21L.015 | Fall 2005 | Undergraduate

Introduction to Media Studies


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

Course Description

Introduction to Media Studies is designed for students who have grown up in a rapidly changing global multimedia environment and want to become more literate and critical consumers and producers of media. Through an interdisciplinary comparative and historical lens, the course defines “media” broadly as including oral, print, performance, photographic, broadcast, cinematic, and digital cultural forms and practices. The course looks at the nature of mediated communication, the functions of media, the history of transformations in media and the institutions that help define media’s place in society. This year’s course will focus on issues of network culture and media convergence, addressing such subjects as Intellectual Property, peer2peer authoring, blogging, and game modification.

The class as taught this year is a theory and practice course. During the semester we explore different theoretical perspectives on the role of media in influencing our social values, political beliefs, identities and behaviors as well as working with different forms of media production. The class will analyze specific media texts (such as film, net-based media, and sci-fi novels) and explore the standard of values in relation to terms such as “true account” or “real time.” When stories take new forms, does that change the nature of the stories themselves? We look at the ways in which the politics of nationality, globalism, and identity influence both the production and reception of media. To represent different perspectives on media, several guest speakers also present lectures. In addition to producing critical writing for the course (non-fiction essay and research papers), students will organize in work groups to produce a media project to be presented at the end of the semester.

Course Requirements

2 Oral Presentations 15%
2 Media Assignments (Wiki and Podcast) 15%
3 Papers 5-7 Pages (N.B. the Third Paper is a Revision of Paper 1 or 2) 30%

Final Media Project

(Working Groups) Media Project + 5 Page Project Description (Co. authored) + Bibliography


Details of assignments can be found under the dates they are due on the class calendar.

Class attendance and participation are required. Assigned reading must be done in time for the class for which is it assigned. Suggested readings are elective. Recitation sessions and evening labs are mandatory. All written assignments are to by typed, including notes for recitation.

Working Groups for Media Projects

A media project shall be presented at the end of the course based on the research interests and technical design of a Working Group. Groups may contain between 2-3 people. Working Groups must be formed from within Recitation groups. Permission is required from instructor for larger groups. A minimum of 2 meetings outside of the class is required of the Working Groups. Each working group must give a presentation on a topic for class and a presentation on the final media project.

Field Trips

Media Lab in Lec #8


Recitations meet on Thursdays during the scheduled class period. Students are expected to take notes from their reading. Reading notes (a one-page minimum) must be handed in at the start of the recitation session each week. They may also be posted on the discussion site for the class or as blog entries. Please email your recitation TA if you chose to electronically post notes-in this case, notes must be posted the evening prior to the second lecture each week.


The use of another’s intellectual work without acknowledgement is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else’s work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student’s own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center. You may visit their Web site.

Writing Center

The Writing and Communication Center offers consultations on student writing. We encourage you to visit the Writing Center at any point in the writing process: prewriting, drafting or revising a piece of writing. The Writing Center also offers consultations on oral presentations. You may visit their Web site.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2005
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Media Assignments
Presentation Assignments