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Introduction to Mass Communication

Course Details

Course Number
MCOM 1233
Section Number
MCOM 1233
Spring 2013
Fain Fine Arts Center
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR @ 9:30 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Liz Minden (view Profile)

Course Attachments


Course Objectives


The course is designed to give you a broad understanding of the development of mass media and the theory, issues and trends in mass communication.  In addition to lecture information, students are expected to participate in class discussions, conduct research on mass communication topics, and read/watch current mass media news and information that will help them understand mass communication in an increasingly complex technical and global environment.  By the end of this course, students should be able to:

1. Explain how each mass medium developed and currently operates.
2. Outline some of mass communication’s concepts and theories.
3. List some of mass media’s social, legal, ethical and regulatory constraints.
4. Discuss the complex issues and trends surrounding mass communication and mass media, and how they affect the future of mass communication.

Course Expectations


1. QUIZZES are unscheduled and held at the instructor’s discretion.  They will cover lecture information, any assigned readings and/or discussion topics, and are worth 5 to 10 points each.  Quizzes will be held at the beginning of class, so be on time.

2. GROUP DISCUSSIONS – each discussion is worth 15 points
 Like quizzes, these discussions are unscheduled and held at the instructor’s  discretion.  Students will be divided into groups and answer questions on the selected  topic.  All students in each group must participate in these discussions.  At the end of the  discussion period, each group will elect someone to present results to the class.

3. THREE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS – each assignment is worth 50 points
a. These assignments are about a variety of mass communication topics.  You will examine some information and write answers to specific questions; written instructions will be provided and include the grading criteria for each assignment.
b. Homework Assignment Due Dates:  2/14, 3/7, and 4/4 – no exceptions!

4. PERSONAL JOURNAL – Each entry is worth 25 points - total of 200 points
a. This project involves finding 8 recent articles relating to mass media and/or mass communication and writing a synopsis of the article, as well as your thoughts about the information in these articles.  A handout detailing this assignment and its grading criteria will be provided.
b. DUE DATES:   1/31, 2/7, 2/21, 2/28, 3/26, 4/11, 4/18 and 4/25 – no exceptions!

5. FINAL EXAM – this exam is worth 100 points
a. This will be a take-home essay exam that asks you to tie together certain course information and evaluate issues.  You will be given a handout explaining the assignment and its grading criteria, as well as several days to write the exam.
b. DUE DATE:  Tuesday, May 7, by 10 a.m. – absolutely no exceptions!!

Grading Standards


1. Late work will not be accepted, but you may turn in your work early.  Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period.  A late assignment earns a zero for points. 
2. Fabricating information or using another’s work as your own earns you an “F” for the course.  Other sanctions may apply.  (See “Course Policies” #2.)
3. Points will be deducted from typed assignments that have numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
4. Students are expected to come to class having read any assigned materials upon which quizzes, writing assignments and classroom discussions are based.
5. Your ability to make up any missed assignment is at the sole discretion of the instructor.
6. Numerical grades will be awarded for each quiz and assignment.  To determine your grade for the course, quiz and assignment grades will be totaled and then divided by the total number of possible points to derive your percentage. The grading scale is:

      A = 90% -100% of the total possible points
      B = 80% - 89% of the total possible points
      C = 70% - 79% of the total possible points
      D = 60% - 69% of the total possible points
      F = Less than 60% of the total possible points

**NOTE:  The instructor reserves the right to add or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  If for some reason the number of assignments total more or fewer than the original number set for the course, the method of calculating your final grade will remain the same:  the total points a student achieves for all submitted assignments will be divided by the total possible points for all the assignments to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined above.

Final Exam 05/07/2013 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Submission Format Policy Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

Late work will not be accepted, but you may turn in your work early.  Assignments are due at the beginning of the class period.  A late assignment earns a zero for points.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance:  Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student from the course who misses more than three class periods during the semester.

Other Policies


1. Attendance:  Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class.  The instructor reserves the right to drop any student from the course who misses more than three class periods during the semester.

2. Plagiarism and cheating:  The MSU Student Honor Creed, found in both your student handbook and the university catalog, includes the statement:  “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.”  Plagiarism, lying and cheating include, but are not limited to:  fabricating information and sources, copying material from publications without crediting the author, turning in another student’s work as your own, and copying quiz/exam answers from another person.  STUDENTS FOUND CHEATING, PLAGIARIZING OR FABRICATING INFORMATION WILL RECEIVE AN “F” FOR THIS COURSE.

3. Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability who is registered with MSU’s Office of Disability Support Services should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course if you need any accommodations to participate in this class.
4. Limited Right:  By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. This “limited right” shall include, but shall not be limited to, the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.

5. FERPA:  The instructor abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  The instructor also will not release a student’s academic information or discuss a student’s academic progress or class attendance with his/her parent or guardian.  Additionally, the instructor will not discuss a student’s grades with him/her during class, over the phone or by email.  STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT GRADES MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.

6. Disruptive Behavior:  Anyone disrupting the class – or violating any other Standard of Conduct applicable to the classroom environment – will be dropped from the course.  (See MSU Student Handbook, “Standards of Student Conduct.”)

a. Turn off the sound on your cell phone during class; no text messaging either.  If your phone rings or you’re found sending a text-message during class, you will be dropped from the course.
b. Turn off your iPods and similar technology.  Like ringing cell phones, this is a class disruption issue and you will be dropped from the course if you do not comply.
c. Be polite.  Discourtesy of any kind will not be tolerated.

7. Senior Portfolio:

 Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio as part  of their Internship course (Internship is a prerequisite to Senior Production). This  requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges  and Schools and is non-negotiable.  Through the portfolio, students are required to  demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual  communication; two examples of each competency are required.

 As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that  could be included in your senior portfolio.

 Please see me, your adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty  member for handouts with more information ("Mass Communication Portfolio  Competencies" and "Mass Communication Portfolio FAQ"). These handouts are also  available on our department web page:

8. Other:  You may be asked to provide your assignments on a portable computer medium (e.g., jump/thumb drive) or by email.

BE AWARE THAT the instructor reserves the right to change ANY part of this syllabus for any reason, and will give sufficient notice if changes are necessary.

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at