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Comm 2010, Mass Communication and Society
MWF 1-1:50 (CS 410)

short syllabus (pdf)

Instructor Information

Name:                   Dr. Christa Albrecht-Crane

Office:                   LA 121 U

Phone:                   863-6286


Office Hours:         MWF 9-10, 11-12, and by appointment


Required Texts 
The following books are required and available through the college bookstore by the end of January:

Course Description
This course explores the relationship between mass communication and society by offering a deeper understanding of how the media industry operate as well as emphasizing how students can become better informed media consumers and participants.  In order to better understand and evaluate the media, the course focuses on the following areas:

Classroom activities include in-depth discussions of assigned readings, exercises, lecture, and collaborative student work.  Written assignments and tests are designed to assist students in the learning process and to offer them an opportunity to synthesize readings and think critically about issues regarding media and society.  Students are expected to complete the assigned readings, to come to class prepared to discuss them, and to engage actively in their learning process--via class participation and involved writing. 

Class Grading
Grades in this course will be based on the following elements:

Participation                                        15%
Reading Quizzes                                15%
Critical Responses                              25%
Mid-term take-home exam                  20%
End-of-term take-home exam             20%
Final exam in class                              5%

Small group activities and class discussion will be emphasized.  Research shows that what occurs during class is an important part of the learning process so your attendance is necessary.  If you miss class, talk to a classmate or two and get their notes, then talk to me if you have specific questions about what we covered.  Excessive absences (more than three) will lower your grade.  Missing more than six classes will result in your failure of the class.   Attendance will be taken at the start of every class period, and late arrivals and early departures will count against you. 

Our class sessions will be structured almost exclusively around discussions.  It will be more enjoyable for all of us (and you’ll do better) if you (1) attend class regularly, (2) do the required reading, and (3) be prepared to discuss what we’ve read.  

In this course you are expected to be an active learner and to take responsibility for your work.  You should contribute meaningfully to our discussions on a daily basis.   Your participation will be affected if you miss class.  Consider that a good participation grade reflects consistent active participation throughout the semester.  “Heaping up” participation efforts one week in order to make up for low participation at other times will not help your overall score.  In order to encourage as much participation from as many students as possible, I will make every effort to insure that as many people as possible get to be heard during our in-class discussions. 

Please be advised that this component of the course is quite important and that I take it very seriously.  I strongly discourage “fluff” contributions and disruptions.  I reserve the right to penalize students who, in my judgment, make repeated and obvious efforts to undermine quality discussion and/or to bolster their participation score with irrelevant comments. 

Course Schedule
Students are responsible for reading and keeping up with the weekly course schedule.  Please be aware that this schedule is tentative and that it might be changed as we go along.  It is the student’s responsibility to make note of such changes when they are announced in class. 

Additional Help
Students can meet with me during my posted office hours of after scheduling an appointment.  I also encourage students to contact me by phone or email regarding specific help.  To make sure that I can help you when you need help, contact me as soon as you feel like you need assistance or support. 

I also recommend that you consult UVSC’s writing center as you draft your essays.  You can submit papers online (at with a turnaround time of 24 hours, or you can visit the Writing Center (with or without an appointment, depending on available tutors) in LA 201 for one-on-one tutoring help.

Classroom Etiquette
Cell phones, beepers, pagers, etc. are to be turned off before you come to class.  If you use laptops for note-taking during class, I insist that the computers not be used for any other purpose, i.e. to “entertain” fellow classmates with unrelated material. Also, please do not use your cell phone for text-messaging during class time.

Students with Disabilities
If you have any disability impairing your capacity to successfully complete this course, please contact the Accessibility Services Department (room BU-145).  Academic Accommodations are granted for all students who have qualified documented disabilities.  Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the Accessibility Services Department.

Academic Dishonesty
The Statement from the UVSC “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Code“ reads: “Each student is expected to maintain academic ethics and avoid dishonesty in all its forms, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, and fabrication as defined hereafter.”  Please read the complete "Student Rights and Responsibilities" section in the UVSC catalog so you are aware of your academic responsibilities.

With respect to this particular class plagiarism refers to knowingly copying another person’s work or ideas and calling them one’s own or not giving proper credit or citation.  This covers copying sections or entire papers from printed or electronic sources as well as handing in papers written by students for other classes or purchasing academic papers.  Plagiarism and cheating are not only dishonest but they cheat you out of learning.  You must submit your own work in this course.

The consequences for academic dishonesty are grave.  The penalty for a first offense is an F for the assignment; a second offense means that you fail the course and will be reported to the Department Chair and to Student Advising.  If you have any questions or concerns about plagiarism, please talk to me.


 This syllabus may be changed to accommodate the needs of the students or the instructor.