please bring it to class and share it with us.

Always arrive five minutes early to class lectures, not only because we will start promptly but also because late arrivals are extremely disruptive. If you must arrive late, always enter the room quietly and then sit quietly on the aisle or in the back; do not step over people to get to a favorite seat, since this blocks the view of the screen for others. Do not text, eat loud foods, sleep, answer cell phones, operate computers, check email, work on other projects, talk with classmates, or leave the room for food or other non-emergencies during class lectures; these are a time for serious study of our media texts so you should be taking copious notes during each film to prepare for your quizzes, class discussions, and exams. Those who choose to text, to frequently exit the classroom mid-lecture, or to create other disruptions will be asked to leave the classroom since these behaviors disrupt your classmates and professor very much. Thus, any texting in class or repeatedly leaving the classroom during lecture will also lower your final course grade.

Individuals with disabilities who need to request accommodations should contact the Disability Services Coordinator, Student Center 255, 678-466-5445, disabilityservices@mail.clayton.edu.

Required texts

The following texts are available from the University Bookstore or from online retailers such as Amazon (direct links below). If you choose to order online, be sure you order the correct edition and that you order it WELL before class starts!

  • McLuhan, Marshall and Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. Paperback, Gingko Press; New ed (Oct 2005) http://www.amazon.com/
  • Glassner, Barry. The Culture of Fear, 2000. http://www.amazon.com/
  • Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. Penguin, 1972. http://www.amazon.com/
  • Selected PDF articles available online printed out and brought to class
  • Selected films screened either during class meetings or viewed outside of class

Required films

You are responsible for screening these films outside of class by the dates listed on the schedule. You may purchase these titles and add them to your collection, or you may rent them from a vendor of your choice. Or, to save money, you can always view them for free on reserve in the CSU library.

  • Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999; 139 min.)
  • Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002; 125 min.)
  • Office Space (Mike Judge, 1999; 90 min. min.)
  • Disney's The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994; 90 min.)

The following films may be screened in class.

  • Killing Us Softly 3 (Jean Kilbourne, 2000; 30 min.)
  • Color Adjustment (Marlon T. Riggs, 1991; 90 min.)

Computer Requirement

Each CSU student is required to have ready access throughout the semester to a notebook computer that meets faculty-approved hardware and software requirements for the student's academic program. Students will sign a statement attesting to such access. For further information on CSU's Official Notebook Computer Policy, please go to http://www.clayton.edu/hub/itpchoice/notebookcomputerpolicy.

Computer Skill Prerequisites

Able to use the Windows operating system
Able to use Microsoft Word word processing
Able to send and receive e-mail using Outlook or Outlook Express
Able to attach and retrieve attached files via email
Able to use a Web browser
Able to use GeorgiaView/Blackboard

In-class Use of Student Notebook Computers

Student notebook computers will not be used in the classroom in this course, except for one or two dates that will be posted on our syllabus in advance. Computers will be required to access course materials and to communicate with your instructor outside of class. On-line assessments will take place in GeorgiaVIEW, the virtual classroom for the course. 

Disability Services

Individuals with disabilities who need to request accommodations should contact the Disability Services Coordinator, Student Center 255, (678) 466-5445, disabilityservices@mail.clayton.edu.