Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Class Description

The television landscape has changed drastically in the past few years; nowhere is this more prevalent than in the American daytime serial drama, one of the oldest forms of television content. This class examines the history of these “soap operas” and their audiences by focusing on the production, consumption, and media texts of soaps. The class will include discussions of what makes soap operas a unique form, the history of the genre, current experimentation with transmedia storytelling, the online fan community, and comparisons between daytime dramas and primetime serials from 24 to Friday Night Lights, through a study of Procter & Gamble’s As the World Turns.

Viewing Materials

In each week’s viewing lab, we will be watching the Procter & Gamble Productions/TeleVest soap opera produced for CBS Daytime Television, As the World Turns (1956-present). There may be occasional viewings of texts for comparison in regular class sessions.

Reading Materials

There is only one book required for this course:

Allen, Robert C. Speaking of Soap Operas. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. ISBN: 9780807841297.

All other readings for the course will be provided on MIT Server, as the other books we will be reading are currently out of print.

Attendance Policy

There will be none. Students must attend regularly to complete the assignments.

Class Assignments

Class blog 30%
Term paper 30%
In-class participation 20%
Discussion board participation 20%

Course Key Dates

11 Term paper topic due
15 Term paper proposal due
20 Term paper outline/writing sample due
26 Final paper due

Writing and Communication Center

The Writing and Communication Center offers you free professional advice from published writers about oral presentations and about all types of academic, creative, and professional writing. Go to MIT Online Writing and Communication Center and click on the yellow sunburst. If you cannot find an open appointment slot, do not despair. There are always cancellations on the day of the appointment (sometimes as many as 15 cancellations in one day). Click on the Wait List (the blue strip that says “Is the time that you want already reserved?”). Whenever a cancellation occurs on that day, you will be automatically notified by email. Because several people might receive that same message, go online ASAP to schedule that open spot; 96% of clients who want an appointment end up with one if they use the Wait List. If you still can’t find an appointment, try the Online Tutor.

Statement on Plagiarism

Plagiarism — 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 and the MIT Web site on Plagiarism.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples