Communication and Social Change

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
CMNS 1220
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is an introduction to the forms, theories, and institutions of communication as they relate to broader social change challenges. Students will engage with issues related to the study of communications, technology, and social change, with a specific focus on the social and cultural dimensions of media, ownership, development, and conflict. Students will address contemporary issues in and around themes of change and be encouraged to explore the role of media in social movements, international development, politics, democracy, capitalism, and global change.
Course Content

Students will be exposed to a range of issues facing society at various levels, from domestic to
global. Specific focus will be given to issues of political economy, media industries and power,
technological innovation and disruptions and contemporary societal shifts.
A range of subjects will be used to structure investigation into these issues; this may include
(but is not limited to):

  • Participatory culture and activism
  • Disaster response and communications
  • Citizen journalism
  • Networked social movements
  • Fan activism
  • Free speech
  • Alternative infrastructure/media ownership
Learning Activities

Instruction will consist of weekly lectures, as well as seminar-style discussions of specific issues
and case studies. Students will be required to engage in weekly case study research,
demonstrating their ability to bring theory into conversation with lived experience.
Some or all of the following methods may be used:

  • Lecture/seminar
  • Media (including video and documentary film)
  • Discussion of class readings and materials
  • Independent research
  • Group discussion and debate
  • Student-provided materials
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with the
Douglas College Evaluation Policy. An evaluation schedule is presented at the beginning of the
course. The exact means of assessment will be responsive to the adjusting media landscape.
An example of assessment types and weights is below:

  • Case study journal 30%
  • Position paper/presentation 20%
  • Mid-term exam 20%
  • Final exam 20%
  • Attendance and participation 10%
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and interpret the various sides of complex domestic, international, and global
    issues, with an emphasis on moving away from binary arguments of "right" and "wrong"
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of theory through the analysis of contemporary case
    studies in media and social change
  3. Engage with both structured group discussions and independent research
  4. Research and analyze a particular issue of social change in depth, resulting in a well-
    rounded and academically grounded position on the role of media in specific social
    change practices
  5. Respond to prompts and debates in the field of communication and social change
Textbook Materials

Suggested texts: 

There is no assigned textbook for this course. Readings will be made available to students and
will cover canonical readings and recent peer-reviewed journal articles.




No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for CMNS 1220
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOSC 1XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU CMNS 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU CMNS 1XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR COMC 1XX (3)
Coquitlam College (COQU) COQU CMNS 130 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU COMM 1XXX (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG ARTS 1XXX (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC MCS 1XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC CMNS 1XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CMNS 130 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CMNS 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU MCOM 1XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW COMM 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ARTS_V 1st (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) No credit
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV MACS 299 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 1XX (1.1)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) VCC UNSP 1XXX (3)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) No credit

Course Offerings

Fall 2024

section details
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New Westminster - South Bldg.
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