COURSE NAME: POP CULTURE: Politics of Media Literacy


CREDIT HOURS: 42 (3 hours per week)                       

PREREQUISITES: None                

COREQUISITES: None                  

PLAR ELIGIBLE:     YES     ( X  )    NO      (    )

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 2013

PROFESSOR:  Judy Coleman





This interdisciplinary course explores North-American popular culture and its effects on the world. The student’s perspective is that of a cultural researcher, an observer seeing the Northern way of life for the first time.  Through a political study (gender, race, and class analyses) of film, television, computer technologies, music, and advertising, students learn connections between these media and their political, historical, social, and economic contexts. Also studied will be the idea of popular iconography, which is the idea that numerous icons and symbols have their own unique and powerful political, social, or ethical connotations and influences. Computer access is essential to the completion of this course, since all readings are provided on-line (access is available in the St. James Learning Resource Center).  With Internet access, students will contact the course’s exciting web site, and print out readings, assignments, and other resources.  Students on-line will also be able to use Links to gain access to fascinating websites related to the course’s content.  As a major icon essay constitutes a large portion of the course evaluation, good writing skills are essential.


As mandated by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities essential employability skills (EES) will be addressed throughout all programs of study. Students will have the opportunity to learn (L) specific skills, to practice (P) these skills, and/or be evaluated (E) on the EES outcomes in a variety of courses. The EES include communication, numeracy, critical thinking & problem solving, information management, interpersonal and personal skills. The faculty for this course has indicated which of the EES are either Learned (L), Practiced (P) or Evaluated (E) in this course:

Skill L P E Skill L P E
1.  to communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of the audience   X X 7.     to locate, select, organize and document information using appropriate technology and information sources   X X
2.  to respond to written, spoken or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication   X X 8.     to show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others X X X
3.  to execute mathematical operations accurately       9.     to interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals   X X
4.  to apply a systematic approach to solve problems X X X 10.   to manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects   X X
5.  to use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems. X X X 11.   to take responsibility for my actions, decisions and consequences X X X
6.  to analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources X X X      


Lecture, online learning (use of website is mandatory), independent study, and audiovisual resources.


Readings will be available on the course website. Other materials will be used and/or distributed as appropriate.


There will be one essay assignment, a mid-term test, and a final exam in this course.  Details about assignments will follow.  Attendance is essential—knowledge of films shown in class is required.


Students unable to submit an assignment on the due date should discuss the matter in advance with the professor.  At the professor’s discretion, late assignments might not be accepted.  Where late assignments are accepted, the professor will apply a substantial late penalty


Exemption or deferral of a term exam or final examination is not permitted except for a medical or personal emergency.  The professor must be notified by e-mail prior to the test. Appropriate documentation, as determined by the professor, must be submitted.

Any student who either misses the midterm exam or does not hand in a paper and who provides acceptable documentation of illness or other serious problem will have the missed percentage of the course mark added to the weighting of the final exam. There will be no make-up exams or assignments.

Absence from final exam:

Professor must be notified by e-mail before the examination

Medical documentation must be presented to the professor within three working days.

If the majority of the course work has been completed with a passing performance, and the documentation is acceptable, an “Incomplete” grade (INC) will be entered by the instructor.  An INC grade will not be granted if term work was missed or failed.


30%    Essay Assignment, week 12

30%    Exam 1, week 7

30%    Exam 2, week 15

10%    Participation