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Section 001 Winter 2006

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-10:50 p.m., 115 McKay Building

Instructor: Dr. Dale Cressman Office: 318 BRMB, 422-1686 Hours: Mon & Wed, 10-11:30 Or by appointment e-mail:
IM: doctorcressman (AIM, Yahoo, MSN)

Teaching Assistant: Clarissa Lassig Phone: 836-8568 e-mail:

This syllabus is a good faith effort to describe our semester plans, but I reserve the right to make changes as needed to enhance learning opportunities. It is your responsibility to learn of any changes if you miss class. Do not ask me to call you on the telephone to explain what you missed. Changes will usually be posted on the courses Blackboard page.

Course Overview
Youve heard it said that we live in an information age. In this course you will discover the role of mediated communication in our postmodern society. This course is an introduction to the mass media industries, their interaction with audiences, and their subsequent influence in society. Communications majors will be better prepared in their future studies by the study of the historical development of todays media, the significant principles and theories that relate to these media, how media and their messages can affect our lives, the business side of the media and future employment opportunities, and many of the current debates regarding the value of media and their messages. Future Comms students will also benefit from the weekly deadlines and intense schedule of the class, because it is reflective of our upper-level curriculum. You will also benefit as a consumer of media by becoming more media literate.

Learning Outcomes
The course has been designed to achieve the following departmental objectives: 1. We want our graduates to become professional media practitioners. To accomplish this, students need to: Know and articulate the roles of communicators defined by their history, their professions, and the expectations of society; Understand the social value of freedom of speech and of the press; Know and apply the law and legal principles that guide professional practice; Know and practice professional etiquette expectations, such as meeting deadlines. We also want our graduates to be prepared to contribute to their societies. To accomplish this, students need to: Understand the impact media and their messages have in society; Understand the organizational, economic, and social constraints placed on media. Think critically about complex issues related to media and society; Understand and respect the diversity of opinion, background and experiences of different groups in a global society. Finally, we want our students to become proficient communicators. In this class you are expected to write in a way that is clear, fair, accurate, compelling, and when appropriate persuasive. Your writing should be free of spelling and grammatical errors.



Comms 101 Syllabus Winter 2006 (Dr. Cressman) page 2

To accomplish these outcomes, we will study: The historical developments of each medium to understand why there are what they are today. Current trends and issues in the media such as consolidation, convergence, and audience fragmentation Economics and business side of media Legal, regulatory, and ethical implications of media practices Theories of media processes and effects Job opportunities and expectations in print and broadcast journalism, public relations, and advertising The role of individuals and pioneers in developing modern media expectations and practices, with particular focus on women and minorities.

In order to meet the above objectives, this course will employ multiple learning strategies, including a blend of lectures and team-based active learning activities. At the beginning of the semester you will be placed in a learning team (usually consisting of five students). You should sit with your team members during class time, as you will be working together on such things as tests, discussions, and presentations. Your team members are to be a resource for your learning. For example, if you miss class or dont understand a concept under consideration, you should consult first with your team. We will rely heavily on mediated slide presentations and video presentations. A few guest speakers will be invited to class to introduce you to various media industries and to explain the academic programs in the Communications Department.

Learning Material
The main textbook is a customized version of The Dynamics of Mass Communications (Eighth Edition) by John Vivian. It also draws a selection from Mass Communication: Living in a Media World by Ralph Hanson. This customized book is available in the BYU Bookstore. Taking Sides: Mass Media and Society, 8th Edition, Alison Alexander and Jarice Hanson, McGraw-Hill. It is available in the BYU Bookstore. You are asked to read the New York Times daily, paying particular attention to media and communicationrelated stories. (Typically these are found in the business section.) The paper is available at a discounted price and will be delivered to a box outside the Brimhall Bulding. To subscribe, go to the Service Desk on the textbook floor of the BYU Bookstore. You will be assigned to view five videos outside of class during the semester. You will also be required to answer questions about these videos. These videos will be available in the library LRC.

Teaching Philosophy
As your instructor, I want you to know how excited I am about sharing this course with you. One of my jobs is to share that enthusiasm for this subject and to guide you through the learning experience. While I look forward to helping you however I can, I believe students are responsible for their own learning. It is this belief that has led me to embrace a student-centered, active learning method called Team-based Learning. What is Team-based Learning? The traditional teaching method is the lecture, a professor-centered approach in which an instructor pours knowledge into passive students, who memorize the material for a test, then quickly forget it. Research indicates that while lectures are an efficient manner of disseminating information, they seldom lead to deeper learning; knowledge gained through self-discovery is longer-

