Course: EDF 6736, Education, Communication, and Change
Instructor: Dr. J. Lynn McBrien
Other articles will be placed on our Blackboard site.
Campus Computing: (813) 974-1222 or (866) 974-1222 (toll free in Florida)
Office Hours: as requested by appointment (we can also conference with Elluminate)
Telephone: 941-359-4635 (NOTE: IT is much faster to get me by email,
Most psychological theories were cast long before the advent of enormous advances in
the technology of communication. As a result, they give insufficient attention to the
increasingly powerful role that the symbolic environment plays in present-day human
lives. Indeed, in many aspects of living, televised vicarious influence has dethroned the
primacy of direct experience. Whether it be thought patterns, values, attitudes, or styles
of behavior, life increasingly models the media. (Bandura, 1986, p. 20)
We cannot hand ourselves over to the television ready to accept whatever comes. The
more we sit in front of it . . . the more we risk being confused about the real nature of the
facts. We cannot leave behind our critical conscience. (Freire, 1998, p. 124)
In the above quotes, two great contemporary thinkers indicate the immense power of the
media to influence behavior. Carlos Cortés cautions that media are always teaching,
whether for good or for ill, intentionally or not. Throughout this course we will examine
the ways in which various media teach our students, our teachers, and society. Though
some researchers believe that the media effect change in our attitudes and behaviors,
other critics point out that media maintain the status quo and act to narcotize the public
from critical thought. We will look not only at media depictions of schools, teachers, and
education, but also at broader media messages that affect the attitudes and behaviors with
which teachers and students enter their classrooms.
Class Goals: We will learn from each other about the media depictions of teachers,
students, and schools; and challenges media pose for teaching and the ways in which we
can use media to teach. By the end of this course, you should be able to:
Define media literacy and its goals.
Describe the goals of media production and how they may conflict with
social/educational goals and censor public information.
Describe how various media depict diverse groups to a U.S. audience – children,
parents, teachers, people of color, genders, religious groups, etc.
Summarize research on key media controversies: media and diversity, media and
democracy, media and violence, media and stereotypes of “the other.”
Deconstruct media messages.
Create lessons about media that can be implemented in K-12 classrooms.
Locate and use alternative media to present views that differ from mainstream
Discover and refine your views on how media bring about social and educational
Critical Tasks: Assignments designated as Critical Tasks must receive a passing grade in
order to pass the course. Your initial grade on the assignment will be used to compute
your final grade for the course. The Critical Task for this course is TBA
TaskStream: is a web-based electronic portfolio required of all students in the College
of Education (COE) programs. TaskStream enables students to build media-rich online
portfolios showcasing learning achievements, which can be shared with peers,
instructors, parents, and employers. Further, it provides a way to submit documents,
called Critical Tasks, to instructors for feedback and assessment. The COE uses these
assessments to evaluate candidate progress toward meeting standards set by the Florida
Department of Education, by the faculty and by professional organizations. Further, the
COE analyzes data form the assessments and uses the data for program planning in order
to ensure continuous improvement.
Once your assignment is in your portfolio, it will be assessed using a rubric. You must
earn a score of “3” or better on the critical task.
This syllabus summarizes the written and oral assignments for the class. Additionally, of
course, you are expected to attend Elluminate classes. Class participation is considered
for part of the final grade. Read assignments carefully so that you can discuss them in
class. Though I use some lecture, my classes are heavily dependent on discussion,
especially at the graduate level, and successful discussions depend on student
preparation. When you do not know terms or events mentioned in the readings, be sure to
look them up.
We will use Eluminate for about half of our class sessions. USF is encouraging
professors to use this software to help students who cannot get to class because of jobs or
distance. Elluminate is software that allows us to be together in real time at our own
computers, wherever we may be. We can talk to each other, post and discuss
powerpoints, film clips, etc. For those of you who are timid about using this kind of
technology, relax! It may take a time or two, but the majority of students enjoy it.
Students you will teach in the future will be quite sophisticated about advanced
technology, so this experience will help to enhance your ability to communicate and work
with them. You may need to acquire headphones with a microphone (about $15 at
department stores or places like Staples) to manage this portion of class requirements (I
need them with my older computer but not with my new netbook). Prior to our first class
meeting, you will need to download from Elluminate and check your audio
10. USF SM and College of Education policies:
A. Academic Dishonesty: The University considers any form of plagiarism or
cheating on exams, projects, or papers to be unacceptable behavior. Please be sure
to review the university’s policy in the catalog USFSM Graduate Catalog and the
USF Student Code of Conduct.
Plagiarism is defined as “literary theft” and consists of the unattributed quotation of
the exact words of a published text, or the unattributed borrowing of original ideas
by paraphrase from a published text. On written papers for which the student
employs information gathered from books, articles, or oral sources, each direct
quotation, as well as ideas and facts that are not generally known to the public at
large must be attributed to its author by means of the appropriate citation procedure.
Citations may be made in footnotes or within the body of the text. Plagiarism also
consists of passing off as one’s own, segments or the total of another person’s work.
