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RTF305,Spring2016WB:IntroductiontoMediaStudies(Online)

CourseWebsite:https://utexas.instructure.com/ (UTEIDandpasswordrequired)
Instructor:SwapnilRai

TeachingAssistants:
ClaireLee:shinhea.lee@utexas.edu (Lead TA)
TupurChatterjee:tupurc@gmail.com
Xiaoqian Lee: freya-lee@hotmail.com

Email:swapnilrai@utexas.edu

*Treatthissyllabusasyouwouldacontract.Byregisteringforthiscourse,youareagreeingtoabide
bytherulesandproceduresoutlinedbelow.Pleasebesuretoreadtheentiresyllabuscarefullyandask
theinstructororaTAifyouhaveanyquestions.*
CourseDescriptionandObjectives
Thisisafullyonlinecourse,centeredonawebsitehostedonCanvas(canvas.utexas.edu).Allcourse
activitiesotherthanreadingthetextbookandcoursepacketwilltakeplaceonline.Thatincludes
lectures,whichwillbestreamedinshort(1520minute)segments;somefilmsanddocumentaries,
whichwillbestreamedintheoriginallengths,unlessediteddownbyus;discussiongroupactivities,
includingpostingandcommenting;andquizzesandtests.Studentquestionswillbehandledeither
throughemail,Canvasmessages,orannouncementsthroughCanvas.ThereareNOfacetoface
meetings.
Thiscourseexaminesthecontextandsignificanceoffilm,electronicanddigitalmediainpastand
contemporarysociety.Theissuesweexplorethroughoutthesemesterprimarilyrevolvearoundthe
questionsofhowmediashapesociety,andinturn,howsocietyshapesmedia.Integratingtheoreticaland
practicalapproachestounderstandingmedia,thecoursewillprogressinthreestages:Duringthefirst
partofthesemester,wewillintroduceyoutothekeytheories,concepts,andissuesrequiredto
understandthedevelopmentandroleof,aswellastherelationshipsamong,mediatechnology,industry,
text,andaudience.Wewillspendthesecondpartofthesemesterfocusingonthehistoryandcurrent
stateofspecificmediaindustriesmusic,film,radio,television,advertising,PR,mobilemedia,video
gamesandtheInternet.Duringtheremainderofthesemester,wewilldiscussmediainthecontextof
regulation,globalizationandrecentsocialchange.Inordertoprovideyouwithamorediverseand
qualitylearningexperience,wewillhaveseniorfacultymembersoftheRTFDepartmentjoinusas
guestlecturerstodiscusstheirareasofspecialty.
Ourprimarygoalofthiscourseistohelpyoubecomeaninformedandcriticalreader/userofmedia,or
inotherwords,amedialiterateperson.Uponsuccessfulcompletionofthiscourse,youshouldbeable
to:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.

