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COMM 3376 Media Effects Spring 2022 Instructor Ginger Vaughn E mail gkvaughn central uh edu Online Office Hours By appointment please email me Course Time Tue Thu 8 30am 10am Course Location AH 304 Course Website Zoom and https uh edu blackboard This syllabus is intended to give students guidance regarding the structure of this course and the material that will be covered I will follow the syllabus as closely as possible but also reserve the right to make changes to readings assignments dates etc as needed Please note the last three pages of the syllabus include University of Houston s required and recommended syllabus language with important information and resource links Course syllabus has been adapted with permission from previous course instructor Dr Allison Archer Description and Goals of the Course This course offers an introduction to critical studies in media focusing on their social and political effects Students will gain an awareness on key issues related to media effects and what these effects mean in the context of our society Please note that our primary focus will be on media effects in relation to American politics particularly given the U S presidential election this fall We ll cover several large themes that explore media effects from various angles including the role of the press in a democratic society factors that shape news coverage how media affect our understanding of groups issues policies and politics how technological advancements affect what we learn from the news media and campaign news coverage By the end of this course students will have a better grasp of these concepts and related theories as well as improved critical thinking skills about media effects on their daily lives Readings The readings for this course include empirical social science articles journalistic articles and popular readings based on social science research There are no assigned books that you will need to purchase Copies of all assigned readings or links to them are available on Blackboard and are organized by topic Students are responsible for all reading assignments regardless of whether they are discussed in class Class participation via appropriate input and thought provoking questions grounded in the readings is expected All readings should be done before the class period for which they are listed as they serve as background for the day s discussions class activities and lecture Readings may change slightly and new readings may be assigned throughout the semester It s important to remember that these texts are just a starting point My hope is that they will pique your interest so that you explore beyond what is assigned Additional readings and viewpoints are always welcome in class discussions to help enrich all of our learning experiences 1 Course Delivery Method Synchronous Online For the first two weeks of class this course will meet by Zoom due to UH policies around Covid Links to the class are available on Blackboard From February 2022 I hope to see you in person in class Class delivery may be modified due to policies around the ongoing Covid pandemic It is imperative that you download Zoom on your computer or mobile device and that you check your UH email frequently We will also use Blackboard frequently in this course Given these uncertain times due to the COVID 19 pandemic flexibility is crucial I understand if students are sometimes unable to attend the live class but I do ask that you watch any recorded class meetings and stay on top of the material Course Requirements Weekly Reflection Journals 15 In lieu of a traditional participation grade this course will require weekly reflection journals in Blackboard that will ask students to answer questions about the content covered in a given week The journals will be made visible on Blackboard after each Thursday class meeting starting from February with a question or series of questions Students are encouraged to complete their journal right after Thursday s class but they have until the end of the weekend Sunday at 11 59pm to complete their entry Examples of journal questions might include What were the most interesting two concepts you learned in our classes this week What was the hardest concept to learn this week and why What is the difference between two concepts Journal responses do not need to be expansive essays but they should demonstrate engagement with the week s class meetings and materials The suggested journal response length is roughly one paragraph approx 4 sentences per question Responses will be graded on a three point scale check minus check and check plus No response means a score of a zero is recorded There will be 10 weeks total with journal entries I will drop the lowest two grades In other words you will get two weeks that are a freebie meaning that if you do not complete those two weeks journals those grades will eventually be dropped Media Diary 15 2 4 double spaced pages plus daily diary For one week 7 days students will keep a detailed diary of all media they consume newspaper TV radio Netflix movies social media podcasts etc The media diary will need to note the content that was consumed its source what it was about when it was consumed and which sources actors protagonists were elevated At the end of the week students should write 2 4 double spaced pages analyzing what they learned about their media consumption habits and how those habits may affect their knowledge about the world around them In particular students should address each of the following how often they were exposed to and consumed views different than their own the breadth of voices and perspectives they were exposed to what topics they consumed and what was missing from their consumption to what extent their views did did not change based on what they consumed This assignment is due Tuesday 2 8 22 by the start of class News Comparison and Analysis 20 approx 3 double spaced pages Compare two articles from two different news outlets of differing ideological political views incorporating insights from at least three class readings and related discussions Make sure your pair of articles covers the same topic or event if you are unsure double check your articles or sources with the professor first Your comparison should summarize the main focus of each 2 article the stated problem or issue it addresses and its implied relevance or consequences In addition your paper should compare each of the following elements across the two

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UH COMM 3376 - Syllabus

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