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COMM103: Introduction to Mass Media

Unit 1: Media and Culture   In the first unit of the course, you will learn about how culture and the media have interacted with each other for many years.  The media is both the product of and a producer of culture.  Appreciating that relationship will help you both anticipate and understand how this course is organized and the kinds of questions you should ask yourself as you consider its contents.  For example, when it comes to problems that may seem to stem from information or actions presented by the media, how do you determine what actually causes those problems: the media, which disseminates information about them, or the culture, which creates or demands that information?  Answers to these questions may become clearer as you proceed through this unit and learn about the various roles the media plays in modern society and the individuals who select and filter information for media consumers.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 5.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.6: 0.75 hours

☐    Subunit 1.7: 0.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Define, categorize when possible, and recognize the appropriate use of the following terms: mass communication, mass media, culture, values, convergence, free speech, propaganda, gatekeeper, and tastemaker. - Explain how and why technological transitions have shaped media industries. - Describe the four roles that the media can perform in a society. - Contrast the postmodern media era with the modern era in the United States. - Provide evidence supporting the observation that the Internet and the digital age have weakened the influence of gatekeepers and tastemakers. - Defend the usefulness of the five key questions that can be asked about any media message.

1.1 The Intersection of American Media and Culture   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 1: Intersection of American Media and Culture” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 1: Intersection of American Media and Culture” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  

 Reading this material should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
  • Lecture: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: “Episode 01 – Introduction to the Course” and “Episode 02 – Process” Lecture: Utah Valley State College: Phil Gordon’s COMM 1500: Introduction to Mass Communication“Episode 01 – Introduction to the Course” (MP4) and “Episode 02 – Process” (MP4)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the first 25 minutes of Episode 01 and then all of Episode 02 to become familiar with how Professor Gordon and his colleague have organized the class, its unique student discussion qualities, and how the class will approach the relationship between the media and other influences in its history.  Be aware that the textbook and the lectures cover most of the same subjects, but the textbook uses cultural relationships as a common thread in each chapter, while the lectures do not use culture as a theme, focusing instead on the development, current state, impact of, and issues in the media.  A description of this focus is presented along with the course objectives at the 21-minute mark of Episode 01.
     
    Watching these lectures should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2 How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Media   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 2: How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Media” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 2: How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Media” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
reading and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 1.2.1–1.2.3.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes.
 Completing exercise associated with this section may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.2.1 A Brief History of Mass Media and Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2.  You should consider taking notes on this material by developing a timeline of the important events that are mentioned.

1.2.2 Technological Transitions Shape Media Industries   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2.  When you have completed it, you will have produced useful notes if they include a list of some of the technology that changed the media.

1.2.3 Why Media? What Do Media Do for Us?   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.2.  To cement this material in your memory, ask yourself why you use the media and how or why your exposure to it varies.

1.3 How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Culture   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 3: How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Culture” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 3: How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Culture” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 1.3.1–1.3.2.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercise associated with this section may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.3.1 The Modern Age – Modernity   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.3.  As you read through the subsection, keep in mind what you learned about the media’s past and try to compare those traits and developments with what the textbook identifies as the “modern” media.

1.3.2 The Postmodern Age   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.3.  Realize that there is no consensus on what is “modern” and what is “postmodern.”  Because of that, you should read this material critically, asking yourself whether you actually agree with the author’s delineation or whether you think there might be a better way to distinguish between the eras.

1.4 Media Mix: Convergence   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Sections 4: Media Mix: Convergence” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Sections 4: Media Mix: Convergence” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunit 1.4.1–1.4.2.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercise associated with this section may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.4.1 Kinds of Convergence   Note: This sub-subunit and the sub-sub-subunits beneath (1.4.1.1–1.4.1.5) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.  They are introduced or highlighted by major or minor subheadings in section 1.4 of the textbook.  This material presents the clearest example of how the textbook often uses a term (“convergence”) as an umbrella category for distinct but related subcategories.  Upon completing this reading, you should be able to compare examples from each subcategory.

1.4.1.1 Economic Convergence   Note: This sub-sub-subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.

1.4.1.2 Organic Convergence   Note: This sub-sub-subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.

1.4.1.3 Cultural Convergence   Note: This sub-sub-subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.

1.4.1.4 Global Convergence   Note: This sub-sub-subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.

1.4.1.5 Technological Convergence   Note: This sub-sub-subunit is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.4.

