FDU 2210 Assignments

I accept assignments by email to my FDU address.

The term paper must follow MLA formatting, which you already know from your English classes. There are computer labs on campus that you can use if you don’t have access to your own computer. The blogs are informal and require no specific formatting.

If you submit an assignment late, you must inform me in writing (i.e., email) before the deadline. If you do not inform me, I will not accept the assignment. Late assignments take -1 per day (i.e., one third of a letter, or 3%). You may ask for an extension if you have a valid reason, and I might grant one.

Assignment format due date weight
Participation unstructured daily 10%
Reading Quizzes one-word answers weekly 15%
Popular Media Journal informal essay (i.e., a blog) Fridays, 5pm 10%
Mid-Term Exam various Q&A Week #7; 16 October 15%
Term Paper formal essay Week #13; 25 November 25%
Final Exam various + essay to be announced 25%



This mark is based on discussion in class, email conversation, and discussion during office hours. Please be advised that you don’t get a high participation mark for being right all the time. You get one for participating in the discussion: asking questions, suggesting ideas for conversation, etc.


Reading Quizzes

There will be a pop quiz once per week on an unannounced day. It will be based on the chapter you’ve read for that day. You may only rewrite a quiz with a valid excuse: e.g., illness, injury, personal emergency.


Popular Media Journal

You will write a total of ten (10) journal entries over the fifteen (15) weeks of the class. You can choose which ten weeks to write on, which means that there are five weeks on which you don’t have to write one. However, you may not write more than one per week, and you must write in response to one of the topics that’s covered in the textbook for that week’s readings.

The journal entries themselves are one page long (double-spaced, 1 inch margins), and you can think of them like blog entries: personal responses to one of the week’s topics. You can do any of the following:

  • talk about a single idea in the textbooks that you find interesting
  • address an example in popular culture that relates to one of the topics in the textbook
    • e.g., a song, a television show, a movie, a video game, a sporting event, a performance, etc.
  • respond to the theory/philosophy contained in the chapter

Please note, this is not just an “opinion” piece. You must back up your assertions with examples, just like an essay, but you are not required to come to a formal conclusion. When you call on evidence, you must indicate where that evidence comes from within your text, but you don’t have to attach a formal Works Cited list. You may expand on one of your blog entries for your term paper, but you are not required to so.


Term Paper

Length: 2000 – 2500 words (8 to 10 pages)
Due: 4 December 2013
Format: Chicago Style

Choose from the following essay suggestions. You may create your own topic if you consult me before 25 November (Monday). You must consult a minimum of three critical sources in your paper.

  1. We will have explored a variety of media of mass communication by the end of this course in relation to popular cultural materials. Analyze a specific item of popular culture (e.g., a film, a TV series or episode, a news story, a comic book, a video game, etc.) using one of the critical methods or schools of thought that the textbook describes.
  2. Using any critical method employed during the course as a whole, write a detailed analysis of the media effects of a specific cultural product (e.g., a film, a TV series or episode, a news story, a comic book, a video game, etc.). Be sure to distinguish between, on the one hand, the formal traits of the media and its implicit meaning from, on the other hand, its overt content. Your focus should be on the first one.

Remember, this is not the same as an English essay. Do not spend the majority of your time analyzing the narrative, characters, or overt “meaning.” Instead, concentrate on things like how it’s marketed, how it’s monetized, what form(s) of technology it relies on, which “publics” it’s designed to appeal to, and what kinds of systems (economic, social, political, technological) it perpetuates.


Term Paper Revision

Due Date: 13 December 2013 (Friday), 5pm

You may, if you choose, revise your essay. Follow the advice I’ve given you in my comments (the yellow boxes in the margins). The advice isn’t a series of directives of specific things you must do. It’s much more conceptual. It explains ways of making your argument stronger, so you’ll need to think it through before you alter your essay.

I have no intention of remarking the whole essay, so put anything you’ve changed in bold-face so that I can find it easily. I will only look at the bold-faced portions. If the changes you’ve made genuinely improve your essay, then I will assign a new mark.


Final Exam

Date: 18 December 2013 (Wednesday), 8am

The Final Exam will focus on the second half of the text book, starting with Chapter 9 (i.e., everything we read after the mid-term). However, there could still be content from the first half.

Quiz Questions (⅓): This section will contain questions that are basically the same as the quizzes. The answers will most often be just one word, and they’ll be straight from the text book.

Essay Question (⅔): This section will give you several essay topics, and you have to pick one to write about. Your response must address the question directly–don’t try to change the question–and it must make an argument; i.e., there must be a thesis that you prove using logic and evidence.