Introduction to Mass Communication Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Hours

Office hours are times for students to meet with me about any questions or concerns or just to visit. I want to get to know you and I'm here to help. In person office hours are Mondays 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Appointments will ensure I am available. Please do not just plan to drop by and catch me sometime--I will be traveling a great deal this semester and I know your time is valuable--set an appointment. I am always happy to meet with you through a voice call, text or Zoom meeting.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. 

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at
Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

Amarillo College Web Accessibility Policy Statement

Amarillo College is committed to providing equal access to all programs and services, including all working, learning, and service environments that affect equal access for persons with disabilities. This commitment to provide equal access and opportunity for persons with disabilities is in compliance with federal and state law. Amarillo College also strives to provide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) that are accessible to all authorized users.

If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

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The Amarillo College Privacy Policy is found at , and applies to all Amarillo College students.  If you have questions about this privacy statement or you believe that your personal information has been released without your consent, send email to .


COMM-1307-001 Introduction to Mass Communication


Course Description

Survey of basic content and structural elements of mass media and their functions and influences on society.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


Introduction to Mass Communication, Media Literacy & Culture (loose-leaf) 11th ed., Stanley J. Baran. ISBN 1259376508 Copyright 17 Publisher Mcg

Earlier editions of the textbook may also be acceptable. Please check with your instructor. You do NOT need an online code.



Internet access and note taking materials

Student Performance

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

1. Demonstrate understanding of the fundamental types, purposes, and relevance of mass communication.

2. Demonstrate understanding of mass media in historic, economic, political, and cultural realms.

3. Demonstrate understanding of the business aspects of mass media and the influence of commercialism.

4. Demonstrate understanding of evolving media technologies and relevant issues and trends.

5. Demonstrate understanding of mass media values, ethics, laws, and industry guidelines.

6. Demonstrate understanding of globalization of mass media.

7. Demonstrate understanding of media effects on society.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior


· No substance or equipment in violation of the AC Student Code of Life will be permitted in communications courses.

· Turn off cell phones or put them on silent ring during class. No text messaging during class.

· Plagiarism is considered serious academic misconduct.  All written assignments presented in this class must be original work by the student.  Any student caught plagiarizing or cheating will receive a failing grade.  No form of scholastic dishonesty will be tolerated.  Scholastic dishonesty shall include, but not be limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism, and collusion.


“Cheating on a test” shall include:

* Copying from another student’s test paper.

* Using test materials not authorized by the person administering the test. -------Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during a test without permission from the test administrator.

* Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of an un-administered test.

* The unauthorized transporting or removal, in whole or in part, of the contents of the un-administered test.

* Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for one’s self, to take a test.

* Bribing another person to obtain an un-administered test or information about an un-administered test.


“Plagiarism” shall be defined as the appropriating, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another’s work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of it in one’s own written work.

“Collusion” shall be defined as the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work for fulfillment of course requirements.  
A complete statement regarding scholastic dishonesty can be found in the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.

·  Any student who, because of a disabling condition, may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact disAbility Services (SSC 119, 371-5436) as soon as possible.

·  No administrative withdrawals will be initiated by the instructor.  It is each student’s responsibility to drop a class or withdraw from school in the event he/she decides to quit attending class.

· Every student is required to comply with the policies published in the “Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.”




Grading Criteria

Assignments will consist of:

Reading Assignments

Reading assignments are designated in the course calendar.  You should complete the required reading assignments before class lectures and discussions

Multiple Choice Tests:

Two ‘open book’ online multiple choice tests will be given in this course. Each online test is designed to cover one-half of the course. Each online test is worth 10% of your final course grade. These tests will only be administered online and will not be available during normal class meetings.  You will be able to take the online tests outside of class time during the designated testing periods through AC Online using any computer with Internet access, such as a home computer or a computer in an AC computer lab.  You must take each exam during the time period scheduled for the exam. Because technological problems may arise, you are strongly encouraged to take the on-line tests during the beginning of each testing period.  This will allow time to correct computer problems and/or seek assistance before the test period ends.  Make-up tests will only be allowed if a student has a valid and compelling reason to have missed the scheduled testing period.

You may consult your notes and textbook while taking the online tests; however, the testing time is limited so effective preparation is essential for success.  Careful note-taking during lectures, highlighting and marking relevant portions of the textbook and reviewing the material prior to testing will be especially beneficial.  Students who miss NO MORE than two classes will be exempt from Online Test #2.

Essay Exams:

Two take-home essay exams will be given in this course.  Each essay exam is designed to cover one-half of the course.  Each essay exam is worth 10% of your final course grade.  Essays must be typed and turned in electronically using Blackboard. Essay exams must be submitted by the deadlines specified in the course calendar.