Definethekeyterms,theoriesandconceptsrelatedtomediastudies;
Explaintheeconomic,social,andpoliticalforcesthatshapemediaindustries;
Describethevariouswaysthataudiencesusemediaintheirlives;
Broadlytracethehistoricaldevelopmentofthemajorformsofmedia;
Explaincontemporaryissuesthatwillaffectthefutureofmajorformsofmedia;
Applykeytheoreticalapproachestohistoricalandcontemporarycases.
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RequiredReadings
1.Thetextbookisacustomlooseleaf(lowercost)versionof:
Straubhaar,J.,LaRose,R.,&Davenport,L.(2013).Medianow:Understandingmedia,culture,and
technology(8thed.).Belmont,CA:Wadsworth,CengageLearning.
ThetextbooksareforsaleattheUniversityCoop@2246GuadalupeStreet.
2.Theremayalsobesomesupplementaryreadingsforsomeweeks.Acoursepacketthatincludesall
theadditionalreadingsisavailableatJennscopies@GuadalupeandDeanKeaton.
Thereisafairlyextensiveamountofreadingforthiscourse.Pleaseleaveampletimetocompletethem,
notingthatyoumayhavetoreadeachonemorethanoncetounderstandthemfully.Wewillconductthe
classlectures,discussions,andscreeningsbasedontheassumptionthatyouhavecompletedthereadings
andthatyouhaveageneralunderstandingofthekeyissuesandargumentsraisedbythereadings.We
expectforyoutobeabletodiscussthereadingsduringyouronlinegroupdiscussions.Thequizzesand
testswillalsoincludequestionsregardingthereadings.Pleasefurthernotethatwedonotlectureonall
ofthematerialintheassignedreadings.Therefore,skimmingthechaptersorreadingthenightbeforea
testwillbeofverylittlehelp.Wealsostronglyrecommendthatyoutakenoteswhilereadingthrough
thematerial.Ifyouarenotpreparedtokeepupwiththereadingassignments,thisisnottheclassfor
you.
StudentResponsibilities
Pleasehelpusmaintainahealthylearningenvironmentforyouandyourclassmates.Byregisteringfor
thiscourse,youagreetoabidebytherulesandregulationsgoverningthisclass.Youareresponsiblefor
allinformationstatedinthissyllabusinregardstoyourdutiesandresponsibilities.Theseinclude,but
arenotrestrictedto,thefollowingpoints:
1. StreamingLectureViewing:Althoughwedonotkeepofficialrecordsofyourlectureand
screeningattendance,weexpectthatallstudentswillwatchthelectures.Watchingandtaking
notesonlecturesandscreeningsiscrucialtoyourperformanceonquizzes,tests,discussions,and
reflectionsinthecourse.Bepreparedtotakenoteswhileyouwatchlectures.
2. Screenings:Treatstreamingscreeningsasyouwouldaregularlecture.Screeningsequally
requireyourfullattentionandnotetaking.Theywillbeonthetests,too.Inafewcases,youwill
havetorentafilmorpaytostreamit.WeCANNOTputscreeningmaterialonreserve.
3. CourseReadings:Youarerequiredtocompletetheassignedreadingspriortowatchinglectures.
Lecturesanddiscussionswilldependonyourunderstandingofthereadings.Weexpectforyou
tobepreparedtoanswerquizquestionsandparticipateindiscussionsonthesereadings.
4. Communication:Canvasandemailareessentialtoolsforcommunicatinginthiscourse.
Announcements:WewilluseAnnouncementsinCanvastodisseminateinformationtothe
entireclass.Youcanexpectatleastoneannouncementeachweek.Youareresponsiblefor
readingallannouncementsandaskingquestionsifanythingisnotclear.

Emailandmessages:TocontacttheinstructororTAs,useemailorsendamessagethrough
theCanvasInbox.WewilluseemailorCanvasmessagestocommunicatewithstudents
individually.
Emailaccount:CanvassendsnotificationstoyourofficialUTemailaddress.Itisyour
responsibilitytoregularlychecktheemailaccountthatislistedforyouintheUTdirectory
andtoensurethatyouremailaccountisworkingproperly.TheinstructorandTAsarenot
responsibleifamessagetoyoucannotbedeliveredduetoanincorrectemailaddressorfull
inbox.
Notifications:YoucanchangethefrequencyofnotificationsinCanvas.Westrongly
recommendgettingnotificationsforConversationMessagesandAnnouncementsASAP
(thesearethedefaultssettings).Ifyouarenotreceivingnotificationsofannouncementsand
messages,checkyournotificationsettingsinCanvas.Youcanaddadditionalmethodsof
contactforCanvasnotifications,includingFacebook.Formoreinformationonconfiguring
yourprofileandnotifications,goto:
https://utexas.instructure.com/courses/633028/pages/configure-your-profile-andnotifications.

