COM 221 Introduction to Mass Communication

Professor: Dr. Ecarma Office Hrs: Immediately after class
Office Phone: 977-7139 E-mail: (must use this e-mail)
Personal Web site:

Text and Information

Vivian, J. (2009). The media of mass communication (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.

Crowley, D. & Heyer, P. (2007). Communication in history (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon (selected articles to be provided by the professor

For more information about mass communication sites and other relevant material, please visit then scroll down to Newswire (left side) and News sites (right side).

Other Materials

1. An e-mail account and access to the Internet.
2. Computer saving devices to save and type assignments.

Course Description

The Furman catalog describes this course: “The nature and history of mass communication [begins] with oral communication and the literacy revolution and moving to print, electronic, and digital forms of
communication.” This course “exam[s] the social, economic, political, legal and cultural aspects of mass communication, as well as the role of technology in the development of mass media.”

Learning Outcomes

Students will:
• differentiate the characteristics of each of the primary mass media;
• recognize the current role of mass communication;
• explain the central historical role of and the development of a free press;
• discern the legal and regulatory issues affecting the mass media and society;
• explain how each of the media developed, continues to operate, and influences society;
• delineate the historical roots of print media & its role in the development of American society.

Requirements & Grading

3 Tests (100 points each; Final 200 points) 300 points
2 Research Papers (200 points each) 200 points
Total 500 points

A = 93-100% B+ = 87-89.9% C+ = 77-79.9% D+ = 67-69.9% F = A- = 90-92.9 B = 83-86.9 C = 73-76.9% D = 63-66.9%
B- = 80-82.9% C- = 70-72.9% D- = 60-62.9%

Expectations for students

1. Meet deadlines: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the date due. If accepted, late papers will receive one letter grade penalty for each late day (If a written, authorized note accompanies a late paper that is one day late, then the paper can receive full credit. If a student is late for class more than 10 minutes on the date an assignment is due, that assignment will be marked as late.
2. Read assigned reading: Students should read the assigned reading before the class listed in order to be ready to discuss the material in class. Students should be ready to respond when called upon in class. If a student is consistently unprepared, he/she may receive a deduction from his/her overall grade in class.
3. Arrive on time for class: See attendance policies below.
4. Participate in discussion: Every student arrives in class with a different background and knowledge of media practices. We will all benefit from a full, open discussion.

Attendance Policies

Students are expected to attend all classes. Only university-sponsored or medical emergency absences will be excused. All cell phones and pagers need to be turned off before entering class. Leaving class to answer a call will be considered an unexcused absence. Consistent with the university’s attendance policy of giving faculty members broad discretion, the following regulation will be employed:

1. Three (3) excused and non-excused absences allowed (A fourth [4th] absence will earn the student an F for the class.
2. An excused absence must be accompanied by an authoritative and written documentation (please see the Furman attendance policy). Each student that foresees an absence should alert the professor in order to submit the assignment or take the test early. If you must miss a class, please let me know PRIOR to the class period to be missed. The only way you will be excused is by emailing me of your pending absence and a doctor’s note or letter from your college activity sponsor upon your return. Failure to notify me by email prior to the absence will constitute an unexcused absence. Please do not phone me; only email is acceptable due to its recordable nature.
3. A late assignment, including tests, without an authoritative and written documentation cannot be made up. Again, each student that foresees an absence should alert the professor in person or via e-mail in order to submit the assignment or take the test early, if allowed by the professor.
4. Tardies equal one-half of an absence each, and will be counted toward the three absence limit,
We will begin class promptly. A personal note: Please avoid coming into class late: Walking into class late is disruptive; coming to class late or leaving early will be counted as a partial absence. If you must arrive late or leave early, you must talk to the professor prior to and provide a legitimate reason. If you are absent or tardy for any reason, you are responsible for the material covered and any announcements made while you were absent.

Academic Integrity and Sanctions

In short, Furman students should:
• Inform themselves about Furman policy and expectations through this web site and other available means;
• Abide by the university’s academic integrity policies and encourage others to do the same;
• Ask for clarification from professors if necessary;
• Learn how to cite sources appropriately;
• Report suspected violations of the policy.
• Sanction against one student plagiarism, cheating or any academic irregularity: After the professor concludes that a violation has occurred, the student will earn an F.

Policy Concerning Students with Disabilities

Any student having an identified learning disability or other handicap that might affect academic performance should complete the form available in the learning disabilities office.

Format of Papers:
• Papers are to be stapled.
• Do not put papers in binders, report folders or paper clips.
• Document all sources using APA style (manuals should be available in the library or at a bookstore).
• Grading will include grammar, spelling and punctuation.
• All papers turned in for a grade should be typed and proofread with any errors corrected.
• Double space, type on one side of the page only and number each page.
• Use 1-inch margins around the page and 12-point type.
• The title page should be the first page of the paper and labeled with the following information centered each vertically on the page: name, assignment title, COM 221 Introduction to Mass Communication.
• Sample Assignment Title Page:

Full Name
Assignment Title
Date Due: Month, Day, Year
COM 221 Introduction to Mass Communication

• Finally, your paper should follow the criteria as summarized below:
3 full pages (not more, not less), typed, double space, 12 font size, 1” margins, top/bottom and left/right

Sections Pages 6 Point total (100)
Title Page 1 10
50 Word Abstract 1 10
Introductory page 1 10
Body with 3 main points 2 20
Extensive conclusion with summary 1 10
Grammar 10
Spelling 10
Punctuation 10

Class motto: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
U.S. President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt

Tentative Class Schedule
(professor reserves that right to change the schedule)

Date Class Information Reading/Assignment
Week 1 Introduction, Syllabus, handouts, Ch. 1
Week 1 Ch. 1 Ch. 2
Week 2 Ch. 2 Ch. 2
Week 2 Ch. 2 Ch. 3
Week 3 Ch, 3 Ch. 3
Week 3 Ch. 3 Ch. 4
Week 4 Ch. 4 Ch. 4
Week 4 Ch. 4 Ch. 5
Week 5 Ch. 5 Review for Test 1
Week 5 Review for Test 1 Review for Test 1
Week 6 Test 1 Ch. 6
Week 6 Ch. 6; discuss paper 1 (Ch. 1-10) Ch. 7
Week 7 Ch. 7 Ch. 7
Week 7 Ch. 7 Ch. 8
Week 8 Ch. 8; paper 1 due Ch. 9; Rd. Issue for discussion
Week 8 Ch. 9; Issue for discussion Ch. 10
Week 9 Ch. 10 Review for Test 2
Week 9 Review for Test 2 Review for Test 2


Week 10 Test 2  
Week 10 Fall Break Ch. 11
Week 11 Ch. 11; discuss paper 2 Ch. 11
Week 11 Ch. 11 Ch. 12
Week 12 Ch. 12 Ch. 13
Week 12 Ch. 13 Ch. 15
Week 13 Ch. 15 Ch. 16
Week 13 Ch. 16; paper 2 due Ch. 18
Week 14 Ch. 18


Ch. 19
Week 14 Ch. 19 Ch. 20
Week 15 Ch. 20 Ch. 20
Week 15 Ch. 20 Review for Test 3
Week 16 Review for Test 3 Review for Test 3
Week 16 Test 3  

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