Discussion Postings

Weekly online homework will include discussion forum postings.  To receive full credit for a discussion forum, you must make one discussion forum posting and respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.  Online discussions will constitute 30% of your final course grade.  Points for discussions are earned based on the quality of your responses and your compliance with the required number of postings and replies.  All Online Discussion Assignments are due on Thursdays by 11:30 p.m.  Due dates are shown in the course calendar.

Cultural/Self Reflection Essay

Students will write a clear and comprehensive essay analyzing whether the mass media reflects culture or shapes culture. Essays should discuss aesthetic principles, philosophy, ethics and values. Students will examine the role media plays in their lives and evaluate how the mass media has impacted their personal values and social experiences. The essay will then outline how the students will useasocially responsible decision making to use mass media effectively to enhance their own lives and serve their communities. Students will use quotes and paraphrases from the lecture notes and textbook to support their assertions and will demonstrate an in-depth grasp of the role and significance of the mass media.

Critical Analysis Essay

Students will write a two-page critical analysis of a piece of media, such as a book, television show or series, movie or record album. Students are encouraged to choose the AC common reader for this assignment. Students should discuss whether the piece of media achieves its purposes and what qualities or characteristics of the piece help the piece achieve its goals. Students should explain how the piece relates to and/or reflects the cultural and philosophical issues studied throughout the semester and should address how the piece contributes to the field of mass communication. Finally, the students should describe their personal responses to the chosen piece of media, its strengths and weaknesses and its overall impact.

Extra Credit Review Questions

Review questions for each chapter will help students master the material and earn extra credit.  Researchers have found that overt responses to material result in quicker learning, longer retention and more efficient retrieval of information.  That means that when students do something active with the material—such as say it aloud, write it down, act it out or draw pictures to illustrate it—they will understand it more easily and remember it for a much longer time.  Review questions provided for each chapter provide a way of reacting overtly to –as opposed to passively reading the material.  Each chapter of questions completed earns ten points extra credit that will be added to the student’s final grade. 

To qualify for the extra credit, study questions must be handed in by the deadlines specified in the course calendar.  Review questions must be handed in using AC Online.  No credit will be given for partially complete question sets.

Grading Scale:

A= 90-100




F=59 and below 

Make-up Policy for Exams and Assignments

No student will be allowed to make up any tests or assignments without prior permission from the instructor. Make-ups will only be allowed if a student has a valid and compelling reason to have missed the scheduled test or assignment.

Grading Criteria

Grading Criteria


Multiple Choice Tests

(2 at 10% each)


Essay Exams

(2 at 10% each)


Media Critical Analysis Essay


Media Cultural/Self Reflection Essay






Extra Credit Study Questions

(14 chapters at 10 pts. per chapter)

Up to 140 extra points!


This is an entirely online course. There are no in-person meetings. Students should plan to log into the course daily to complete readings, assignments and discussions.



COMM 1307-Intro. to Mass Communication








June 6-12

Intro to Course

Defining Mass Communication

Characteristics of the Mass Media

Read all online material located under the “Start Here” icon,

Read Chapters 1 and 13 in textbook

Online Lecture 1: Defining Mass Communication

Online Lecture 2: Media Characteristics

Tues. June 7: Submit contact information

Tues. June 7: Getting Acquainted Discussion

Thurs.June 9: Significance of the Media/Media Diary Discussion

Sat. June 11: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 1 and 13 (Questions for Review in text)


June 13-19

Criticisms of the Mass Media

Culture & Communication

The World Wide Web

Read  Ch. 2, and 10 in text

Online Lecture 3: Criticisms of the Mass Media,

Online Lecture 4: Culture and Communication,

Online Lecture 5: The World Wide Web

Tues. June 14: News Media/Agenda Setting Discussion

Thurs.June 16: Digital Divide Discussion

Sat.June 18: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 2 and 10 (Questions for Review in text)


June 20-26

Legal Controls on the Media

The News Media/Journalism

Read Ch. 14 in text

Online Lecture 6 : Legal Controls on the Media

Online Lecture 7: The News Media

Tues.June 21: Media Regulation Discussion

Thurs. June 23: Self Reflection Essay due

Sat. June 25: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 14 (Questions for Review in text)


June 27-July 3

Halfway through



Read Ch. 3 and 4 in text

Online Lecture 8: Books

Online Lecture 9: Newspapers

Sun. June 26: Essay Test One opens

Tues. June 28: Books Discussion

Thurs. June 30:  Essay Test One Due

Sat. July 2: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 3 and 4 (Questions for Review in text)


