Syllabus for COM-120
INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATIONS I
Introduction to Mass Communications I looks at the nature and history of how complex organizations produce public messages. The course examines the development of mass media after the invention of the printing press, the telegraph and telephone, and photography. It also examines the relationship between mass communication and culture as well as the historical and cultural significance and impact of the media.
The course covers print media (newspapers, magazines, and books) and electronic media (radio, sound recordings, and motion pictures) and considers how the digital age is affecting each medium. Finally, the course looks at the economics of mass communications as well as social and ethical concerns that are currently prominent in the field.
After completing this course, you should be able to:
You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.
Introduction to Mass Communications I is a three-credit online course, consisting of five (5) modules. Modules include objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.
For your formal work in the course, you are required to read the text, participate in online discussion forums, complete five (5) written assignments, take a proctored online midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.
Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.
Introduction to Mass Communications I has four (4) graded online discussions, each focusing on a different subject. There is also an ungraded but required Introductions Forum in Module 1. All class discussions take place in their respective discussion forums.
Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
Introduction to Mass Communications I has five (5) written assignments. Each activity consists of two or three essay questions. As part of Written Assignment 4 you are also required to submit an outline of your final project for your mentor's review.
Read through the written assignment questions before you begin each lesson. Your answers to the assignment questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the course materials. Formulate responses in your own words (do not merely copy answers from your reading materials), citing text materials where appropriate and in an appropriate manner.
Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.
Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.
This course requires you to take a closed-book, proctored online midterm examination. The midterm is two hours long and covers material in Modules 1, 2, and 3. It consists of multiple-choice questions and essay questions. If you have concerns about the format and/or content of the examination, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test.
For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.
Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.
Statement about Cheating
You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:
If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.
You are required to submit at the end of this course a final project in the form of a paper. The purpose of this final project is to give you experience in researching one of the broad topics covered in this course. You will:
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).
First Steps to Success
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
Consider the following study tips for success:
Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.
Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:
Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.
Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)
Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.
Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.
Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Originality Report Checking at Turnitin
First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:
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