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English 104w

Fall 2011


ENGLISH 104W                                                                                             P. ST. PIERRE


Media and the Masses: Social and Mass Media, and Messaging as Prose Genres


This integrated media course proposes social media and digital text and image messages as prose genres and examines various forms of electronic messaging as information transfers comparable to the conventional essay and as transmissions of print and visual culture in the context of information theory. Lectures are multimedia displays that focus on the history, theory, and practice of mass and social media, on social network messaging, on the handheld device as an extension of the human organism, and on messaging as tool manipulation. Tutorials are student cluster groups organized around course and lecture topics; one tutorial, the professor’s, is an experimental real time webinar, a free association cluster group or virtual cohort. This writing intensive course consists of one 1600-bit blog essay assignment with one revision that students record as blog entries on their social networks, AND one 1000-1500 word print essay with one revision that students submit conventionally. The syllabus consists of Marshall McLuhan’s groundbreaking Understanding Media (1964) and J. Charles Sterin’s interactive Mass Media Revolution (2012) with coded access to MyCommunicationLab, comprising an eText of Mass Media Revolution, multimedia, video clips, activities, research support, tests, and quizzes.


Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, ed. Terrence Gordon

(MIT Press)                                                                          ISBN 978-0-262-63159-4

J. Charles Sterin, Mass Media Revolution (Pearson Education)

ISBN 978-0-205-04173-2


essay writing and self-editing competence/excellence

comprehensive knowledge of the history, theory, and practice of mass and social media

concentrated knowledge of information theory

insight into social messaging as contributing to new digital prose genres and mass media

experience with interactive and collaborative learning, independent thinking, and critical agency


1 Blog Essay (1600 bits) with one revision                                                               20%

1 Print Essay (1000-1500 words each) with one revision                                         30%

Participation                                                                                                            10%

3-hour Final Examination                                                                                        40%

To receive credit for this course, students must complete all requirements.