Media Literacy and Democratic Citizenship
The founders of the United States articulated the need for a literate citizenship as core to the development of a deep and enduring democracy. We live in an age when the most influential messages about pressing social issues and events are delivered through mass media, such as television, magazines and the Internet. Most students use the Internet as their primary source of information, yet few have any formal training in assessing the credibility of information in Web sites. It is essential to the success of our democracy that young people consciously and consistently analyze and evaluate media messages. They need to be taught to seek out current, accurate, and credible sources of information; they need to understand the influence of media messages on their understanding of the world; and they need training in identifying and using various techniques for communicating messages in different media forms. Without these critical skills, we risk losing the diversity and freedom of thought that underpins a culture of true democracy. --Project Look Sharp, 2005
Please take a few moments to review the syllabus! We'll be going over it on the first day and you'll need to refer to it throughout the semester.
There will be a brief syllabus quiz on Friday, August 31.
MDS 101-02: Media Persuasion in Everyday Life
LEP tier 1 Critical thinking
Communication, Media, & Screen Studies Department
Where: BU 204
When: 9:10 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. MWF
Your professor: Dr. Susan Clerc
If you need to contact me via email, please include the course (MDS 101-02) in the subject line.
Phone: 203 392-5735
Office: Buley 122I (ask for directions at the Reference Desk)
Office hours: Wednesday 1-2; Thursday 12-1; or by appointment
If you want to meet with me but can’t meet during my office hours, email me to make an appointment. In the subject line, please identify the class (MDS 101-02). In the message, please include your name, what you want to meet about, and at least 2 dates and times you’re available. I will reply as quickly as I can to arrange a meeting.
If you make an appointment but can't make it, email me as soon as possible to let me know.
A Course Syllabus is a Contract
A course syllabus is a contract between the student and the professor. It explains the course expectations and requirements. If you choose to stay in this course, and I hope that you do, you are confirming that you have read the course syllabus, understand its content, expectations, course and university policies, and will abide by them. Failure to do so will result in failing the course.
There is no textbook for the course. Materials will be posted to Blackboard 9 or distributed in class.
You will identify examples of mediated persuasion in your daily life and learn to analyze them according to classical and contemporary theories. In doing so, you will develop critical thinking skills. You will also practice constructing and evaluating your own arguments and persuasive appeals.
Learning objectives & outcomes:
Tentative course calendar:
Changes may be made at the instructor’s discretion
Expect short in-class quizzes and questions requiring very brief written answers
Week 1: August 29 & 31 Intro & general principles
Week 2: September 5 & 7 Persuasion in the Media Age
Week 3: September 10, 12, 14 Classical rhetorical model: Ethos
Week 4: September 17, 19, 21 Classical rhetorical model: Pathos
Week 5: September 24, 26, 28 Classical rhetorical model: Logos/Midterm topic due
Week 6: October 1, 3, 5 Classical theory of persuasion: Toulmin model of argumentation
Week 7: October 8, 10, 12 Toulmin model continued
Week 8: October 15, 17, 19 Workshops/midterm project due/Quiz
Week 9: October 22, 24, 26 Intro to Contemporary Cultural Theory
Week 10: October 29, 31, November 2 Contemporary Cultural Theory
Week 11: November 5, 7, 9 Contemporary Cultural Theory/Final topic due
Week 12: November 12, 14, 16 Contemporary Cultural Theory
Week 13: November 19 (Thanksgiving) Final project discussion
Week 14: November 26, 28, 30 Workshops
Week 15: December 3, 5, 7 Final presentations
Week 16: Finals week TBD
Assignments & grading:
Midterm project 30 %
Final project/presentation 40 %
Quizzes, assignments, worksheets 20 %
Class engagement* 10%
A+: 100-97 A: 96-93 A-:90-92
B+: 90-87 B: 86-83 B-: 80-82
C+: 80-77 C: 76-73 C-:70-72
D+: 60-65 D: 66-63 D-:60-62
Below 60: F
*Class engagement is an important part of your final grade. You are required to engage in the following for every class:
Grades will NOT be posted to Blackboard 9
All assignments are due at 9:10 a.m. unless otherwise stated.
All assignments will be submitted as a hard copy in class and electronically on BB9 unless otherwise stated.
Assignments are not considered “submitted” until both copies are received.
I do not accept emailed assignments
All assignments will include instructions and requirements.
If you violate the instructions or requirements:
All revision must be submitted two ways (unless otherwise stated):
The revision will not be accepted, and you will earn an F (59) on the revision, if you violate the instructions.
You will earn a zero (0) on the assignment if you violate the late policy.
The Three-Strikes Policy applies to essays (you will be writing short essays).
