Justice in the Media - Course Outline

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Course Outline

This course is structured around five modules. Each module includes required reading from the texts and links to Internet sites with content that parallels (sometimes very loosely) the materials contained within each section of the text. Assignments are required for each module. Assignments are listed on the course calendar, along with links to each module.

Required Reading

Potter, G.W., and Kappeler, V.E. (1998). Constructing Crime. Waveland Press. ISBN 0-88133-984-9

Surette, R. (1998). Media, Crime, and Criminal Justice. Wadsworth. ISBN 0-534-50863-4

Journals: (40% of your final grade)

You are expected to write a journal entry for each module. The journal entries must contain three parts:

First, provide specific comments on readings. Label this section "Reading Content." Provide enough information to demonstrate that you did the required readings, but you should not write more than 1 or 2 pages for this section.

Second, you should comment on Internet content specific to this section. You should visit several sites that can be reached through the module links or through an Internet search. Please provide at least three links, not already listed in the module, that may be of interest to others. Comment on the content, provide the URL (Internet address), and tell me how this site is connected to the readings. Label this second section "Internet Content." This section should add another 1 or 2 pages.

Third, write a 2 to 3 page summary in which you integrate the readings, Internet content, the class forum, and any other experiences. This should be labeled the "So What?" section.

The total amount of writing should be 4 to 6 pages for each module. This may seem like a lot of writing, but you will find that it is not as difficult as you may think. Read the entire section, visit web sites of interest, then sit back and think about what it all meant. Then type your journal, much of it off the top of your head. Whatever comes to mind. I expect a certain amount of organization, but the journals are not expected to be "term paper quality."

For the journals, my grading criteria is fairly simple. While reading the journals I ask three questions:

1. Did you read it?

2. Did you integrate the internet content?

3. Did you think about the issues raised in the module?

The journals must be submitted in class, the old fashioned way, printed and edited. 

Online Assignments: (40%)  

Ten online assignments are posted on the WebCT assignments page. Assignments include internet activities that direct you to content that you will review and respond to in writing. These assignments can be completed in collaboration with other students and any resources may be used.

Media Analysis Papers: (10% of your grade)

You will be expected to write a two brief (2 - 3 page) analyses of media coverage of a crime and/or justice issue. Provide a critical analysis of news, literature, television, movie, internet, or other media coverage of the issue. Consider whether the media is presenting a balanced, factual, informative coverage of the issue. Consider the implications of the media presentation of events. Analyze a variety of sources. These papers should reflect a broad analysis of issues related to justice in the media. Write about media coverage of the event - not the event itself. 

Participation (10%):

Your experience, and the learning experience of your classmates and instructor, are greatly enhanced as the result of active participation. You are likely to have strong opinions about a number of the topics we will discuss. Let us hear what you think by posting comments in the Forum or by discussing the issues in class.

Classroom Discussion: Be prepared for class discussion! This course will be better for each of us if you talk more and I talk less. You all have interesting ideas and viewpoints. We learn more by sharing our ideas. Class attendance is considered in the computation of your class participation score.

Justice in the Media Forum: The online discussion area allows an opportunity to discuss issues outside of class. The forum is especially helpful for those who want to share information found on the internet. The forum is an online "bulletin board," contained within WebCT, to which each of you may post questions, reactions to course content, comments about materials available on the Internet, responses to other questions or comments, or whatever you feel like sharing with others.

In addition to class discussion, the Forum is the area in which I will send communications intended to be read by the entire class. Plan to visit the forum often.

All assignments, written or online, are due on or before the end of class on August 7. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Copyright 2003

Kenneth Mentor

Page revised July, 2003