5.FormoreinformationaboutCanvasandUTsemailpolicy,pleaserefertotheinformationlisted
underCanvasandUniversityElectronicMailNotificationPolicyinthissyllabus.
CourseRequirementsandAssessment
Requirements
WeeklyquizzesonFridays
Twononcumulativeexams(alsoonFridays)
DiscussionGroupPostingandComments
TwoReflectionPieces

Total

PercentofFinalGrade
20%
30%
20%
30%
100%

1.Quizzes(20%)
OneveryFridaytherewillbeamultiplechoicequiz,whichcoverstextbookchapters,otherassigned
readings,lectures,andfilmscreenings.Eachquizwillhavefivequestions.Eachquizhastwotypesof
questions:
1. Three knowledge and comprehension questions that assess your recall of definitions and
information related to main topics and how well you understand main ideas and how they are
used.
2. Two application questions assess how well you can apply main concepts and ideas to real
world situations.
Youget6minutestotakeeachquiz,whichwillbeopenfrom8amto7pmonFriday.Itisvery
importantthatyoureadyourassignedtextsonaweeklybasis,andthatyouwatchalllecturesand
screenings.Wearegoingtorequireyoutokeepupwiththedaysonwhichmaterialistobereadand
watched.Ifyoustayuptodatewiththematerialandquizzes,youhaveanexcellentchanceofdoing
wellinthecourse.Ifyoudon'tkeepup,andstartmissingquizzes,itisalltooeasytofailthecourse.In
fact,thereisaquizonthesyllabusinthefirstweek.Youmustpassittomoveontootherunits,sincewe
wantyoutobefamiliarwiththesyllabus,whichwillanswermostquestionsaboutthecourse.
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Quizzeswilldrawrandomlyfromalargepoolofquestions.Notwostudentswillgetthesamequiz
questions.The quizzes have been carefully constructed to be as equivalent as possible so each student
gets the same number of knowledge/comprehension questions and applications questions.
Therewillbenoquizzesonexamdays.
2.Twomajorexams(30%)
Wewillhavetwomajorexams,oneatthebeginningofspringbreakandtheotherduringthelastweek
ofclass.EachwillbetakenonlineviaCanvas,justlikethequizzes.Onweekswithmajorexams,there
willbenoquiz.Youcanseethedatesonthedetailedcalendarbelow.Eachaccountsfor15%ofthe
semesterstotalgrade.Eachtestwillbemadeupof25multiplechoicequestionsthatcovermaterials
takenduringthatportionofthesemester.Eachwillalsocoveralllectures,screenings,andreadings,just
likequizzes.Examsdrawrandomlyfromalargepoolofquestions.Eachstudentreceivesauniquesetof
questions.Eachexamisrequired.Nomakeuptestswillbeallowed.Studentswithdisabilitiesare
requiredtopresenttheappropriatedocumentationforspecialtestingarrangements.Wewillprovideyou
withareviewsheetincludingkeytermsandspecificguidelinesbeforeeachtest.Thereisnofinal
cumulativeexam.
3.DiscussionGroupPostingandParticipation(20%)
Discussiongroupsareheldonlinefrom7amMondaymorningthrough11pmThursdayevening.You
willbeassignedadiscussiongroupviaCanvasafterthe12thclassday.Atthattime,youwillalsobe
informedofthenameofyourTA.YouMUSTparticipateintheCanvasdiscussiongrouptowhichyou
areofficiallyassigned.
Everyweek,inyourCanvasdiscussiongroup,wewillexpectyoutopostalinktoanewsstory,blog,
videoclip,etc.thatisrelevanttothecontentissuesforthatweek.The link you share should be clearly
related to the discussion topic. Your posting should demonstrate your understanding of the discussion
topic and show that you have thought carefully about the readings, lecture, and other material for the
week. Eachweek,youwillalsohavetocommentonatleasttwootherpersonsposting,andgenerally
participateinyourdiscussiongroup.Only substantial responses count. For example, feel free to say
Good point! or I agree, but substantiate why you agree or think that someone has made a good
point. Casual, brief or monosyllabic comments will not count toward you required participation
comments. Theseformsofwritingandyouroverallactiveparticipationwillbecountedeachweekfora
totalof20%ofyourfinalgrade.
4.ReflectionAssignments(30%)
Twotimesasemesteryouwillbeaskedtoreviewyourdiscussionpostingstoreflectuponthemata
deeperlevel.Youshouldpickyourbestposting(inyouropinion)andyouroneworst:rewritethem,and
addinwhattheissueyouselectedrepresentsinthelargerframeworkofthecourse,whattheoriesbest
applytotheexampleyouselected,whatyoulearnedbywritingthem,whatyoulearnedfromthe
feedbackyoureceived.Iwillprovideyouwithadetailedgradingoutlinefortheseassignments
sometimeinmidFebruary.Reflectionassignmentswilltaketheplaceofweeklydiscussiongroup
postingsandwillbedueatthesametime(by11pmThursdaynight).
5.CalculationofFinalGrades
Thesumofyourscoresforalloftheabovewillresultinyourfinalscoreforthecourse.Yourfinal
numericscoreswillbeconvertedintolettergrades.WeDOassignplus/minusgradesinthiscourse.You
willbeabletofollowyourgradeinrealtimebygoingtoCanvasandlookingattheGradebook
section.
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Hereisthegradingsystemofpointsandgradesthatwewilluse:

