Assignments and Course Policies


(20%) Course Engagement-This is a seminar-based class. You are expected to come to class having completed the readings. Please note, some of these readings are challenging and as a result may seem confusing. I will do my best to clarify them in class and will need your help. Many, although not all, of these works are canonical readings in media studies. You can often find interpretations and clarifications of their message through a simple Internet search.

(15%) Critical Questions -For each of the readings, you are expected to write two questions about the readings on our Blackboard website. We will use these questions as a starting point for discussion in class. Each question should provide evidence that you have read and engaged with the work. In the past, most students have demonstrated this by directly quoting the material. For instance: “On page [x], [author] examines the issue of [y], how does [y] relate to [z].”

(10%) Quiz on Film Techniques-You will take a quiz on Blackboard that identifies various film techniques. The quiz will be mix and match. You can take the quiz as many times as you would like.

(10%) Media Theory Paper-Students will write a four to five-page paper about the film Eighth Grade. In the paper, you are expected to pick one or more of the theorists we have discussed so far as a lens for critically analyzing the movie. In addition, you will compare the media environment in the film to your own.

(15%) Comparative Paper-You will write a five-page paper comparing an “old” media film directory with a “new” media YouTube personality. You will provide a brief biography of the person before analyzing their works and their audience. Please note that students have found this exercise easier when comparing film directors before the 1990s but ultimately the choice is yours.

(10%) Journal Entry-Students will write two journal entries in Blackboard during the latter half of the semester. The first journal entry will focus on your own personal reactions to watching the documentary White Like Me. The second journal entry will look at gender. You will identify a depiction of yourself in Pleasantville and reflect on its in/accuracy. All journal entries will be private between student and instructor.

(20%) Final Presentation-You will make a 3-day video journal assignment of your experiences using media. The video should have a two-and-a-half-minute introduction and two-and-a-half-minute conclusion that iterates what you are hoping to accomplish in the task. For each day, you should expect roughly five minutes per day. These videos will be private.


All assignments should be submitted through the Blackboard website for this class. No email submissions will be accepted. Blackboard will automatically deduct a letter grade for each day that a paper is late. Please note, Blackboard maintains a log of activity, including failed upload attempts.


To cut down on the number of grade contestations, I provide a rubric for all assignments you submit. I rarely change grades after they are given out. Nonetheless, if you are interested in disputing a grade, I require that you wait two weeks after the grade has been assigned to you. In addition, I will only dispute grades during office hours. Disputes over email will be ignored.


I have no problems with students using laptops, tablets, etc. to take notes and look at readings in class. Cell phones should be on silent. If you receive a call that you absolutely must answer, please step out of the classroom to do so. While I will not police students for their electronics use, students that constantly check social media, the news, or email inevitably talk less and lower their participation grade. They also tend to have less engagement with the course and a lower comprehension of the material, which reflects in their assignments.


To make it easier for you to see me, I have set my office hours to be after this class. If this time does not work for you, please coordinate with me to discuss other times. In most cases, I wait for students to arrive to my office hours for about fifteen minutes before leaving. If you plan to meet me in the latter part of the office hours, please let me know beforehand so I know to wait for you.

I check email frequently, and I am happy to respond to students through it. I do not, however, discuss grades over email. I encourage students to see me during office hours to talk about their grades, any assignments that they may have difficulty in, or support in managing school. I will read drafts if given at least one week before the assignment is due. I am also willing to meet with students on Skype, FaceTime, coffee shops, etc. if provided enough time to coordinate these events. I would prefer that students not use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues to contact me regarding the classes. I use these for professional and/or personal use, and they are not the best ways to get in touch with me. Finally, students should maintain professionalism throughout office hours. I will not meet with students that are visibly belligerent and angry.