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School of Architecture and Built Environment

Department of Design and Visual Communication

B. A. Program in Design and Visual Communication
Course Code and
DES 321 Media Theory
Prerequisite DES 222 Communication Theory
Semester Fall 2010/2011
Course Instructor Ms. Rusaila Bazlamit
Instructor e-mail
Office Hour – Office Mondays, Wednesdays 12:30 - 2:30 p.m. Room
Number A88
Course Meeting time Mondays, Wednesdays 11:00-12.30 p.m. Room
and Place A214

.::. Course Description:

The course covers major theories of mass media, focusing on theories that
have empirical support. It specifically addresses how media affect what
people think about, how people underestimate the effect of media on
themselves, and how media affect what we see as the causes and solutions
of social problems. It also handles subliminal advertising, violence and
television, media role in dividing and uniting society, effect communication
on news, diffusion of innovations, cultivations theory, and hostile media

Module Content Weeks

Basics of What is Media Theory? Introduction

Media Theory Behaviourism and Media Effects
Modernity and Medium Theory 2nd
Structuralism and Semiotics 3rd
Interactionism and structuration 4th
Feminisms and gender 5th
Political Economy and Postcolonial Theory 6th
Postmodernity and the information society 7th
Consumerism and everyday life 8th
Eid El Adha [expected] 9th
Mid Term Exams Period 10th
Effects of Media Violence 11th
Media Effects from Sexual Content 12th
Reactions to Disturbing or Frightening Media
Media Effects
News Effect and Communication Campaign
Advertising Effects and Media Entertainment
New Media
New Communication Technologies 16th

.::. Learning Outcomes:

a) Knowledge and Understanding

1. Understand the meaning of Media and the various forms and media of
communication in our times.
2. Know the main theories that address issues of Media and the
development of these theories in time.

b) Intellectual Skills
3. Understand the various effects of media on the individuals and the
society and the changes these effects create.
4. Understand the relationship between visual designs, advertising and
5. Understand the meaning of subliminal messages and how they are
being used in commercial advertising and as tools of political

c) Professional Skills
6. Develop an analytical approach to issues related to media theories and
their effects on society.

d) Transferable Skills
7. Enhance the student's verbal, logical and analytical expression of ideas
and concepts.
.::. Teaching Methods:

This course consists of two lecture sessions per week, these sessions are
composed of:
[ ] Lectures as outlined in the Modules outline.
[ ] Discussion sessions of given readings.

ALL Students will sign in to a social network created for them [ http://].
After signing in they will have to contribute to this network by videos,
images, discussion forums, etc. Their contribution will be assessed as their
course portfolio and therefore is a MUST.

.::. Assessments:

The criteria of assessment are:

[ ] Clarity of stating key issues and providing a framework for answering the
[ ] Analytical and critical thinking and expression.
[ ] Developing logical and coherent arguments and ideas.
[ ] Correct and effective use of English Language.

The grading system:

1. Exams: 60 %
Mid Term Exam 20%
Final Exam 40%

2. Assigned Readings, exercises and homework 30%

3. Student's Portfolio [His/ her profile at [Fusionists network]] 10%

Assignments must be submitted on time. No late submittal is accepted

except in cases of emergency and meeting the instructor's and the Dean's
.::. Textbooks

:: Bryant, Jennings and Thompson, Susan, (2002), Fundamentals of Media

Effects, McGraw Hill Publishing.
:: Laughey, Dan, (2008), Key Themes in Media Theory, Open University

.::. References

:: Harper, Christopher, (2002), The New Mass Media, Houghton Mifflin

:: Hassan, Robert; Thomas, Julian, (2006), New Media Theory Reader,
Open University Press
:: McQuail, Denis, (2008), Mass Communication Theory, Sage Publishing,
5th Ed.
:: O’Shaughnessy, Michael, (2000), Media and Society, Oxford University
:: Stevenson, Nicholas, (2009), Understanding Media Cultures: Social
Theory and Mass Communication, Sage Publishing, 2nd Ed.