1.4.2 Effects of Convergence   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.4.  You should focus on how this material covers “effects” and connect that treatment to its sister strategy, “cause.”  Throughout this course, being able to identify causes and effects, especially with respect to media and culture, will be a very important skill.

1.5 Cultural Values Shape Media; Media Shape Cultural Values   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 5: Cultural Values Shape Media; Media Shape Cultural Values” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 5: Cultural Values Shape Media; Media Shape Cultural Values” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 1.5.1–1.5.3.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercises associated with this section may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.5.1 Free Speech as Cultural Value   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.5.  Understanding what both culture and values are is critical to absorbing the important of this material.  One way to cement these ideas in your mind is to relate them to your own perspectives.  What would you describe as your culture?  What values do you associate with your culture?

1.5.2 Persuasion and Cultural Values   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.5.  As with the previous section, this material presents a relationship between two terms and the concepts they represent, but as with many relationships, this one is not necessarily accurate or useful, so you should apply critical thinking to the material you encounter.

1.5.3 The Cultural Value of Gatekeepers   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.5 and it requires you to use yet another term, “gatekeepers,” to explain how people develop and apply value systems.  Considering your own behavior, such as by identifying the gatekeepers whom you allow to affect your own experiences, will help you absorb the details more effectively.

1.6 Mass Media and Popular Culture   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 6: Mass Media and Popular Culture” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 6: Mass Media and Popular Culture” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 1.6.1–1.6.3.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercise associated with this section may require an
additional 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.6.1 “The Tastemakers”   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.6.  Make sure that you can distinguish between “tastemakers” and “gatekeepers” once you have finished reviewing the material.

1.6.2 A Changing System for the Internet Age   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.6.  The key to understanding the significance of this material is your recognition of what a system is, something which the textbook takes for granted.  If you look up the word, you’ll find several definitions.  It would be useful for you to do so and then choose the one that fits the context of the readings.

1.6.3 Getting Around the Gatekeepers   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.6 and is another instance where being able to describe examples from your own experiences or observations would help you absorb the information better.

1.7 Media Literacy   - Reading: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication: “Chapter 1, Section 7: Media Literacy” Link: Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication“Chapter 1, Section 7: Media Literacy” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please focus on understanding the terms used in the
readings and how they drive the review of this unit.  In addition,
keep the outcomes listed above in mind as you read so that you are
not only absorbing facts but also the examples, relationships, and
theories that will enable you to use the information you encounter
in the manner the outcomes describe.  Note that this reading will
also cover the material you need to know for subunits 1.7.1–1.7.2.  

 Reading this section should take approximately 15 minutes. 
Completing the exercise, assessment, critical thinking questions,
and career connection associated with this section may require an
additional 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under
a [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) without
attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.

1.7.1 Why Be Media Literate?   Note: This subunit and the subunits beneath (1.7.1.1–1.7.1.3) are covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.7.  They are introduced by major or minor subheadings in section 1.7 of the textbook.  Notice, too, that the subunit heading asks a question.  By the time you finish the material, you should be able to answer it via a brief but insightful statement which uses several of the terms introduced in the material.

1.7.1.1 Advertising   Note: This subunit and is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.7.

1.7.1.2 Bias, Spin, and Misinformation   Note: This subunit and is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.7.

1.7.1.3 New Skills for a New World   Note: This subunit and is covered by the reading assigned for subunit 1.7.

1.7.2 Individual Accountability and Popular Culture   Note: This subunit is covered by the reading assigned beneath subunit 1.7.  Please focus on the relationship the textbook describes between individual accountability and popular culture.  Try to summarize how popular culture can be influential and where in your own environment individual accountability takes on even more importance.

Unit 1 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM103 Assessment 1: Terms, Trends, and Theories” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “COMM103 Assessment 1: Terms, Trends, and Theories” (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete this assessment.  When you have finished,
you may check your answers against the Saylor Foundation’s [“COMM103
Assessment 1 – Answer
Key”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/COMM103-Assessment-1-Answer-Key-FINAL.pdf) (PDF).