The University of South Florida has an account with an automated plagiarism
detection service which allows instructors to submit student assignments to be
checked for plagiarism. I reserve the right to 1) request that assignments be
submitted to me as electronic files and 2) electronically submit assignments to
safeassignment.com. Assignments are compared automatically with a huge
database of journal articles, web articles, and previously submitted papers. The
instructor receives a report showing exactly how a student’s paper was
plagiarized. For more information, go to www.safeassignment.com
In this course the proposal and other assignments are submitted to
safeassignment.com to create a database of course products. Your work must be
submitted to the instructor on or before the due date both as an electronic WORD
file and in paper copy. All WORD files must be submitted to safeassignment.com for
analytical comparison with current and prior projects. The links and instructions to
submit to SafeAssign are on our course website. Students who have copied their
materials from other students in previous terms, from current classmates, or from the
text or website materials:
1. will automatically receive a grade of F in the course
2. will have their work sent to the Dean or Department Chair/Coordinator for further
3. will be required to repeat the course at their expense
Students may NOT sell notes, tapes, copies, or other recordings of class lectures or
materials including the instruction found on Blackboard.
B. Academic Disruption: The University does not tolerate behavior that disrupts the
learning process. The policy for addressing academic disruption is included with
Academic Dishonesty in the catalog: USFSM Undergraduate Catalog or USFSM
Graduate Catalog and the USF Student Code of Conduct.
C. Contingency Plans: In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USFSM
to suspend normal operations. During this time, USFSM may opt to continue
delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to:
Blackboard, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule.
It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for
course specific communication, and the main USFSM and College websites, emails,
and MoBull messages for important general information. The USF hotline at 1 (800)
992-4231 is updated with pre-recorded information during an emergency. See the
Safety Preparedness Website for further information.
D. Disabilities Accommodation: Students are responsible for registering with the
Office of Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic
accommodations. Reasonable notice must be given to the SDS office (typically 5
working days) for accommodations to be arranged. It is the responsibility of the
student to provide each instructor with a copy of the official Memo of
Accommodation. Contact Information: Pat Lakey, Coordinator, 941-359-4714,
E. Fire Alarm Instructions: At the beginning of each semester please note the
emergency exit maps posted in each classroom. These signs are marked with the
primary evacuation route (red) and secondary evacuation route (orange) in case the
building needs to be evacuated. See Emergency Evacuation Procedures.
F. Religious Observances: USFSM recognizes the right of students and faculty to
observe major religious holidays. Students who anticipate the necessity of being
absent from class for a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s)
to the instructor, in writing, by the second week of classes. Instructors canceling
class for a religious observance should have this stated in the syllabus with an
appropriate alternative assignment.
News Report: In groups of 4, you will choose one news story and find that same news
item in several different media deliveries (print, internet, competing tv news, including
international coverage). In this presentation, you will deconstruct the stories, considering
how the delivery and techniques may affect audience response to the news. (10 points).
Research presentation: You will have a 10 minutes to explain your media research
project to the class, describing your research question, methods for exploring the
question, and answers that you found. (10 points). Use no more than 3 PowerPoint slides.
Date Due Description of Assignment
TBA One-week media journal due (see worksheet on BB). 10 points.
TBA Research paper topic due. In a paragraph or two, tell me the topic you
have chosen for your research paper and how you plan to focus
your research. What is your research question? (5 points)
TBA Outline for your research paper and list of references you have found
thus far, APA style. (5 points)
dates vary BB discussions (7 wks @ 3 pts per BB week; 21 total)
TBA Choose a topic relating to media messages, what/how they
communicate, and their potential effects on students. Construct a
research question about this topic to help you narrow your topic. Use
a database to find at least ten sources with information about your
research question, including at least six scholarly journal articles.
Write a research paper (12-20 pages) that includes an introduction to
the problem/research question, significance of the problem,
explanation of the answers you find, and a discussion including
implications of the research. Format your paper and resources using
APA style. If you are not clear on APA style, you may want to
purchase the APA Publication Manual. There are also web sources
listed on the USF Libraries page under Research Help – Citing
Sources - APA. You must submit this through the Blackboard
Assignment folder and hand in a paper copy. (25 pts).
Some research possibilities (if you’re stuck):
* Violence in the new media – does it relate to youth violence?
* How does gender stereotyping in the media relate to sexual violence
or girls’ body discontent?
* How do popular media represent particular minorities? Do these
representations contribute to racial/cultural stereotypes?
* Follow a particular popular TV program through its season,
explicating its media messages about gender or race or social issues.
* Dispel a social myth, such as “Harry Potter books/films teach
children antisocial/antireligious messages about witchcraft,” with a
careful media analysis.
Create a unit plan on media education for an elementary school class.
Elluminate participations: 14 points (2 per session)
TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS: 100
97-100 A+ 94-96 A 90-93 A-
87-89 B+ 84-86 B 80-83 B-
77-79 C+ 74-76 C 70-73 C-
67-69 D+ 64-67 D 60-63 D-
Criteria for written assignments: All assignments must be handed in on time. Each day
late results in 0.5 points off, unless you have a documented reason for the lateness.
