Aside from working and sleeping, individuals in the United States spend more time consuming media than any other single activity. By the time the average person reaches the age of 65, he or she will have spent over six full years of life watching television - not to mention the additional time spent reading newspapers and magazines, listening to the radio, using the Internet, and playing videogames. Given the centrality of media in the lives of most people, it is imperative that we understand and critically explore the variety of ways in which we perceived and are influenced by media messages. The purpose of COMM 118 is to introduce students to the study of the effects of media on individuals and on society. This course will overview a broad range of media theories that have examined media as a social force, that have explored factors that affect individuals' selection of and perceptions of media messages, and that have studied how media affect viewers' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. These theories will be used to examine a variety of different types of content, including media violence, portrayals of race and gender, politics, advertising, and entertainment, among others. Students will be assessed by exams on these theories and topics, by group-based writing assignments, and by an assignment requiring students to locate, identify, and critically evaluate media content that illustrates the theories and issues covered in class.
Rhetoric and Composition (ENGL15) an intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you both to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts. Thus, in this course, we will focus specifically on analyzing verbal and visual texts (our reading) as well as on producing such texts (our writing), always in terms of rhetorical principles. ENGL 15 fulfills 3 credits of the writing and speaking requirement for general education.