COMM 1307
Introduction to Mass Communications

Western Texas College

  1. Basic Course Information:
    1. Course Description: Survey of basic content and structural elements of mass media and their functions and influences on society.
    2. Required Prerequisite:  None
  2. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): Upon Successful completion of this course, students will:

Student Learning Outcomes

Critical Thinking



Personal Responsibility

1)  Demonstrate understanding of the fundamental types, purposes, and relevance of mass communication





2)  Demonstrate understanding of mass media in historic, economic, political, and cultural realms





3)  Demonstrate understanding of the business aspects of mass media and the influence of commercialism





4)  Demonstrate understanding of evolving media technologies and relevant issues and trends





5)  Demonstrate understanding of mass media values, ethics, laws, and industry guidelines





6)  Demonstrate understanding of globalization of mass media





7) Demonstrate understanding of media effects on society





  1. Course Objectives and/or Competencies: Courses in this category focus on developing ideas and expressing them clearly, considering the effect of the message, fostering understanding, and building the skills needed to communicate persuasively. Courses involve the command of oral, aural, written, and visual literacy skills that enable people to exchange messages appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience.
    1. Critical Thinking (CT) -- to include creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
    2. Communications Skill (COM) -- to include effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
    3. Teamwork (TW) -- to include the ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal
    4. Personal Responsibility (PR) -- to include the ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making
  2. Course Content Assessments/Activities:
    1. Quizzes and Exams assessed using pre- and post-test questions.
    2. Discussion Questions assessed using a rubric.
    3. Written Assignments assessed using a rubric.
    4. Oral and Aural Presentations are assessed using a rubric. 
    Note: The Discussion Board Grading rubric used in the course content assessment can be found below. All other rubrics will be provided as an in-class handout and posted online. 
  3. Course Requirements:  Students will be required to take 3 online exams, 10 online quizzes, respond to 10 chapter discussion questions, and complete 4 homework assignments.
  4. Grading Distribution: The values for grading are as follows:
    1. Exams = 40%
    2. Homework* = 20%
    3. Quizzes = 20%
    4. Discussion Questions = 20%
    *Homework includes written and oral assignments.
    Letter Grade Scale: A = 90-100  B = 80-89  C = 70-79  D = 60-69 Failing = 59 or below.  
  5. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Required Book: The Media of Mass Communication, Vivian; 11th Edition ISBN-13: 978- 0- 205- 02958- 7 / Textbook is required.
    2. Other:  There will be instructor provided handouts throughout the semester.
  6. Online Course Content: Online course content is administered through the college’s learning management system (LMS), Moodle, also called eCampus.  A link to eCampus can be found on and to Moodle (the big M with a graduation cap) on the college’s home page, Each student has access to coursework, including grades (located in the course link within Moodle). Access can occur from any Internet-connected computer worldwide.
  7. Other Policies, Procedures and Important dates
    1. For all other policies, procedures and important dates, please refer to the WTC Catalog
    2. Academic Integrity:  Plagiarism and any other form of academic dishonesty will result in a zero for the assignment/activity.   A second offense will result in a failing grade for the class.
    3. Late assignments/activities will not be accepted. If you are going to miss an exam, then make arrangements to take it ahead of time.
    4. All exams will be proctored.
  8. Course Organization and Schedule* – course work is designed to be aligned with student learning outcomes and the communication foundational component area. Rubrics for written assignments will be based on the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) Value Rubrics, which will be provided to the student.


Course Content

Section/Online Work


Week 1

Topic: Mass Media Literacy

Read Chapter 1
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 1 Quiz


Week 2

Topic: Media Technology

Read Chapter 2
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 2 Quiz


Week 3

Topic: Media Economics

Read Chapter 3
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 3 Quiz


Week 4

Topic: Mass Media Industries: Ink on paper

Read Chapter 4
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 4 Quiz


Week 5


Unit 1 Exam 


Week 6

Topic: Sound Media

Read Chapter 5
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 5 Quiz


Week 7

Activity: Media Messages: Identification, Analysis, Presentation

Film – Good Morning Vietnam
Turn in Film Analysis


Week 8

Topic: Motion Media

Read Chapter 6
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 6 Quiz


Week 9

Topic: New Media Landscape

Read chapter 7
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 7 Quiz


Week 10

Topic: Mass Media Content: News

Read Chapter 8
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 8 Quiz


Week 11


Unit 2 Exam


Week 12

Topic: Media Literacy in Entertainment

Read  Chapter 9
Answer Discussion Question
Chapter 9 Quiz


Week 13

Topic: Mass Media Effects

Read Chapter 13
Complete observation log of embedded media messages
Chapter 13 Quiz


Week 14

Topic: Media and Democracy - Gatekeepers

Read Chapter 14 – Watch the film All The Presidents Men
Complete News Media Film Analysis and Presentation
Quiz Chapter 14


Week 15


Final Exams


*Note: The above course outline is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.

  1. Discussion Board Grading Rubric

Criteria: DB Rubric






Critical Thinking

Full of thought, insight, and analysis

Has thought, insight, and some analysis

Generally competent, but information is commonplace

Rudimentary & superficial & no analysis or insight is displayed

Repeats text book or other students’ posts

Clear Connections

Connections to real-life situations & course material are made

Some connections to content are made

Limited, if any connections are made

No real connections are made, only vague generalities

General statements that are off topic


Displays new ideas, new connections, and made with depth and detail

Displays some new ideas or new connections with some depth

Few, new ideas or connections are made or it summarizes other postings

No new ideas are given or uses the uncreative "I agree with …" statement

Repeats text or other students or uses the "I agree with" statement


All of the required postings are made by the assigned due date

All postings are made, but some not in time for others to read & respond

Only the main discussion board post is made, but no response to are posted

No original post to answer the discussion board but, posts responses to others only

No post or responses to others were submitted


Few grammatical or stylistic errors are made

Several grammatical or stylistic errors

Obvious grammatical or stylistic errors that interfere with the understanding of content

Obvious grammatical and spelling errors that make understanding difficult

So many errors that material is completely unreadable



Last Modified: January 10, 2017