Late assignment and essays must be submitted to my office (as well as on BB9 unless otherwise stated).
Please submit late assignments and essays as soon as possible because the late policy begins immediately.
The following will apply to late assignment and essay submissions:
Missed Course Work:
If you are absent, late to class, or leave early, please do not ask me if you missed anything important–everything we do is important.
You are responsible for all class information, materials and due dates.
You are required to contact me before the next class meeting and outside of class to obtain missed information otherwise I am not obligated to keep track of materials you missed.
In-class assignments, tests, essays, midterm exam and final essay cannot be made up
In-class lectures, discussions and assignments cannot be reproduced.
I will not bring extra class materials to class to redistribute.
Be sure to get a classmate’s contact information because you may need it as the semester progresses.
Not all class materials, assignments and essays will be posted on BB9.
Many assignments require the application of the Modern Language Association (MLA) so please familiarize yourself with the following website: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html.
Your application of MLA will affect your grade and will be evaluated according to the above website. You may also seek help at the Academic Success Center (BU 303)
Attendance and absences:
Arriving Late and/or Leaving Early
A. You are required to email me within 24 hours of being late to class or leaving class early.
B. The email must include:
i. Your full name (e.g. Vera Similitude)
ii. The course number and section (MDS 101-02)
iii. The date you were late to class or left class early (e.g. 11/19/2018)
iv. A quick note stating that:
a. You were late to class
b. Would like to be marked present for that class meeting
c. You accept responsible for the missed material as a result of arriving late.
v. Or a quick note stating that:
a. You left class early
b. You accept responsible for the missed material as a result of leaving class early.
C. If you fail to do A and B., you will earn an absence for that class meeting–no further discussion.
D. Please email me again if you do not receive confirmation from me within 24 hours that I received your email.
E. If you arrive late or leave early, please enter and leave quietly, sit in the back row of the classroom, and do not disrupt the class. Do not ask me or your classmates what you’ve missed.
F. If you arrive late or leave early, you will not be given extra time to complete assignments, tests and midterm exam.
G. My records take precedent, therefore the burden is yours if our records due not match. (keep a copy of our email exchange in case you need to provide it later in the semester).
H. If you arrive late to class or leave early four times or more (and in any combination), you will earn one absence for each occurrence.
If I am late: You are required to wait until 9:30. If I am not in the room by then, you may leave.
It is your responsibility to learn how to use any technology you choose to use for completing assignments.
Classroom technology policies:
Charging Electronic Devices
You cannot charge electronic devices in the classroom–please plan ahead.
Consequences for Violating Policy
You will be asked to leave class and will earn an absence for that class meeting if you violate the above policies.
Classroom etiquette policies:
In addition to everything else in this syllabus: Treat others with respect, do not disrupt the class, refrain from shouting, using profanity, and name-calling. In general, conduct yourself like an adult. This classroom is our workplace, be professional.
If any of the following pose a problem for you, this is not the class for you.
Repeated infractions will result in a lower grade, and may result in the suggestion that your drop the course and take it at another time with another instructor or take an F grade.c Serious issues will be reported to the Office of Student Affairs.
Code violations are taken very seriously by the University and may result in a recommendation of dismissal from the course, department, and/or SCSU. For further information please visit: http://www.southernct.edu/offices/judicialaffairs/codeofconduct.html
Southern Connecticut State University provides reasonable accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, for students with documented disabilities on an individualized basis. If you are a student with a documented disability, the University’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) can work with you to determine appropriate accommodations. Before you receive accommodations in this class, you will need to make an appointment with the DRC, which is located at EN C-105A, (203) 392-6828, https://www.southernct.edu/student-life/support/drc/
To discuss your approved accommodations or other concerns, such as medical emergencies or arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to meet with me as soon as possible
Academic misconduct includes all forms of cheating and plagiarism. Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to, providing or receiving assistance from another, in a manner not authorized by the instructor, in the creation of work to be submitted for academic evaluation (including papers, projects and examinations). Plagiarism is defined as presenting, as one's own, the ideas or words of another person, for academic evaluation, without proper acknowledgment. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to: (i) copying sentences, phrases, paragraphs, tables, figures, or data directly or in slightly modified form from a book, article, or other academic source without using quotation marks or giving proper acknowledgment to the original author or source; (ii) copying information from Internet Web sites and submitting it as one's own work; (iii) buying papers for the purpose of turning them in as one's own work; and (iv) selling or lending papers to another person for submission by that other person, for academic evaluation, as his or her own work. https://www.southernct.edu/offices/judicialaffairs/academicmisconduct.html
Policies and penalties for committing academic misconduct may be found here: https://www.southernct.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-senate/Policy%20on%20Academic%20Misconduct%202017-2018.pdf