Media Literacy

COMM EM 1611, T/Th, 12:30-1:45 Bettina Fabos, Associate Professor, Visual Communication
Email: fabos@uni.edu
Office Hours: T/Th, 11-12:30 pm. and by appt.
Office Location and phone #: 342 Lang Hall, 273-5972

SYLLABUS: sites.uni.edu/fabos/ml/medialit.html

GO STRAIGHT TO SCHEDULE


MEDIA LITERACY is a way of thinking about the media; a way of deconstructing media messages to gain more control over them. In this class, we'll be deconstructing media content--photographs, newspaper articles, advertisements, tv shows, movies, documentaries, public relations materials, websites--and developing an understanding of how this media content influences us and how we in turn can influence others. We'll also discuss the importance of multiple points of view, and learn to identify our (U.S.) media's powerful leanings towards commercialism, individualism, and specific ideologies. This class aims to help you become media literate, but also to think more strongly about the media as they relate to citizenship and democracy.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
Develop an understanding of the visual message and the truth behind the image--visual literacy.
Develop an understanding of semiotics--the meaning behind media messages.
Develop an understanding of ideology in the context of our media system.
Develop an understanding of the media in terms of its representation of gender and ethnicity.
Develop an understanding of our commercial culture.
Develop some media skills (Photoshop).
Use these media skills to critique the media with the media.


TEXT/READINGS                                                

O'Shaugnessy, Michael and Stadler, Jane (2016). Media & Society, 6e. London. Oxford Press. AVAILABLE AT UNIVERSITY BOOK AND SUPPLY and elsewhere. A copy of the 5e will be available for you on reserve at the Multimedia Service Center in Rod Library.

Other readings come from book chapters and newspaper/magazine articles, and will be links in the syllabus, emailed to you, or located on the class' eLearning site (Content area).

Students will be expected to take notes on the readings, take notes as well as participate during class discussions, and synthesize all information through journal and group discussion work.


COURSE ASSIGNMENTS

ASSIGNMENT GRADE PERCENTAGE DUE DATE
JOURNAL: Regular journal entries graded on a pass/fail basis to help you connect with the readings, contribute to class discussions, and study for the two exams. Please expect to write about 3/4 page--1 page, single space, 12-point Times Roman. 25% Journal work assigned weekly. Check the schedule for questions and due dates. You are allowed to miss 2 journal entries out of 16 journal assignments without having your grade affected.
GROUP WORK 1: PICTURE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS AND PHOTO ESSAY 10% Tuesday, Sept.18
GROUP WORK 2: HEGEMONY 5% Tuesday, Oct. 4
CRITICAL ESSAY 20% Tuesday, Oct. 9
PHOTOSHOP PROJECT 5% Thursday, Oct. 18
IDS EVENT required presentation Friday, Sept. 21, 7:00 p.m., ITTC 134-136
CLOHESY SERIES required screening--one of two days Monday, Oct. 8 OR Tuesday Oct. 9, 7 pm. Lang Hall
GROUP WORK 3: VIDEOGAME STRUCTURE PRESENTATION 5% Thursday, Oct 25
CULTURE JAMMING ASSIGNMENT 5% Thursday, Dec. 6
FINAL EXAM (take home essay) STUDY GUIDE 20% Thursday, December 13, 1pm
PARTICIPATION 5% Includes attendance. You are strongly encouraged to come to class and participate in all discussions

The final course grade is based on a standard 200-point scale with 10-point grade intervals and plus/minus. For all work, assume that average work merits an average grade "C." Work should be better than average to merit a grade in the "B" range, and excellent/exceptional to merit a grade in the "A" range. Plagiarism and cheating is strictly prohibited. All work should be your own; use of published material should be documented as such with citations and/or quotes. Plagiarism and/or cheating will result in an "F" for the course and university disciplinary action.

LATE ASSIGNMENTS
Please save work and be responsible for all saved work. Assignments handed in past the due date will be docked 1/2 a grade for every day late. 

MISSED JOURNALS
Over the course of the semester there are 16 journal entries due--all are based on reading assignments. You are allowed 2 excuses for not handing in a journal assignment (in printed out form) on the day its due without at all affecting your grade. These excuses are for sicknesses, funerals, sleeping in, computer failures, sport events, when you forgot to hand it in during the last class...In other words, for any occasion you might have to miss class or did not get your journal to me in person during class, you have 2 chances for not getting your journal to me in time, in printed out form, on the day of class. Please do not: Email me your journal or put it under my door. I will only accept journal  entries  in printed form from you in class. You will get extra credit if you hand in all 16 journals. All journal entries are given a pass/fail according to how thoughtfully and thoroughly you answer the questions: referencing the text with specifics is a plus.

