I have been teaching a variety of media studies courses at the undergraduate level for over a decade. I make equity and social justice a central focus in these courses as students examine the role of media in society as an influential force for upholding systems of oppression and disseminating conflicting ideologies. In addition to critical analysis, my courses also encourage students to move beyond identifying problems with modern media systems to propose solutions and understand their agency in creating change.

Introductory Undergraduate Courses

Course syllabus

First Year Seminar: Social Justice & Superheroes

First Year Seminars are required for in-coming freshman as part of the general education requirement. Departments may offer a FYS within their disciplinary area that introduce students to the university and the resources it has to offer. For this Media and Communication shell, I introduced in-coming freshman to the university through lively discussions on issues of social justice as portrayed through superhero media representations.

Course syllabus

Modern Media and Communication

This course introduces students to a number of writing strategies through the examination of modern media. It also introduces techniques for responding effectively to the writing of others and ways to identify genres and rhetorical strategies appropriate to various audiences, platforms and expected outcomes. Students produce a variety of texts that explore the role of media in shaping communal discourses and individual identity using self-reflection and critical examination of how they engage with modern media on a daily basis. (Writing Level I course)

Course syllabus

History of Media Arts I

This is the first of a two-semester course that explores the historical development of the media arts, including the film, broadcasting, and sound recording industries until 1965. This course investigates the relationships between economics, industrial history, and social and political systems, and the styles and techniques of specific films and broadcast programs. Special attention is given to the diversity of styles of presentation in the media.

Course syllabus

Introduction to Media Studies

This course examines the nature, development and effects of media technologies and media texts through an overview of media history and theory. This particular course is also designed to introduce students to media and communication fields like journalism, public relations, and advertising. (Discovery course)

Course syllabus

Media, Arts and Culture

This course introduces students to key subjects and concepts in Media Studies, drawing on a wide range of contemporary and historical examples. The course examines a variety of media, including cinema, television, and video games. It also looks at different institutions and practices, from media industries to grassroots organizations, and from commercial cinema to experimental video. In addition to gaining general knowledge of the field, students develop the critical skills needed to become active, alert, and engaged media users.

Course syllabus

Media Literacy

In this course students use a critical perspective to become informed consumers and creators of media texts–to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in print, electronic and digital formats. Issues discussed in class address topics like the social impact of popular culture, influence of advertising on media content, mass media as a global industry, how to read the news, and media as a source of information and entertainment. I have mostly taken an experiential approach to this course by either partnering with local public schools or engaging students in a Wiki.edu collaboration. (Personal Growth and Responsibility course)

Course syllabus

Writing for Media

This course covers the fundamentals of writing stories for print, digital, and emerging media. It will help students develop news writing skills across a broad range of topics for a variety of delivery platforms appropriate to both traditional and new journalism paradigms. Beat reporting, libel law, and ethical practices will also be addressed. (Writing Level II course)

Intermediate Undergraduate Courses

Course syllabus

Mass Media & Society

This course offers an exploration of the role of the mass media in today’s society from a cultural studies perspective. Issues surrounding gender, race, and class are given special emphasis; other categories, such as age, family, and ability, are also considered. Attention is given to various theories that explain the relationship between mediated depictions of society and cultural ideas about different groups within society.

Course syllabus

Digital Media and Culture

This course examines the dramatic shift in meaning and processes of contemporary communication by investigating the social, artistic, economic, and political implications of using digital ways of working. Topics include the Internet and the web, cyberspace and censorship, games, digital film and video, multimedia and interactivity, virtual reality, person-machine interfaces, and globalization considerations.

Course syllabus

Communication Theory

In this course we examine ways of understanding human communication behavior from both scientific and humanistic perspectives, with applications to mass communication and social interaction. Major communication theories are evaluated and debated.

Advanced Undergraduate Courses

Directed Study in Communications

Independent projects for Media & Communication majors under the supervision of a member of the Media & Communication faculty. The supervising faculty member serves as the research director and meets regularly with the student. The course is developed collaboratively between professor and student so that it may be tailored to the individual student’s interest. This course is open only to Junior or Senior Media & Communication majors.

Student topics:

  • Salem civic media project
  • Portrayal of Middle Easterners in the media
  • An analysis of women in hip-hop

Independent Research in Media Studies

This course provides students with the opportunity to conduct an independent research project in an area of special interest in the field of Media Studies. The supervising faculty member serves as the research director and meets regularly with the student. The course is developed collaboratively between professor and student so that it may be tailored to the individual student’s interest.

Student Topics:

  • Participatory media and civic engagement
  • Social media analysis in Salem Police Department
Course syllabus

Media and Communication Portfolio Seminar

This capstone course focuses on helping students reflect on and critique their body of work in the major and assisting them in the formation of their professional identities. Using materials gathered from current and previous class assignments, publications, and internships, students create a professional portfolio suitable for presentation at job interviews in the media and communication industry.

Internship in Media and Communication

This program is designed to provide on-the-job experience and training in communication and media, tailored to the student’s area of interest. Through this field experience, the student explores career options, gains practical experience and skills, and makes contacts with potential employers. In addition to working at the internship site, the student completes a series of assignments related to the internship experience.