When asked to analyze or evaluate, remember to be specific. Also, remember that a
summary is not an analysis. If you are not sure of the difference, check a good book on
writing styles, talk with me, or ask a tutor. If you submit a summary for a critique, the
paper will not receive the credit you hope for.
"A" papers make solid associations between ideas and experiences. They offer insight
into the concepts being explored. They offer new ideas or new perspectives on old ideas.
It is assumed and expected that your papers will:
Demonstrate a command of grammar and mechanics.
Include a thesis, well-developed paragraphs, and smooth coherence as you move
from one idea to the next.
Substantiate your opinions with examples.
Be handed in only after careful proofreading and with errors cleanly corrected on
the final copy.
Format for Papers: Typed, double-spaced, 12 point Times Roman font, left-hand
justified, carefully proofread.
A Note on Class Topics and Discussions:
You may find some of the course topics and conversations to be challenging, polemic,
and even uncomfortable at times. The course is intended to stretch your beliefs and
understandings about representations of topics such as race & racism, culture, sexuality,
religions, and nations. Expect to be provoked. Also remember that you have no idea
about the diversity of the students in our classroom at USF. Expect that you are among
people of diverse religions, sexuality, upbringings, ethnicities, and beliefs. Remember
this as you make remarks in the class. I will do my best to create an environment that is
safe for expressing viewpoints. The environment will also depend on your own
willingness to consider and discuss sensitive topics.
NOTE: The syllabus may be modified in terms of topics, readings, or films. If this
happens, I will notify you, in advance, either in class, on BB, or both.
Week by Week – “E” in date box indicates Elluminate session;
BB indicates a BlackBoard week.
Wk 1 BlackBoard (BB): Rd, Ch. 1 in Schwarz and Thoman & Jolls (in BB Wk 1
BB folder). Watch a one-hour program on television – anything from a Fox
News commentary program to a drama or romantic series episode. Apply
the Key Questions of Media Literacy to the program on the Wk 1 BB
Discussion Board (4-5 paragraphs) and respond to 3 classmates' posts (3-5
sentences). Follow instructions in Wk 1 to set up for next week's
Wk 2 Elluminate (E): Course Intro. Brief student bios/intro’s and practice with E (try to
8/30 E have a photo available you can share online with the class). Rd and prepare to
discuss Cortes, ch 4, in Schwarz. Intro to media techniques. Media conglomerates.
News report ex.
Wk 3 A brief history of visual media; journey into “innocence”: popular children’s
9/6 BB media: Cartoons, Disney. To prepare: Rd. Ch. 10 (Mazzarella), & Giroux (BB).
due by Watch and critique the examples in the Week 3 BB folder (clips and links in PP) –
9/8 3-5 paragraphs of your initial response to readings and clips and 3 responses to
Wk 4 Discussion: Contributing to the delinquency of minors? Children watch and adults
9/13 E worry. Newsgroup 1. Finding articles online through USF libraries. To prepare:
Rd. Chs. 3& 6 (Mazzarella). Share what you found most interesting about your
media habits (in your media journal).
Wk 5 Media violence and children. BB discussion on ch. 8 (Mazzarella) & Thoman (BB)
9/20 BB and films Gerbner: Culture of Violence (youtube), Bang, Bang, You’re Dead and
due 9/22 Growing Up Online. [NOTE: These films are challenging to watch due to some
violent and depressing content.] Same as usual BB discussion.
W6 Children and advertising. Stereotyping in ads; gender assumptions and
9/27 E expectations. We will watch a Kilbourne clip. Newsgroup 2. To prepare: Rd. ch. 7
(Mazzarella) and Ch. 7 (Schwarz), and watch “Merchants of Cool” (BB). Pay
attention to ads targeted at children – in print or film – and come prepared to
discuss them. Research topic due (upload to BB).
Wk 7 Music and music videos. See BB Weekly folder for Chideya reading and links to
10/4 BB videos to watch…. Watch current music videos and contribute (usual assignment)
due 10/6 to the BB discussion board.
Wk 8 School media. Stereotypes and propaganda. We will watch Duck and Cover,
10/11 E Disney and Soviet propaganda cartoons. To prepare: Watch clips in “watch prior
to class” folder in Week 8 (BB). Newsgroup 3. Outline and partial references list
Wk 9 Teaching about stereotypes and discrimination. Critiquing media for racism. Watch
10/18 BB and discuss A Place at the Table, Cortes, ch. 9 (BB). BB discussion.
Wk 10 Controversial topics. To prepare: Watch 30 Days: Immigration, and Intelligent
10/25 E Design. Read McBrien. Newsgroup 4.
Wk 11 Brief overviews of your research projects.
Wk 12 Teachers and youth in popular media: clips TBA. To prepare: Rd. Considine (BB)
11/8 E and ch. 11. Research paper due.
Wk 13 Creating lessons in media literacy. Rd. Ch. 5 and 11 (Schwarz). BB discussion on
11/15 BB implementing media literacy in your classrooms.
Wk 14 Take a break – happy Thanksgiving!
Wk 15 What we teach/how to make it better. AND media that can enlarge our
11/29 BB understanding. To prepare: Rd. ch. 12 (Schwarz).Watch Rain in a Dry Land. BB
due 12/1 discussion.