July 4-10


Motion Pictures

Read Ch. 5 & 6 in text

Online Lecture 10: Magazines

Online Lecture 11: Motion Pictures

 Sun. July 3: Objective Test One opens

Tues. July 5: Motion Pictures Discussion

Thurs. July 7:  Objective Test One Due

Sat. July 9: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 5 & 6 due (Questions for Review in text)


July 11-17

Recorded Music


Read Ch. 7 in text

Online Lecture 12: Recorded Music

Online Lecture 13: Radio

Tues. July 12: Music Discussion

Thurs. July 14: Critical Analysis Essay Due

Sat.July 16: Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 7 (Questions for Review in text)


July 18-24


Video Games

Read Ch. 8 and 9 in text

Online Lecture 14: Television

Online Lecture 15: Video Games


Sun. July 17: Essay Test Two opens

Tues. July 19: Video Games Discussion

Last day to withdraw 8-week online classes

Thurs. July 21: Essay Test Two due

Sat. July 23 Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 8 and 9 (Questions for Review in text)


July 25-28


Public Relations

Read Ch. 12 and 11 in text

Online Lecture 16: Advertising

 Online Lecture 17: Public Relations

Sun. July 24: Objective Test Two opens

Tues. July 26: Advertising Discussion

Thurs. July 28: Objective Test Two due

Thurs. July 28:  Extra Credit Questions for Ch. 12 and 11 due (Questions for Review in text)

Additional Information

About Blackboard and AC Connect

Blackboard is the online course delivery system that you will use to turn in all written work, to participate in weekly discussion forums, to take exams and to monitor your grades.  You may access Blackboard from any computer with an internet connection.

To access Blackboard, you must log into AC Connect at  You can also access AC Connect by clicking on the AC Connect link on the AC Website home page:  If this is the first time you have used AC Connect, click on the “First Time Users” link at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions to activate your electronic accounts.

You should get into the habit of logging into AC Connect every day to check email and
announcements.  The college and your individual instructors will use AC Connect to send important messages.  Once you log into AC Connect, you will see your Blackboard classes listed in the center of the page. 

Strategies for Success

1. Don’t miss class, arrive on time, stay awake, participate and take notes.

2. Stay on top of due dates and turn in all your assignments on time.

3. Complete as much extra credit as possible.

4. If you don’t fully understand an assignment or topic, ask your instructor.

5. Check out the online materials available through Blackboard for lecture notes and tips on how to complete your assignments.

If you have questions regarding assignments or due dates, do not hesitate to ask in person or email me immediately.

Remember, all assignments will be turned in via Blackboard.  Plan accordingly—technology problems are not a valid excuse for late work!

All Online Discussion Assignments are due on Thursdays by 11:59 p.m.  To receive full credit for each discussion, you must  post a comment and then reply to at least two of your classmates’ comments.  Your goal should be to make your initial posts on Tuesdays.

For assistance using AC Connect and Blackboard, visit AC Connect Student Resources at  If you have further questions, you can contact  the Center for Teaching and Learning Student Help Center.  The purpose of the Student Help Center is to introduce and/or instruct students in the proper procedures to interact confidently with Blackboard and AC Connect components or other software required for course assignments.  The services below are available to students who are currently enrolled in academic or continuing education courses on a walk-in/appointment basis or by phone:

· Logging-in to AC Connect, WebAdvisor (self-service), myACcount and Google Apps

· Password resets

· How to use AC Connect and Blackboard

· Microsoft Office

· General computer/software questions

Hours and Location:
Monday – Thursday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (Library 205)
Monday – Thursday: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Library Research Desk on 4th floor)
Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (Library 205)
Phone: (806) 371-5992 or (806) 371-5932

Students may use the computers located in the Mass Media Lab in Parcells Hall 214 or in the Lynn Library on the fourth floor of Ware Student Center to access AC Connect.

Students are encouraged to follow the Matney Mass Media department and The Ranger on social media and read the departmental newsletter, The Matney Mass Media Messenger, at and the college newspaper ,The Ranger, at

Matney Mass Media Department on Facebook:
Matney Mass Media Department on Twitter:
The Ranger:
The Ranger on Facebook:
The Ranger on Twitter:
The Ranger on Instagram:

Department website:

AC offers many opportunities to explore the mass media.  Ask your instructor how you can become a D.J. on FM-90, can write for the College newspaper and can join the crew shooting live football video this fall.  Don’t miss your chance to take photos for the College magazine or work as a videographer, graphic artist or web designer for the College’s news website. In addition, AC mass media faculty can help you find paid positions in the local media industry.  Don’t just sit there—get involved!


Syllabus Created on:

05/30/22 3:05 PM

Last Edited on:

05/30/22 3:27 PM