ATTENDANCE
The responsibility for attending classes rests with the student. As the citizens of Iowa have every right to assume, students at UNI are expected to attend class.  Students should realize that an hour missed cannot be relived, that work can seldom be made up 100%, and that made-up work seldom equals the original experience in class.

ACADEMIC LEARNING CENTER'S FREE ASSISTANCE WITH WRITING, MATH, READING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES
Students are encouraged to use The Learning Center @ Rod Library (formerly The Academic Learning Center) for assistance with writing, math, science, reading and learning strategies. Meet with trained and certified tutors during walk-in hours or by appointment. For more information, visit us in person on the main floor of Rod Library, on the web at tlc.uni.edu or by calling 319-273-6023.
DISABILITY SERVICES
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities. Students requesting instructional accomodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accomodation through the Office of Disability Services. The ODS is located at 103 Student Health Center, phone number: 273-2676

 

SCHEDULE

 
WEEK 1 WEEK 2 WEEK 3 WEEK 4 WEEK 5 WEEK 6 WEEK 7        WEEK 8
WEEK 9 WEEK 10 WEEK 11 WEEK 12 WEEK 13 WEEK 14 WEEK 15 WEEK 16

 

DATE Activity Readings, Assignments, and Due Dates
Week 1
Tuesday, Aug. 21

Introduction to class

Syllabus: Read it in full and please ask questions if you need clarification.

Thursday, Aug. 23 Defining the Media, Media Studies, What do the Media DO to us?
Your relationship with American media
"SEARCH"
  • Media & Society: Introduction
  • Media & Society: Ch.1
  • Media & Society: Ch. 2, pp. 11-19.
  • Media & Society: Ch. 3

Prepare JOURNAL 1, upload to Blackboard (Assignments/Journal 1) before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Prepare JOURNAL 2, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Week 2
Tuesday, Aug. 28

Meaning is Constructed: Language, Representation, and Objectivity Language is not neutral

Stalin monument toppled
In class group discussion.

  • Media & Society: Ch.4
  • Media & Society: Ch. 5

Prepare JOURNAL 3, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Thursday, August 30

Fake News: Extended Case Study

Week 3
Tuesday, Sept. 4

Images are constructed

Picture composition analysis discussion: why did the photographer frame the image this way; to what impact

  • Visual Literacy and the Truth Behind the Image, pp. 53-63 [Please find pdf in e-learning/Content/Readings]

GROUP WORK 1: PICTURE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS AND PHOTO ESSAY ASSIGNED

 

Thursday, Sept. 6 In Class: Picture Analysis Activity
WEek 4
Tuesday, Sept. 11

Work on picture analysis (individual assignment, but rely on group)

MEET IN LIBRARY: GROUP WORK 1: PICTURE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS
Thursday, Sept. 13

Work on photo essay: group assignment (capture images)

MEET IN LIBRARY: GROUP WORK 1: PHOTO ESSAY

Week 5
Tuesday, Sept. 18

Semiotics

Clothes and sign systems Analysis (see p. 141)

  • "Visual Literacy and the Truth Behind the Image" (Semiotics and Symbolic Meaning section), pp. 63-70 [Please find pdf in e-learning/Content/Readings]
  • Media & Society, Ch. 8

Prepare JOURNAL 4, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

 

CRITICAL ESSAY ASSIGNED

PICTURE COMPOSITION ANALYSIS AND PHOTO ESSAY DUE

Thursday, Sept. 20

Semiotic analysis: ADS (in class) (continued)

  • Media & Society, Ch. 9
  • Media & Society, Ch. 10

Prepare JOURNAL 5, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 21

FOUR AMAZING IDS GRADS

REQUIRED PRESENTATION

 


Week 6
Tuesday, Sept. 25

Discourse and Ideology, and the media (semiotics)

  • Media & Society, Ch. 11

Prepare JOURNAL 6, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Thursday, Sept. 27

Hegemony/Ideology

 

  • Media & Society, Ch. 12
  • Left vs Right infographic (take your time with this graphic, and think to yourself: where do I fit in???)

