NCSU Department of Communication

COM257-001::Media History & Theory
Instructor: Dr. Adriana de Souza e Silva




Class schedule






Assignments will be evaluated based on:

  • How you answer the questions in adequate detail.
  • The accuracy of your answers.
  • How well you connect your answer to the topics we are discussing in class, and class readings.
  • The quality of your writing / speech.
  • The adequate length of your response.

Many assignments in this course are written assignments. It is expected that you write in clear, formal, academic language. If you need help with your writing skills, please let me know early in the semester. You can contact the University Writing and Speaking Tutorial service for support.


1. Weekly reflections (blog posts) (15 points)
-- due each class
These are brief summaries/comments about the text you just read for the class. The writing comments are due the day before each class and should be around two paragraphs.

Blog posts will be graded according to the following criteria:

  • 1. The student (a) provides a clear and objective summary of the text's main ideas, and (b) connects the text main topics with previous classes and readings, and personal observations (For this part, you may address the following question: why is this text relevant to understand the topic media history and theory?)
  • 0.5. The student (a) identified some main ideas in the text, but did not address them adequately, (b) did not provide a clear summary of the text, or (c) did not satisfactorily connect the text ideas with previous classes, readings and personal observations.
  • 0. The student (a) did not summarize the text and did not connect it to past classes, or (b) posted after the deadline. Late posts will automatically receive a 0*.
  • 1.5. If you write an outstanding blog post, you'll get an extra credit -- but extra credits are very hard to get.

*If you have an excused absence, you can still get credit to your blog post if you post it within one week of the absence. Blog post grades are available at the course grade book in the course locker.

You should bring a print out of your blog post to class. Each class, one student will be chosen to read the blog post aloud to the class. This blog will be used to help class discussion, so you should also ask questions in your blog post. If you fail to bring your blog post to class, you will automatically get a 0 for that post.

In order to be added as a blog user, you need to register at the NCSU WolfBlogs at: As soon as you register, send an email to the TA with your username. Then you will receive an email from me/TA asking you to joing the class blog. After joining the blog, follow the instructions below to post comments.

Instructions to post comments:
1. Go to:
2. Login with your University username and password.
3. Click on "new entry" at the right hand side of the blog name.
4. Give a title to your post: the title should be the last name of the text's author, e.g., Abbatte.
5. Assign a category to your post (This should be your name).
6. Write your post (you can resize the text book by dragging the lower right hand corner).
7. Sign your post with your name.
8. Click "Post to Weblog".
10. To view your post, click on "COM257001s09" on the top of the page.
11. If you wish to re-edit it, click on "Edit" below your post, which will take you back to the post interface. Make your changes and click "Post to Weblog" again.


Model for good blog posts can be found in the blog.


2. Research presentation (20 points)
-- once a semester
The research presentations are group presentations about a specific topic we are dealing with in the class to your peer-students. The presentations are in groups of 3 or 4, and are based on research. They should reflect critical engagement/analysis with the topic. It is important that the presentations not simply be a recitation of findings ("here is what we saw") but show some analysis. Think about what is at stake in what you have observed. What is interesting about it? Why does knowing "x" matter? How has what your group found connect to previous research on the subject, including things we have read? Furthermore, this is supposed to be a GROUP presentation, which means that your group should show that you worked TOGETHER by presenting coherent introduction and conclusion that summarizes the main ideas and interconnections among the topics, external sources, and class discussions.

Presentations should take about 40 minutes and follow the structure below:

  1. Introduction (5 minutes):
    Detailed explanation of the general topic. Interconnections among presentations.
  2. Analysis (30 minutes):
    • 10 min: presentation of topic 1 - student 1
      • Description (a matter-of-fact description of the topic)
      • Historical background
      • Connections to other theories / concepts studied in class
      • Connections to external sources + conceptualization
    • 10 min: presentation of topic 2 - student 2
      • Description (a matter-of-fact description of the topic)
      • Historical background
      • Connections to other theories / concepts studied in class
      • Connections to external sources + conceptualization
    • 10 min: presentation of topic 3 - student 3
      • Description (a matter-of-fact description of the topic)
      • Historical background
      • Connections to other theories / concepts studied in class
      • Connections to external sources + conceptualization
  3. Conclusions (5 minutes)
    • Expand the topic and show possible future developments.
    • Re-enforce interconnections among topics.
    • What the group learned from the topic
  4. References (1 minute)
    • Minimum of nine books, articles, essays, or Web sites about the topic (at least one scholarly source required for each student)
    • References should follow APA style, and works cited at the end.
    • Reference source should also be included in the presentation slides.

