Introduction to Media and Communication Studies

Faculty
Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department
Communications
Course Code
CMNS 1221
Credits
3.00
Semester Length
15
Max Class Size
35
Method Of Instruction
Lecture
Tutorial
Online
Hybrid
Typically Offered
Fall
Winter
Campus
Online

Overview

Course Description
CMNS 1221 introduces students to Media and Communication Studies by exploring major theories that explain how and why we communicate the way we do. Students explore theories that explain how communication influences our perspective of others, the world and ourselves. By examining media messages from journalism, entertainment and advertising, students explore how the media create meaning and how technology shapes the ways we communicate. Students will use the theories discussed to analyze excerpts from TV shows, films, news media and digital media.
Course Content

Instructors will give students a representative sample of current theories within the discipline of Communication while focusing on media communication.  Instructors will draw on at least four of the seven major traditions within communication theory.  The seven traditions and some of their associated topics are listed in the table below:

Tradition

Examples of Associated Topics

Rhetoric

  • Five Canons of Rhetoric
  • Identification
  • Dramatism
  • Narration and Paradigm
  • Genre Studies

 

Socio-Psychological

  • Message Production
    (communication anxiety, accommodation and adaptation, cognitive theories, message selection, message design)
  • Message Reception and Processing
    (message interpretation, information organization and integration, Expectancy-Value Theory, Expectancy Violations Theory, cognitive dissonance)

 

Cybernetics

  • Cybernetics
    (feedback, second-order cybernetics)
  • Fundamental System Principles
    (hierarchy, self-regulation and control, interchange, balance, change, equifinality)
  • Information Theory (language and information, information transmission)
  • Dynamic Social Impact Theory

 

Semiotics

  • Signs, symbols and language
  • Semantics, syntactics and pragmatics
  • Generative grammar
  • Semantics of Non-Verbal Behaviour
  • Theories of Discourse
  • Speech Act Theory
  • Conversation Analysis

 

Socio-Cultural

  • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Structuration
  • Convergence
  • Social Construction of the Self
  • Coordinated Management of Meaning
  • Language and Culture
  • Linguistic Relativity
  • Social Exchange Theory

Phenomenology and Hermeneutics

  • Phenomenology
  • Text Hermeneutics
  • Cultural Hermeneutics
  • Ethnography of Communication
  • Interpretive Media Studies
  • Organizational Communication

 

Critical Theory

  • Structural Approaches
  • Hegemony
  • Post-Structuralist Approaches
  • Cultural Studies
  • Feminist Critiques
  • Post-Colonial Critiques

 

Any single course offering must apply the theories covered to the following three objects of analysis:

  1. media and culture
  2. policy and political economy
  3. society and technology.
Methods Of Instruction

Instruction will primarily be lecture and discussion format.  Instruction will also include viewing and analyzing excerpts from TV shows, films, news media and digital media. Some instructors may also include viewing and analyzing recorded meetings, presentations, conversations or interviews.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.   At least 50% of students’ evaluation will come from written work on which students receive feedback and instruction on their writing.

Students will be evaluated on the following work:

  • one short explication paper on a major Communication theory (5-15%)
  • one short case study of a specific media message (5-15%)
  • one mid-term exam (15-25%)
  • one essay comparing at least two Communication theories (20-30%)
  • one research paper analyzing a contemporary medium, trend, event, technology or development in Communication  (15-25%)
  • professionalism (attendance, participation, group work, preparedness, homework) (5-10%).

Instructors may also include a final exam, provided the final exam is not worth more than 30% of the final grade.  If a final exam is included, instructors will alter the weighting of other assignments to achieve a total course mark of 100%.

Exact means of assessment and their percentages for course grade will be specified in the instructor’s course outline.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the successful student will be able to satisfy the following learning objectives:

  1. Identify the major schools of thought in Communication.
  2. Summarize major theories about how we produce messages and assign meaning in oral, written and media communication.
  3. Analyze major issues in contemporary media communication.
  4. Evaluate how mass media and new (digital) media influence political, economic and social discussion.
  5. Judge how mass media and new (digital) media influence cultural production and social development and interaction.
  6. Explain and illustrate how technology influences communication.
  7. Read and write competently within a variety of academic genres.

Assess communication theories for testability, usefulness, completeness, simplicity and presence of value-assumptions.

Textbook Materials

The course material will introduce students to some primary sources by key theorists. Course materials will include instructor-designed course packages composed of scholarly essays and/or first-year textbooks that introduce first-year students to a broad coverage of Communication theory.

The following list is a sample of appropriate textbooks:

  • Griffin, Em.  Communication: A First Look at Communication Theory
  • West, Richard and Turner, Lynn H.  Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application
  • Littlejohn, Stephen.  Theories of Human Communication
  • Baran, Stanley J. and Davis, Dennis K.  Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment and Future.

Requisites

Prerequisites

No prerequisite courses.

Corequisites

No corequisite courses.

Equivalencies

No equivalent courses.

Requisite for

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

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO CMNS 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU CMNS 112 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Coquitlam College (COQU) COQU CMNS 110 (3) 2005/09/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) No credit 2005/09/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG CMNS 1XXX (3) 2005/09/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CMNS 110 (3), B-Soc 2005/09/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) No credit 2005/09/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU MCOM 1XX (3) 2019/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU COMM 250 (3) 2005/09/01 to 2018/12/31
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO ELEV 1st (3) 2005/09/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV ELEV 1st (3) 2005/09/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC ENGL 1XX (3) 2005/09/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV MACS 110 (3) 2005/09/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC WRIT 1XX (1.5) 2005/09/01 to -

Course Offerings

Fall 2020

CRN
Days
Dates
Start Date
End Date
Instructor
Status
Location
33048
Tue
08-Sep-2020
- 07-Dec-2020
08-Sep-2020
07-Dec-2020
Rennie
James
Waitlist
Online
This course will include synchronous on-line activities. Students should plan to be available on-line at scheduled course times.
Max
Enrolled
Remaining
Waitlist
35
34
1
7
Days
Building
Room
Time
Tue
9:30 - 12:20
CRN
Days
Dates
Start Date
End Date
Instructor
Status
Location
34784
Thu
08-Sep-2020
- 07-Dec-2020
08-Sep-2020
07-Dec-2020
Rennie
James
Waitlist
Online
This course will include synchronous on-line activities. Students should plan to be available on-line at scheduled course times.
Max
Enrolled
Remaining
Waitlist
35
35
0
5
Days
Building
Room
Time
Thu
9:30 - 12:20