Comms 101 Syllabus Winter 2006 (Dr. Cressman) page 3

lasting and more meaningful.1 Lecturing also privileges those students whose learning styles are predominately auditory in nature, while students with more tactile-oriented learning styles do better with active learning methods. Team-based learning is a relatively new, student-centered active learning method, in which students prepare by reading assigned materials before class, and then participate in classroom activities with team members.2 Teams are formed at the beginning of the course and remain formed for the duration of the semester. To assure that students are prepared for classroom activities, a reading assessment is administered at the beginning of a major unit. Students first take this assessment individually, then with team members. Both individual and team scores are recorded. Teams may appeal a score in writing if it can demonstrate that it understood the concepts but missed an answer because the question was ambiguous. Individual assessments may not be appealed. Why teams? Most industries in the communications field depend upon teamwork. Whether you end up in advertising, public relations, or journalism, you must be able to work effectively with others. There is also sufficient evidence that teamwork is beneficial to the learning process. If youve worked in a class group before you may have been dissatisfied with the experience: You may have felt as though some group members did not contribute, or you were unhappy that for a particular project you received a low grade because you were in a dud group. Team-based learning builds incentives for all students to contribute to the team. For one thing, the team stays together throughout the semester and become dependent upon one another in team assessments. Furthermore, at the end of the semester, students rate the performance of their teammates. According to Team-Based Learning pioneers at the University of Oklahoma, teams are distinct and more powerful than groups:
q q

When a teacher initially puts students into a group, the students are a group, not a team. As the students begin to trust each other and develop a commitment to the goals and welfare of the group, they become a team. When they become a cohesive team, the team can do things that neither a single individual nor a newly-formed group can do. Team-based learning starts with groups and then creates the conditions that enable them to become teams.

I hope you enjoy this learning experience and I look forward to your suggestions on how to improve it.

General Learning and Assessment Plan

Knowledge of media history, theories, issues, laws, regulations, ethics, and trends will be assessed in a number of different ways: 1. Summative evaluations will take the form of four exams and a comprehensive final exam. These exams will be given in the testing center (exact dates are listed in the class schedule), will consist of multiple-choice questions, and will cover assigned readings, lectures and other classroom activities, as well as assigned videos. 2. Formative evaluations will take place in class: students will be given five short reading assessments, covering material in the assigned readings. Students will first take the evaluation individually, and then take the same evaluation with team members. Both the individual and team score will be recorded. In order to help you think critically about complex media issues, you will complete five viewing assignments, log and evaluate your own media use, investigate and write about a communications major

L. Dee Fink, Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses (Jossey-Bass, 2003). 2 Larry K. Michaelsen, Arletta B. Knight, and L. Dee Fink, eds., Team Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups (Stylus, 2004).

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and career of your choice, and participate with your learning team in a class presentation and media debate: 3. There will be five out-of-class viewing assignments. For each video there is an online worksheet in the assignments area of Blackboard. The videos will be shown in the LRC and on campus cable. Please see the broadcast schedule provided in the Viewing Assignments folder in the assignments area of Blackboard to learn when these videos are available. To help you examine your own use of the media and articulate your growing awareness of how the media operate, you will complete a media consumption diary and analysis. A full explanation of the assignment and examples are available in the media diary folder in the Assignments section of Blackboard. To engage you in the complex issues facing media today, you will participate with your team in a media debate. The issue and position you are to take will correspond with an assigned chapter in the Taking Sides textbook. Your team will give a 7-minute presentation on your side of the issue, trying to persuade the class on that position. Another team will present the other side during the same class period, in an effort to persuade the class to its position. Part of your grade will depend on an evaluation by the class. You can use anything in your presentation that helps you make your case: PowerPoint slides, videos, scripted scenarios, etc. But, remember you only have 7 minutes to make a succinct presentation. You must use five sources outside of your Taking Sides chapter. You will turn in a printed outline and bibliography for a grade and three multiple-choice questions that could be used on an exam. Most but not all students who take this class go on to apply for admittance to a major in the Communications Department. In order to prepare students and help them assess whether this major is for them, the class will introduce the various majors. Students will also write a career paper, summarizing their findings about a major and career they are interested in.




There are a few other considerations you should be aware of:


At the conclusion of the semester, your team members will have an opportunity to evaluate your performance and your contributions to the team. There may be some opportunities to earn extra credit throughout the course. These could include participating with the media, attending relevant seminars and speeches, etc. Only opportunities that are available to everyone in class will be considered for extra credit (no personal experiences). If you learn of something that might be considered as an extra credit opportunity, please inform me. All assignments must be done on a word processor and printed out in 12-point Times font with one-inch margins. Hand-written assignments will not be accepted. Unless otherwise noted (ie. team assignments) students must do their on work. Any work that is copied from another student, book, or online source is an Honor Code violation and will result in an automatic failing grade for the course.