Discussion (25 minutes)
After the presentation, we will discuss in groups some of the main issues addressed by the group. Each group member should bring 2 discussion questions to be discuss with their respective group. After discussion, each group will report findings to class.

You should practice your presentation before presenting in class. A good way to control your time is to plan to cover one slide per minute. Do not fill the slides with text.

The presentation will be evaluated based on:

  • the substance of research, that is:
    • the group's introduction: how you describe your main point in adequate detail
    • How well you interconnect all topics, finding similarities and differences among them.
    • if you present a historical background of the topic
    • how well you onceptualize the topic in a broader context, connecting it to external sources
    • how well you connect with other readings and theories studied in class,
    • the group's conclusions (how to expand the topic).
  • how clearly it is presented to the class, that is:
    • if your presentation is clear and well-organized,
    • if you use audio/visual materials
    • your presentation skills
  • how your group leads the class discussion.
  • the correct timing of the presentation.
  • a correct citation of sources according to the APA style
    • you should also mention your sources during the presentation and in the slides.
  • You may use HTML or Power Point slides to present your topic.

All presentations should be turned in in a CD-ROM right after the presentation.

- For help with APA style format and scholarly sources, see However, I recommend getting the APA style guide (the book) to make sure your citations are correct.

- A draft of the presentation slides and discussion questions must be submitted A WEEK prior to the presentation to the professor. Final discussion questions should be submitted to the professor the class before the presentation. Failure to do so will reduce your presentation final grade by 10% (2 points).

- Dowload research presentation grading rubric model


3. Mid-term and Final Exams (20 and 30 points respectively)
-- due 09.30 and 12.08
Both the mid-term and final exams are take home essays. You will have five days to complete the mid-term exam and a week to complete the final. The purpose of the exam is for you to demonstrate that you have understood the major issues addressed in the course and that you can articulate an insightful, well-supported position on those issues.

You should present a clear, well-structured answer to the questions, incorporating information, facts, or quotations from the course readings and from your lecture notes, class readings, and blog postings. This is the minimal requirement, however; if you are aiming for an “A,” don’t settle for the minimum. All source material must be properly indicated using quotation marks (if it is a quote) and credited using proper parenthetical references.

Your answers will be evaluated based on:

  • the substance of your research, that is:
    o how you answer the questions in adequate detail.
    o the originality and creativity of your ideas.
    o the quality of the sources you use to support your argument.
    o how well you connect your assignment to the topics we are discussing in class.
  • the correct citation of sources according to the APA style
  • the adequate length of the answer
  • the quality of your writing


4. Participation (10 points)

Participation entails not only attending the class but coming prepared having done all the readings, having made an honest attempt at understanding the author’s argument, and bringing reading notes and questions you’d like to ask. Participation grades will be given according to the following criteria:

  • Be present in class;
  • Contribute to the class with your ideas, comments and questions;
  • Actively participate in the course, answering the instructor's questions and engaging in class discussions.

This part of the participation grade will be given according to the following criteria:
A+ (10) Outstanding participation. Student meets and exceeds all criteria for “A” participation.
A (9.5) Student is well prepared, attentive, always responds when called upon and                                     volunteers often with pertinent answers or questions.
B (8.5) Student is usually prepared, responds when called on and volunteers on                                                 occasion.
C (7.5) Student shows evidence of being unprepared on occasion, has trouble                                                 when called on and does not volunteer often.
D (6.5) Student is unprepared, inattentive, never volunteers, or comes to class late.
F (0) Student exhibits a lack of concern for the class, sleeps in class, or disturbs                                     the class.


5. Final class discussion (5 points)

In the last day of the course (12.04), each student will be asked to bring an article (popular press, scholarly) to class relate to one of the topics we studied, and speak 2 minutes about her/his perspectives on the course and on the future of New Media related to that topic. Suggested structure:

1. Choose your favorite topic during the the course and look for an article that addresses this topic.
2. Bring it to class and talk about current uses of the New Media within the context of your topic.
3. Talk about how you foressee future uses of New Media within the context of your topics.

In order to get full credit the student must:

  • Bring a good quality article.
  • Be capable of clearly connecting the article with topics studied in class.