Media & Communication Discovery Courses

COM 208 - Global Media

1 course unit

Provides a comparative analysis of the principles guiding the organization, development, and operations of media systems in different political, economic, social, and cultural contexts.  Considers the global expansion of mass media and the increasing connections of world citizens in a “global community.”  Compares the production, distribution, reception, and effects of mass mediated messages in countries around the world.  Topics explored include media systems and their social and political contexts, media and revolution, global media intersections with local audiences, and politics of international news and entertainment flows. 

 

COM 212 - New Information Technologies

1 course unit

Explores the prospects and problems that surround the introduction and diffusion of new information technologies in society.  Students consider the social, political, economic, and cultural impacts of new information technologies on personal privacy, self-identity, social relationships, information access, and global citizenship.  Thematic focus varies from semester to semester with case studies drawn from gaming, social media, virtual communities and realities, and computers and the organization of work and learning. 

 

COM 218 - Media & Patriotism

1 course unit

This course looks at the contested relationship between media and government in both historical and contemporary contexts.  Students explore the representation of war in American news and entertainment media, taking an historical view of popular narratives around military interventions from conventional wars to the twenty-first century war on terror.  Students will develop an understanding of the historical relationship between American foreign policy, popular history, media, and the press.  Among the questions to be explored are the public’s right to know, reporters’ access to information, and government censorship. 

 

COM 220, 221 - Free Culture

1 course unit

This course explores current debates surrounding free culture, specifically, 1) the history and development of notions of copyright in the nineteenth century and “intellectual property” in the twentieth century, 2) processes of media convergence and digitalization in today’s media, 3) the development of the free, open source software (FOSS) movement in the late 1970s and the challenge to proprietary software found in the Linux operation system, 4) digital distribution of music, the Napster debate, and remix culture in the music industry, 5) Wikimedia and the new power of “crowdsourcing” in knowledge labor, 6) Net neutrality, and 7) the philosophy and development of the digital commons, enshrined in the Creative Commons license and the legal implications of such licenses for artists, musicians, audiences, and citizens.  Students will use an open source computer OS (Linux) and free software tools to contribute to a class digital project on a topic related to the free culture movement. 

   Meets general academic requirement SL (and W when offered as 221).

 

COM 224 - Feminist Media Studies

1 course unit

Feminist scholars have long studied the relationship between gender and media.  This course will explore how television, film, popular music, and cyber culture play a central role in representing, defining, circulating, and constructing gender.  This class takes a multi-media approach; for example, we will study how cultural forms depict different gendered characters on TV shows like Sex and the City and Modern Family, how certain genres are particularly open to queer interpretations like the musical, and how teen girls appropriate the magazine format to produce and circulate their own stories.  This course will be oriented historically to examine how gender roles are constructed by media in specific historical contexts, and then how those representations change (or do not change) over time.  Since much research on gender and the media has historically focused on femininity, this course will likewise focus on femininity, but we will also study the relationship between media and masculinity and sexuality, as well as how gendered identities are always also informed by other relations of power, such as race, class, ethnicity, and age. 

Meets general academic requirement SL

 

COM 225 - Journalistic Traditions

1 course unit

Introduces students to the great traditions of interpretive, documentary, and advocacy journalism and photojournalism.  Includes analysis of exemplary works in the tradition and provides some opportunities to develop skills through individual projects. 

 

COM 227 - Scientific Communication

1 course unit

Introduces students to the many aspects of scientific communication, exploring how the information scientists produce gets to other scientists, the media, policymakers, and the public at large. Students will examine the history of the field, challenges with current models of scientific communication, and case studies from the current literature. Students will also learn to write, edit, and add references to Wikipedia articles, ultimately producing credible online science entries. 
Meets general academic requirement IL.

COM 240 - Introduction to Film Analysis

1 course unit

Introduces different strategies and different approaches for analyzing film and video texts, including formal, narrative, social/cultural, and feminist.  Students will develop an understanding of the grammar, vocabulary, and conventions of film and video production and the factors that shape viewers’ reception. 
Meets general academic requirement HU.

 

COM 242 - Twentieth Century Media: Film, Radio, & Television

1 course unit

Analyzes the historical development of radio, film, and television genres, technologies, and formats and considers the cultural, economic, political, and social climates in which they evolved. 
Meets general academic requirement HU

 

COM 246 - CopyRight & Culture

1 course unit

Copyright was envisioned in the United States as a motivating force for creativity in “science and useful arts.” Yet the scope and duration of copyright have expanded dramatically in recent decades. How does this expansion affect both the user and producer of creative works? Has copyright achieved its creative ends, or outgrown its usefulness to become a hindrance to creativity? Students in all disciplines will benefit from learning in this course the fundamentals of copyright law that pervade our everyday lives, affecting our use and authoring of creative works. The course will cover among other key elements the history of copyright, the process of acquiring copyright, the scope and duration of copyright, the public domain, fair use, acquiring permission, and the Creative Commons

 

COM 251 - Introduction to Moviemaking

1 course unit

Introduces basic concepts of time-based visual media (film, video, digital) with an emphasis on the perception, operation, and experience of moving images, kinesics, and the structure and aesthetics of cinematic language.  Students will learn how to work with cameras and audio and post-production equipment 
Meets general academic requirement AR.

 

DOC 150 - Introduction to Doc Storymaking

1 course unit

This course is an introduction to digital documentary storymaking. It merges the critical study of documentary media with the hands-on construction of documentary stories. Working with tools of the documentary arts—video, still images, audio, writing—students will acquire the foundational skills of media production and effective storytelling while absorbing and analyzing rich examples of documentary storytelling over time and place.  The course provides a survey of traditions and issues in documentary media and an introduction to documentary practices and methods. Students will study representative works from a variety of documentary approaches and learn to analyze the techniques of observation and representation at use in these pieces. Finally, students will become familiar with major theoretical constructions of documentary and be able to use these analytical tools to critique both historical and emergent documentary forms.  Students will complete several small documentary projects to be gathered in an e-portfolio to be further developed in the capstone.