Course Description

Communication Today introduces you to the world of communication media in a myriad of forms. We will study various media, explore our interactions with them and come to a greater understanding of their influence on our social and personal environments. We will focus on two concepts: 1) finding the “me” in media, and 2) sampling from the “media buffet.” The first involves analyzing our personal media experiences through discussion and reading and writing assignments. The second concept refers to the field trips we will take throughout the semester to visit selected exhibitions and examine their form and function.

Learning Goals

By the end of the course, you will have:

  • a familiarity with current issues in the field of communications and media
  • been exposed to and reflected critically on the media environment of New York
  • developed critical abilities in reading and responding to popular press and scholarly articles about communication, technology and media issues
  • demonstrated skill in writing personal narrative essays and critical analyses
  • improved research and public speaking skills

Texts and Trips

Readings will be distributed in class or posted on the class website. Some of the trips entail an admission fee. Always carry your student ID card.


Written work is graded on how completely and creatively you have fulfilled the assignment. Carefully proofread your work so that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors.

- Unless clearly noted, I will only accept hard copies. End of story. -

- Assignments lose one grade for each week they are late. -

- I will not accept any work after the last class. -

Essays (40% of your final grade)

Complete four essays of 1200 – 1500 words each on the following topics (that’s about 4 – 5 double-spaced pages, Times New Roman, 12pt font, 1-inch margins ... I know the tricks):

  1. Analysis of a Print Advertisement, (due 9/29/09)
  2. Photography in My Life (due 10/20/09)
  3. Electronic Communication in My Life (due 11/17/09)
  4. The Television Interview (due 11/30/09)

Although you are not required to do so, you may choose to conduct additional research (online or otherwise) and include your findings in your essays. Be sure to cite your sources.

If it appears that students are not conscientiously reading the assigned selections, unannounced quizzes may be given.

Field Trip Responses (20% of your final grade)

Complete a 250 word response to each field trip and submit it to the appropriate thread on the class website before the following class - I have access to the exact time your response was submitted, anything after 5:50pm is late. Your response should take into consideration what has been written before you on the thread - think of it as a conversation. Repetition of what has already been said is discouraged. Responding to what has already been said, as well as adding new insights, is encouraged. You can use this word count tool to make sure your response is the appropriate length.

Oral Presentation (20% of your final grade)

Prepare a 5-6 minute presentation based on a biography or autobiography of an important media figure. You should focus not on the subject’s personal life, but on his or her contribution to the media landscape and the field of communications.
You must submit your topic for approval by 11/10/09.

Attendance & Participation (20% of your final grade)

There will be frequent in-class discussions of the readings, writing assignments and field trips. Your grade for participation will reflect both the quantity and quality of your contribution, i.e., how much input you offer, and the relevance of that input.

Excellent attendance and promptness are expected. Grades are subject to being lowered for poor attendance, lateness and not handing work in on time.


Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments for this course must either enroll in the Program for Academic Access or register with the Office of Student Support Services. For any accommodation, the instructor must be presented with either a letter from the Assistant Director of the Program for Academic Access or an Accommodations Card from the Office of Student Support Services during the first week of classes.

Academic Honesty Policy

MMC fosters an academic community where students and faculty work together to create a learning experience that imparts knowledge and forms character. To achieve this, the College requires all members of the community to adhere to the policy of Academic Honesty that can be found in the Student Handbook, the College Catalogue and on the College website.