Your final grade will be calculated based on the following weighting system: Exams Final Exam Reading Assessments A AB+ B 94-100 90-93 85-89 80-84 30% 20% 20% BC+ C CAssignments Class/team contributions 20% 10%

75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64


56-59 53-55 50-52 Below 50

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You will be able to check your progress in class through Blackboards online grade book. Please do this throughout the semester and bring any discrepancies to the attention of the TA or the instructor as soon as possible. I will not welcome appeals for assignment grades after the last day of class. A few words about grading are in order. The BYU Undergraduate Catalog indicates that a grade of A signifies excellent performance; a B is good, a C is satisfactory, while a D is a minimum passing grade. While BYU admits very good students, it is extremely unlikely that all students in a class of this size perform at a level that justifies an A grade. The instructor will not impose an artificial curve on the distribution of final grades. Nevertheless, a natural distribution of sorts typically emerges in which a minority of students earn As. Undoubtedly, those students who earn an A will have worked hard for it. However, hard work alone does not justify an A. Inasmuch as a C indicates satisfactory performance, it can be assumed that this is the default position. It is not up to the instructor to justify why he did not give you an A. Your final grade will be determined by your performance. Naturally, the instructor is willing to consider a final grade change in the event that an error in calculation has been made.

Incompletes Policy
As per University policy, incompletes are not given for academic emergencies. Be aware of the drop deadline for this semester, as listed in the University catalog. Students who qualify for incomplete status must initiate the process by paying a fee and providing the instructor with the designated paperwork before the end of the semester.

Class Schedule
This syllabus includes a class schedule, which we will try to keep. However, this is a goal only. If needed, it will be changed. Youll be given advance warning if a change is to be made. This syllabus and other class-related materials are available on the class Blackboard site, accessible through your Route Y account.

Attendance is expected! An attendance sheet may be passed out during each class and it is your responsibility to make sure youve signed it. Unexcused absences will be negatively affect your class participation and citizenship score. Excessive absences will also negatively affect your teams performance and may result in a bad evaluation from your teammates at the end of the semester.

Late Assignments
All assignments are due before the deadline identified on the course schedule, unless changed by the instructor, and should be submitted (whether on-line or hard copy) at the beginning of class on the day identified in the course schedule. The Department of Communications has identified meeting deadlines as a significant learning outcome for this class. This learning outcome reflects the fact that the communications industries are deadline-driven and that meeting deadlines is an essential component of this program. The content of this class is intended to help you be prepared for this demand of the work world. The Communications faculty has determined in classes teaching to this learning outcome, such as this one, the ability to meet deadlines is essential and will not be waived, modified or accommodated, except in rare cases to be determined by the instructor. In deciding whether extra time will be given for an assignment in this class, the instructor will apply a professional standard such as whether an extension would be reasonable in a professional setting. In practical terms, this means that late assignments will not generally be accepted.

Classroom Etiquette
Be on time to class. This isnt just courtesy, it is a behavior befitting a professional. Please turn off your cell phone when you get into class. Refrain from text messaging, reading the newspaper or e-mail, or surfing the web. Once you are in class you are expected to stay the entire time. Attendance is counted for those who attend the entire period; if you have to leave during class because of a conflicting appointment, you will not get credit for attendance. There will be opportunities for class discussions and conversations.

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Please keep your conversations limited to those moments so that you do not disturb the learning environment for others. In order to maintain a professional relationship between student and professor, you are encouraged to address me as Doctor Cressman. I will try my best to learn your name, though in a class of this size I find that to be a rather daunting task. You are encouraged to visit me during my office hours and to consult with the TA for routine course questions. You are welcome to call me if you have a genuine emergency. However, please understand that in a class of this size, I will not be able to answer telephone messages for routine matters. E-mail is typically the best way to reach me and I will try my best to respond in a timely fashion.

Academic Honesty
Always do your own work. You may work with others in the class, but when you turn in something with your name on it, you are saying I did this. Do not copy anothers answers on video worksheets, extra credit, or written papers. You may discuss these answers with others in your group or class, but be sure that it is in your words and reflects your knowledge or understanding when you put your name on it. Any academic honesty violations will result in an automatic failing grade and your name will be referred to the BYU Honor Code Office. All provisions of the BYU HONOR CODE will be in place for this class. This means being truthful in all of your academic activities: no lying, no cheating, no plagiarism, and living by the standards outlined by the university. If you are not sure what is included, please review the Honor Code, found in the University catalog, or online at:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity receiving federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and student-to-student sexual harassment. BYUs policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please talk to your professor, contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895 or 4225689 (24 hours), or contact the Honor Code Office at 422-2847. Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability, which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the SSD Office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-282 ASB.

About your instructor

Dr. Cressman has worked as a television news producer in South Bend, Indiana; as an Executive Producer in Waco, Texas and Salt Lake City; as a Managing Editor in Green Bay, Wisconsin; and as a line-up editor at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He worked for the Host Broadcaster during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. In 1995, Dr. Cressman was producer "Russia: Hidden Memory" which earned an Emmy Award for best documentary. Before first coming to BYU in 1993, he was an assistant professor and news director at Lyndon State College in Vermont. He was an assistant professor at Brigham Young University and news director of KBYU TV and FM between 1993 and 1996. He left BYU to work on a PhD. Before returning to BYU in 2000, he taught at Utah State University for three years. He is writing a biography of former ABC News president Elmer Lower, to be published by the University of Missouri Press.

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