OfficeHours
Sincethisisafullyonlinecourse,therearenoofficialofficehours.Pleasecontactusbyemailifyou
wanttosetupafacetofacemeeting,phone,Skype,oronlinemeeting.However,wehavefoundthat
99%ofallproblemscanbesolvedbyemailorCanvasmessages.
UniversityElectronicMailNotificationPolicy
AllstudentsshouldbecomefamiliarwiththeUniversitysofficialemailstudentnotificationpolicy.Itis
thestudentsresponsibilitytokeeptheUniversityinformedastochangesinhisorheremailaddress.
Studentsareexpectedtocheckemailonafrequentandregularbasisinordertostaycurrentwith
Universityrelatedcommunications,recognizingthatcertaincommunicationsmaybetimecritical.Itis
recommendedthatemailbecheckeddaily,butataminimum,twiceperweek.Thecompletetextofthis
policyandinstructionsforupdatingyouremailaddressareavailableat
http://www.utexas.edu/its/policies/emailnotify.html.Inthiscourseemailwillbeusedasanimportant
meansofcommunicationwithstudents.Youwillberesponsibleforcheckingyouremailregularly.
Canvas
ThiscourseusesCanvas,aWebbasedcoursemanagementsystem.Thecoursesyllabus;lecturenotes;
announcements;andguidelinesforassignments,quizzes,andtestswillallbepostedtoCanvasona
regularbasis.Youcanloginathttps://utexas.instructure.comwithyourUTEIDandpassword.Thelink
totheIntroductiontoMediaStudies,RTF305CanvassiteshouldappearunderyourMyCourses
menu.Youwillberesponsibleforbeingactiveonthecoursesiteeveryweek.
IfyouhaveanytechnicalproblemswithCanvas,westronglyencourageyoutocontactCanvas
Support.YoucaneitherdothisbyclickingontheHelpmenuonthetoprighthandcornerof
yourmainCanvasmenuorbydirectlycallingthemat8553082494.Thehotlineisavailable24/7.
Asthisistheirfulltimeresponsibility,theywillbeabletohelpyouinafractionofthetimeit
wouldtakeoneofus.
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TheUniversityofTexasHonorCodeandAcademicIntegrity
ThecorevaluesofTheUniversityofTexasatAustinarelearning,discovery,freedom,leadership,
individualopportunity,andresponsibility.EachmemberoftheUniversityisexpectedtoupholdthese
valuesthroughintegrity,honesty,trust,fairness,andrespecttowardpeersandcommunity.
AsastudentofTheUniversityofTexasatAustin,youareobligatedtoabidebythecorevaluesofthe
Universityandupholdacademicintegrity.

