Credits: 1
MTh 4:10 - 6pm, Monday, April 19 - Thursday, May 6

Course Description:

How are messages created to sway public opinion, instill desires for products, or motivate the masses? This module is an investigation of how media communicate messages and how we interpret them. From political propaganda to advertisements, television news to infomercials, we examine a process of critically reading the many messages that bombard us on a daily basis. There are readings, class discussions and writing assignments.


Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successful completion of the assigned work. There are reading/research assignments and weekly discussions during this course. Students are expected to be present for all class meetings. Please email us if you must miss a class. Chronic lateness and/or more than 1 absences will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following: Participation/attitude, notes/reflections from the readings on your wikipages and progress over the term.

--> Late work is not accepted! <--


All students are required to maintain a personal wikipage for this class. This space is where you will post your notes and brief summaries of all the class readings (must be posted by the day of the class at noon) and any other relevant information (links etc.). Each student is responsible for viewing all student pages and commenting, if appropriate.

Office hours/help:

We are each available for discussion via office hours and email. If you would like to schedule a time to talk, please email us--do not leave voice mail!

Preston Noon is the Digital Arts Technician and has regular help hours each week. For more information, please visit the POD website.


There are no required books that need to be purchased for this class. All readings will be handed out or can be found online.

This schedule is a guide and will change over the course of the term, check back often.

Part 1: Message

Session 1: Monday, April 19

Introduction to the course.
Media/reading media

Session 2: Thursday, April 22

Discuss reading.
Screen(in class) Century of the Self, part 1, directed by Adam Curtis, BBC Four, 2002.


Plato, The Allegory of the Cave(excerpt), from The Republic, (c. 380 bc.).

Chapter 1, pages 1-35, A Propaganda Model, from Manufacturing Consent, 1988, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky.
Part 2: News

Session 3: Monday, April 27

Discuss readings and assignment.


Page 2-24, From How to Detect Media Bias & Propaganda


Read the 4 articles distributed in class and write a 2 page analysis of them. Use the reading for this week, How to Detect Media Bias & Propaganda, to guide you in your analysis.

Session 4: Thursday, April 29

Discuss reading.
Screen(in class) OUTFOXED : Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Directed by Robert Greenwald, 2004.


From The New York Times, MESSAGE MACHINE, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand, April 20, 2008, By David Barstow
Part 3: Medium

Session 5: Monday, May 3

Discuss readings.


Pages 193-209, Two Selections by Marshall McLuhan: The Galaxy is Reconfigured and The Medium is the Message, from The New Media Reader, ed. Noah Wardrip-Fuin and Nick Montfort, 2003.

How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live, June 5, 2009, by Steven Johnson.


Clay Shirky: How social media can make history

If you missed the Shirky lecture on campus, please view the following (highly recommended to all):Internet Issues Facing Newspapers

Session 6: Thursday, May 6

Discuss reading and final assignment.


Page 19-40, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, Henry Jenkins.


2 page analysis, to be discussed in detail in class.

Last class. (All work from the class must be complete and located on student wiki pages by the start of class.)