Introduction to Mass Communication

COMM 1307

Updated January 05, 2011

  • State Approval Code: 0901025106
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 48

Catalog Description

Provides an overview of the traditional mass media – print, broadcast, film, as well as the related institutions of advertising, public relations, and photography – their structure, support, and influence. A must for communication majors. (0901025106) Lecture hours = 3, Lab hours = 0

Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Computer literacy

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.
  • Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.
  • Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.
  • Develop personal values for ethical behavior.
  • Develop the ability to make aesthetic judgments.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.
  • Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives

Communication (composition, speech, modern language)

  • To understand and demonstrate writing and speaking processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  • To understand the importance of specifying audience and purpose and to select appropriate communications choices.
  • To understand and appropriately apply modes of expression, i.e. descriptive, expositive, narrative, scientific, and self-expressive, in written, visual, and oral communication.
  • To participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.
  • To understand and apply basic principles of proficiency in the development of exposition and argument.
  • To develop the ability to research and write a documented paper and/or to give an oral presentation.

Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts

  • To demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • To understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within an historical and social context.
  • To respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • To articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the influence of literature, philosophy, and/or the arts on intercultural experiences.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • To analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study.
  • To recognize and assume one's responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse, and by obtaining information through the news 4 media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

  • To recognize the role played by mass media in society.
  • To recognize the hierarchy of control of mass media and the effects of that control on the media consumer.
  •  To stimulate an awareness of and a continuing interest in the evolving landscape of mass media.
  • To increase media literacy skills.
  •  To become familiar with mass media techniques and intents, via advertising, public relations, film, radio and television.

Specific Course Objectives

After studying the book, current events and multimedia presentations, students should be able to complete all behavioral/learning objectives listed below with a minimum competency of 70% on exams and quizzes.
  •  Describe the difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication.
  •  Describe media gatekeeping.
  •  Be familiar with the AIDA model of advertising.
  • Evaluate the role played by various forms of media throughout the world.
  •  Describe the importance of the printing press, and, later, electronic media in disseminating culture and new ideas around the world.
  • Describe the importance of ethical standards in media, and the importance of the concept of free speech in American media

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion

Students in Introduction to Mass Communication will be required to do the following:
  •  Read assigned chapters in the text.
  •  Take a quiz on each chapter.
  •  Complete assigned surveys, questionnaires, short essays and reports on various topics in mass media.
  •  Watch assigned video presentations and write summary reports on the presentations.
  •  Pass a final, comprehensive exam on all course content.

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

The course is offered in the traditional classroom for lectures, discussions and audiovisual presentations.


Assessment will include chapter quizzes, writing and critical thinking assignments, reports and a final exam. Students will also be graded on class attendance and participation.
The grading scale for this course includes:
  •  Major exams – 30%
  •  Quizzes – 30%
  •  Assignments – 20%
  •  Attendance/Participation – 10%
  •  Final Exam – 10%

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

Converging Media: An Introduction to Mass Communication, by John Pavlik and Shawin McIntosh. (Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2004)