ScholasticDishonesty
TheUniversitydefinesacademicdishonestyascheating,plagiarism,unauthorizedcollaboration,
falsifyingacademicrecords,andanyactdesignedtoavoidparticipatinghonestlyinthelearningprocess.
Scholasticdishonestyalsoincludes,butisnotlimitedto,providingfalseormisleadinginformationto
receiveapostponementoranextensiononatest,quiz,orotherassignment,andsubmissionof
essentiallythesamewrittenassignmentfortwocourseswithoutthepriorpermissionoftheinstructor.
Byacceptingthissyllabus,youhaveagreedtotheseguidelinesandmustadheretothem.Scholastic
dishonestydamagesboththestudentslearningexperienceandreadinessforthefuturedemandsofa
workcareer.StudentswhoviolateUniversityrulesonscholasticdishonestyaresubjecttodisciplinary
penalties,includingthepossibilityoffailureinthecourseand/ordismissalfromtheUniversity.For
moreinformationonscholasticdishonesty,pleasevisittheStudentJudicialServicesWebsiteat
http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/sjs.
ServicesForStudentsWithDisabilities
Anystudentwithadocumenteddisabilitywhorequiresacademicaccommodationsshouldcontact
ServicesforStudentswithDisabilities(SSD)at(512)4716259(voice)or18663293986(video
phone).Facultyarenotrequiredtoprovideaccommodationswithoutanofficialaccommodationletter
fromSSD.
WritingAssistance
TheUndergraduateWritingCenter,locatedintheFAC211,phone5124716222,uwc.utexas.eduoffers
individualizedassistancetostudentswhowanttoimprovetheirwritingskills.Thereisnocharge,and
studentsmaycomeinonadropinorappointmentbasis.Youmightalsowanttocheckouttheoptions
availableattheSangerLearningCenter,http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/slc.
ReligiousHolidays
Religiousholydayssometimesconflictwithclassassignmentsandexaminationschedules.Ifyoumissa
workassignmentorotherprojectduetotheobservanceofareligiousholydayyouwillbegivenan
opportunitytocompletetheworkmissedwithinareasonabletimeaftertheabsence.Itisthepolicyof
theUniversityofTexasatAustinthatyoumustnotifyeachofyourinstructorsatleastfourteendays
priortotheassignmentdeadlinescheduledondatesyouwillbeobservingareligiousholyday.

StudentAthletes
Atthebeginningofthesemester,studentathletesandparticipantsofotheruniversitysponsored
organizationswhowillmissassignmentdeadlinesduetouniversitysponsoredcommitmentsmust
presentaletterinemailformfromtheathleticdepartmentorappropriatesponsoringoffice.

ClassSchedule
Pleaserefertothecoursecalendarscheduleonthefollowingpagesforlecturetopicsaswellasassigned
readingsandscreenings.Youwillreceiveaweeklyannouncementfromusthathastheweeks
assignmentsandlivelinkURLsforstreaminglecturesorfilmswhereappropriate.Thatemailwillalso
containlinkstodiscussiongrouppromptswhereappropriateandquizzes/tests.

Date

Introductory

Module:
mustbe
completed
1/1924
Week1

1/2531
Week2

2/17
Week3

2/0814
Week4

Readings(from
MediaNowand
theCoursePacket
(CP))
Syllabus(from
emailorCanvas
site)

Screenings
(availableonline)

MEDIANOWCh.1

MEDIANOWCh.
14

Assignments

Courseorientation, Quizwillremain
Swapnilintro
open,butmustbe
video
completedbefore
youcanviewother
assignments
Introductionto
RTF305;Digital
Convergenceand
Society
Friday,January30:
MediaIndustries, Week2Quiz
Practices,and
Theories

None

MEDIANOWCh.
2;Croteauand
Hoynes,Media
andIdeology
(PDF)
None(makesure
towatchthe
moviesclosely)

Topics(Lectures
foreachweekon
Vimeosite)

StillKillingUS
Softly;Tough
Guise;StuartHall
onRaceandthe
Media

Race,Gender,
Class,Ethnicity
andtheMedia
HowMedia
Affects
Individuals;How
MediaAffects
Society

None

MonThu:Week3
Discussion
Friday,February05:
Week3Quiz
MonThu:Week4
Discussion
Friday,February12:
Week4Quiz

2/1521
Week5

MEDIANOWCh.
6

2/2228
Week6

MEDIANOWCh.
5

RadioDays

2/293/6
Week7

MEDIANOWCh.
7;Schatz,The
studiosystem
(PDF)