Prepare JOURNAL 7, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Week 7
Tuesday,
Oct. 2

Hegemony/Ideology

"Women: Know your Limits"

"For Pity's Sake, Don't Drive"

"When Life Was Simpler"

The ideology of Ayn Rand--evolution from crazy to common sense

Left vs Right infographic (take your time with this graphic, and think to yourself: where do I fit in???)

"The game, Monopoly, for instance, makes perfect sense as a product of the 1930s it allowed anyone, in the middle of the Depression, to play at being a tycoon. Risk, released in the 1950s, is a stunningly literal expression of cold-war realpolitik. Twister is the translation, onto a game board, of the mid-1960s sexual revolution. One critic called it sex in a box."--Sam Anderson, "Just One More Game"

GROUP WORK 2: HEGEMONY ASSIGNED

Thursday, Oct. 4

The world is a construction: The truth behind a photograph

Your snapshots: what is true?

Photographic truth PPT

  • Uglies, by Scott Westerfield, Chapters 1-3. Please find pdf in e-learning/Content

Prepare JOURNAL 8, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

GROUP WORK 2: HEGEMONY DUE

Week 8
Tuesday,
Oct. 9

Sex Lies and Photoshop (v
Next revolution in beauty
The Venus Project

  • "Visual Literacy and the Truth Behind the Image," pp.70-76 [Please find pdf in e-learning/Content/Readings]
  • Every Photograph is a Weapon (Errol Morris)

Prepare JOURNAL 9, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

CRITICAL ESSAY DUE IN CLASS: uploaded to Blackboard

MONDAY
OCT. 8
or
TUESDAY OCT. 9

Leo Chiang, filmmaker. 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 8 or 9 (one or both nights), in Lang Auditorium.

REQUIRED LECTURE

 


Thursday,
Oct. 11

Photographic Truths and Deepfakes

Photoshop (TUTORIAL)

Photoshop Images to Work With

MEET IN ROD LIBRARY ROOM 324--go up the first flight of stairs on the West side of the library (closer to the Camponile) and you'll find 324 at the top of the stairs.

PHOTOSHOP PROJECT  ASSIGNED

Week 9
Tuesday,
Oct. 16

Narrative Structure: CU, MS, LS

Thursday, Oct. 18
Narrative Structure: activity-30s ad: write a script

PHOTOSHOP ASSIGNMENT DUE

Week 10
Tuesday,
Oct. 23
American Beauty and narrative analysis
  • Media & Society, Ch. 15 + 16

Prepare JOURNAL 10, , upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Thursday, Oct. 25 Narrative Structure: video games

GROUP WORK 3: VIDEOGAME STRUCTURE PRESENTATION

 

WEEk 11
Tuesday,
Oct. 30

Feminism, Post-Feminism, and Ideologies of Femininity

Gaze in Western Culture

Prepare JOURNAL 11, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Thursday, Nov.1

Ideologies and Discourses of Masculinity

Cool guys don't look at explosions

 

  • Media & Society, Ch. 21

Prepare JOURNAL12, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

week 12
Tuesday, Nov. 6

 

Tough Guise...78 min.

 

Prepare JOURNAL13, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

Thursday, Nov. 8

Ideologies and Discourses of Masculinity continued...

 

Masculinity: discussion and activty

Week 13
Tuesday,
Nov 13

Ethnicity, Ideology, and the Media

  • Media & Society, Ch. 22

Prepare JOURNAL 14, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

 

Thursday, Nov. 15 Chris Martin, guest speaker, on the media representation of class NO READING: we will have a guest speaker.
Prepare JOURNAL 15, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

week 14
HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

Week 15
Tuesday, Nov. 27

CULTURE JAMMING

Advertising: Ad appeals, the Association Principle, and VALS 

Product Placement Internet Advertising/FB Ads

Liquid Plummer commercial

Media & Society, Ch. 13

Prepare JOURNAL 16, upload to Blackboard before today's class, and bring a printed copy for your reference.

CULTURE JAMMING PROJECT ASSIGNED

Thursday, Nov. 29 Media Research and Advertising: how media researchers determine what we see and hear. Advertising: Merchants of Cool (Video): Media Research, Focus Groups. And here's the TRANSCRIPT Cool Hunting Cornerstone Advertising
Culture Jamming
Negativland

 

Week 16
Tuesday, Dec. 4

Augmented Reality Activity

Thursday, Dec. 6

Review

CULTURE JAMMING ASSIGNMENT DUE

Review

EXAM WEEK

FINAL EXAM
EXAM DAY AND TIME: Thursday, December 13, 2018, 1-2:50 p.m.

Exam calendar


Study Guide