The broadcast media are a powerful force in society and our daily lives. This course is intended to introduce you to the business and social structures associated with radio, television, and streaming media. What we hope you will take from the course is a general knowledge of where broadcast technologies and institutions have evolved from and are evolving towards. This knowledge should be important to you as you move towards making a career for yourself in Broadcasting. We can't tell you everything you might need to know about the broadcast industries in a single course, but we can introduce you to the institutions that audiences that shape television and radio content, both in the United States and around the world.
This is not a "how" course, as many of your other courses in Television and Radio production will be. It is very much a who, what, and where course. We will explore the structure of power in broadcast industries and, in particular, the very different kinds of power associated with media institutions and audiences. We will explore the structures of the broadcast industry, including broadcast roles, institutions, and processes. We will explore the relationship of audiences and institutions on the kinds of content that are produced and broadcast for mass audiences. We will explore the effects of these structures on societies and the different ways in which different societies engage the possibilities of broadcast media. Finally, we will explore the ways in which you can engage and participate in the structures of modern mass media.
My usual practice is to make my class discussion notes directly available to the class via the Internet. I will usually display those notes during class. You can print them out later if you desire. You may be able to print them out before class, but I don't guarantee that you will. I often change my discussion notes right up to the beginning of class (and sometimes during class. The version posted at the end of class can generally be considered to be reliable, but I will sometimes make changes a day or two after a class has been completed.
Three and a half hours (the scheduled meeting time) is a long class. I will therefore try to keep class sessions shorter and conduct a portion of the class online using a class discussion/learning space called a "Moodle" located at http://messageecologies.com/ed. There will be required discussions and assignment submissions there. You can also use this group to exchange of any class-related information or questions. Only class members (and perhaps one or two selected others) can post to or read messages in this discussion space. You will be registering into this Moodle on the first day of class. You'll have assignments to complete there for the second day of class and most subsequent days. There is a possibility we will also use online discussion environments. I will inform you of any such change in advance.
Point your web browser at http://messageecologies.com/ed
Participation will be evaluated based on in class participation, evident effort, and your completion of two types of ungraded assignment that will be due for most classes: questions (two questions for each reading), and think assignments.
Question assignments: involve coming up with two questions based on each of the readings. Write them on one side of an index card. A portion of every class will be devoted to a conversation in which we discuss the answers to your questions.
Attendance is required for all classes, including the final exam period. Punctuality is much desired.
Keep up. The reading and writing load for this course is not particularly heavy, but the television viewing and written assignment load is. If you can't keep up with the readings, papers, or other assignments, you may want to drop the course early on and try again in another semester.
Attendance is mandatory. The Brooklyn College Bulletin states that "Students are expected to attend all scheduled sessions of every class for which they register. Students late for class may be excluded from the room. An instructor may consider attendance and class participation in determining course grade." While I am unlikely to lock the door, I will take account of missed class time in computing grades. You should not, as a general note, ask me for "permission" to miss class. While I will try to be understanding of documented emergencies, the basic reality (which has more to do with your ability to learn when you aren't in class than anything else) is that absences make your grade grow smaller.
The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity states that “Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.” For more information on CUNY policy on Plagiarism and cheating and BC's implementation of that policy, see http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies/ .
On a more practical note, I have caught a number of students attempting to pass off other people's work as their own. Such behavior is unacceptable in any classroom, and I won't accept it in mine. My usual practice will be to zero any assignment on which a student has been found to be cheating and consult with the department chair on what other actions may be appropriate. Examples of cheating include:
- Duplicate test answers. I cannot prevent students from studying together or comparing notes on a take home exam (should I give any). Test answers should always be in your own words (e.g. not copied out of a book or off of someone else's test paper).
- Plagiarized term paper content. I encourage you to look at content from a wide variety of sources, but the content of your term paper should be in your own words.
- Unreferenced term paper content. Where, in the course of writing a term paper, you present the ideas of others, you must indicate where they came from with a reference. This is true even when you have stated the ideas in your own words or if the ideas or their sources seem obvious.
Bottom line: Write in your own words and reference the ideas you use to the sources you read them in.
Help with Research and Writing
The Library maintains a collection of links to sites that can assist you with proper citation format and paraphrasing and quoting other authors at http://library.brooklyn.cuny.edu . The Learning Center has writing tutors available to help you with your writing http://lc.brooklyn.cuny.edu/.
It is your responsibility to ensure that all assignments are submitted by the due date. I will reduce the grade on an assignment by one half letter grade if one period late and one full grade thereafter. As a general rule, it is always best to turn in assignments on time, but not turning in an assignment at all is far worse than turning them in late. A letter grade penalty is far less onerous than a zero.
It is important to me that the course be accessible to all students. Students who have a disabling condition which might interfere with their ability to successfully complete this course are encouraged to speak to me confidentially. I will be happy to cooperate in identifying alternate means of demonstrating such mastery where there is a demonstrable need. Students with disability-related academic accommodations students must register with the Center for Student Disability Services if they have not done so already. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services please provide me with the course accommodation form so we may discuss your specific accommodation.
Bottom line: I'm here to help. Brooklyn College wants to help too.
If you have a question I encourage you to ask it in class. There are no stupid questions; only answers that didn't need to be. If you don't know the answer to a question it is likely someone else is curious as well. Please ask. The worst that can happen is that I defer my answer to a meeting after class or during office hours.
If you have a problem in the class I encourage you to contact me as quickly as possible. Several means of contact are listed at the top of my Brooklyn College home page, including telephone, e-mail, and instant messenger. I also maintain regular office hours. Note, in particular, that I will not grant an incomplete for the course unless you talk to me about it in advance or I am aware of conditions which would make it impossible for you to complete the course during the semester.