Casablanca

MEDIANOWCh.
8

TVEpisodes:I
LoveLucy,Allin
theFamily,Curb
yourEnthusiasm

3/0713
Week8

3/2127
Week9
3/284/03
Week10

4/044/10
Week11

4/114/17
Week12

Berg,A
taxonomyof
alternativeplots
(PDF)
MEDIANOWCh.
10;Nichols,Intro
toDocumentary
(PDF)
MEDIANOWCh.
1011

MediaHistory:
Radio

MediaHistory:
Music

MediaHistory:
Film

MediaHistory:
Television

SpringBreak!Enjoy
None
FilmLanguage&
Aesthetics(Online
GuestLecturesby
ProfessorCharles
RamirezBerg)
HarlanCounty
Documentary
USA
filmmaking;
PublicRelations
None

Policyand
Regulation,
Advertising
TheInternet;

MEDIANOWCh.
9;

MonThu:Week5
Discussion
Friday,February19:
Week5Quiz
MonThu:Week6
Discussion
Friday,February26:
Week6Quiz
MonThu:Week7
Discussion
Friday,March04:
Exam1
Thursday,March10:
Reflection1isdue
Friday,March11:
Week8Quiz
(CANNOTBE
TAKENEARLY
EXCEPTFOR
DOCUMENTED
REASONS)
MonThu:Week9
Discussion
Friday,March25:
Week9Quiz
MonThu:Week10
Discussion
FridayApril1:
Week10Quiz
MonThu:Week11
Discussion
Friday,April8:Week
11Quiz
MonThu:Week12
Discussion
Friday,April15:
Week12Quiz

4/1824
Week13

4/255/01
Week14

5/025/06

MEDIANOWCh.
13;Wellmanand
Rainie,Networked
(CP)

SocialMedia;
VideoGames

DigitalNation

None

MobileMedia

MEDIANOWCh.
12
MEDIANOWCh.
17

MonThu:Week13
Discussion
Friday,April22:
Week13Quiz
Thursday,April28:
Reflection2isdue
Friday,April29:
Week14Quiz

None

Globalization
Friday,May06:
Exam2

CourseOrganization:
Thereisaweeklycyclethatwillrepeateveryweek:readings,lectures,screenings,discussion
assignments,andquizzes/exams.Doreadingsfirst,thenscreeningswhenassigned(sincelectureswill
oftenrefertoboth),thenlectures.Keepupeachweekinordertonotfallbehindinthecourse,besureto
dodiscussionworkontimeandtakequizzesontime,oryouwilllosepointsyoucannotmakeup.
Previouscourseshavefoundthat80%ofthosethatkeepupnotonlypass,butusuallydowell.Ifyou
dontkeepupondiscussionworkandquizzes,youmaywellfailthecourse.Sowemakeyoukeepup
weekbyweek.Accordingtoonestudent:AsRTF305onlinewastechnicallymyfirstonlineclass,in
thebeginningIstruggledwithturninginassignmentsontimebutonceIestablishedaweeklyschedule
forwatchinglectures,turninginassignmentsandtakingquizzes,itbecameroutineandtheworkload
wasextremelymanageable.
This table shows the weekly cycle of learning activities and recommendations for when you carry out
each task.
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday

Readings should be completed before online lectures and screenings. You may choose to
do readings over the weekend, but ideally they will be complete by end of the day
Monday.
Online lectures and screenings
Respond to discussion prompt and comment on two other posts
Discussion replies and post due (or reflection papers on weeks when they are due)
Quiz (or exam)

Insteadofhourlonglectures,asinaregularclass,wewillhaveshortlecturesorconceptunitsof1520
minuteswhereyoulistentoaspeakerandwatchtheirslides,imagesandvideoclips.

Becausethisisacompletelyonlinecoursewithnoscheduled,facetofacemeetings,itwillbethe
easiestthingtoblowoffwhenprioritizingyourweeklytasks.Herearesometipstohelpyoube
successful:
Scheduletimefordoingonlinecourseworkjustasyouwouldforgoingtoafacetofaceclass.
Theoptimalschedulerequiresyoutodoclassworkthroughouttheweek.
Use a calendar tool for reminders of your scheduled coursework time and deadlines.
Keep up with the pace of the course. This course requires consistent effort each week. If you fall
behind, it will be difficult to catch up.

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