Check out the details here.
As a part of Loyola’s course offerings this summer, there will be a number of eight-week online courses. Many of these are supported through a series of instructional sessions currently being hosted by Melanie McKay (Special Assistant to the Provost for Professional Development) and directed by Instructional Technologist Brad Petitfils and other members of the Monroe Library staff.
Students should look into these courses. I have been very impressed by the variety of topics being offered online, the quality of the online offerings, and the innovativeness of the instructors involved.
I will be teaching one of these Summer 09 online courses: Understanding Media. Here’s my course description:
This course introduces you to theories and processes of personal expression and social realization within digital communications media. Topics for discussion include theories of mass communication systems and effects, principles governing mass media law, the social impact of media economics, and the function of mass media news in a modern society. You are assigned weekly topics for discussion, analysis, and critique using a variety of social media and community-building software tools.
Understanding Media (CMMNX236) is a Common Curriculum course. The Common Curriculum at Loyola is currently being revised, though this description taken from the 2008 undergraduate bulletin is still a pretty good one: “The Common Curriculum complements the major and adjunct courses by providing a broad humanistic dimension to every undergraduate’s program.”
Here’s a brief sample what we will be doing in Understanding Media, taken from week two:
Week 2 Overview.
Wikipedia challenges traditional notions of scholarly research, expert authority, and truth itself.
In order to complete this week’s assignment, you should first learn about the history of Wikipedia and know something about the Wikipedia editing process and Wikipedia policy guidelines. Once you are familiar with these, read this article (free registration required) by Simpson Garfinkel.
Garfinkel’s article highlights important differences between how the Wikipedia editing process evaluates and determines “truth” and how more traditional scientific research evaluates and determines “truth.” The scientific position is well explained in this article by David Goodstein, which was originally written to explain significant differences between science and law in the wake of the Daubert case. In his article, Goodstein says this:
“Both [science and law] seek, in structured debate, using empirical evidence, to arrive at rational conclusions that transcend the prejudices and self-interest of individuals.” (p. 15)
You should also especially note Goodstein’s description of the peer review process (which is described in further detail here).
With Wikipedia’s challenges to convention and authority clearly in mind, read the paired essays in the class text, Taking Sides, that address these two related questions:
- Are American values shaped by the mass media?, and
- Are people better informed in the Information Society?
Now, consider this:
Resolved: Wikipedia articles are produced by a structured debate that allows us to transcend the prejudices and self-interest of individuals.
On Wednesday of this week, you will be asked to take a position either in favor of or against this resolution.
As the Common Curriculum continues to be revised, many of us in the social sciences hope to be able to become involved in contributing to Common Curriculum content and goals — and to bring the discussion of the essential and the meaningful into timely and relevant contexts.
So tune in and crank up the webcam this summer — hope to see you there.