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May 27, 2023

In an approximately 350-word response on one page (as a PDF file), use your own experiences with communication technologies to consider each week’s question based on the additional readings for the two classes class 6 “The Columbia School” and class 7 “The Birmingham School”. Please present your response in a creative, well-organized, and easily readable format. You are encouraged to think outside the box in how you present your response and lay out the materials on your single-page submission. You ARE NOT required to use formal references (i.e. APA, Chicago style, etc.) in these responses.


After having read the reading, listened to lecture, and participated/asked questions in class discussion, this writing “Experiment” is an opportunity for you to continue thinking about the themes of the week and to express your opinions, critiques, and questions about the material in an organized and concise manner. The purpose of the assignment is for you to “work-through” your ideas about the course, to explore your thinking about each week’s themes in writing, to show your understanding of the theories expressed in the reading, and to create a record for yourself of your opinions on the course material as they change and develop over the six tutorial weeks.

You should present your own perspective while using the reading as a way of supporting and enhancing your argument. Any claims about the theoretical ideas from the reading should be justified and supported with reference to the reading (again this does not mean formal references but simply a paraphrase or appropriate quote from the reading). You should also give examples from the contemporary media environment, not included in the reading, to support and enhance your argument.

The material should also be presented on one page in a way that is visually interesting. This can mean many things: you may include images and links to internet content (i.e. social media posts, memes, blog posts, etc.), you may also think creatively about how the material is organized on the page. Do not simply include any images you can find but think about how these additional media enhance your response.

Your response will be graded out of 20 points:

8 points – Ability to comprehend reading. This will be demonstrated by referring to relevant elements of the argument in the reading and using it effectively to illustrate your response.
8 points – Ability to apply the reading to relevant examples in the contemporary media environment. Your choice of examples and additional material should be relevant to the question and to the week’s themes, and should help to build your argument alongside your use of the reading.
4 point – Overall visual presentation of your response. Think about how the visual presentation of your response shapes how your response will be read. Is there certain information you would like to be read first? Make sure it is clear which sections should be read in what order. Are there images or visual examples you’ve selected to enhance elements of your argument? Make sure your layout allows for easy movement between your written answer and the other media on your page.

*It should be noted that simply putting a vaguely related image on your response page is not adequate to demonstrate a creative presentation of your response. Rather, the layout and visual elements of the response page should make sense as a creative way of presenting your argument. More is not necessarily better, sometimes the most creative approach is the simplest one, so do not just fill the page with other media in the hopes that it will gain a higher mark. That being said, each response is worth only 5% of the course grade, and the creative element is only worth one mark. So, do not feel obligated to spend many hours on this element of the assignment. Do your best to present a visually interesting and clear response page and use this as an opportunity to explore your thoughts about the material and learn while writing and laying out your 1-page response.

You should choose one of the week’s 2 readings to discuss and then respond to the corresponding question and indicate in your response which question you are responding to:

Question 1

In an approximately 350-word response on one page, using concrete examples from the tutorial reading and the contemporary media environment, consider the question: Do you agree with the Columbia School’s “limited effects” model of mass communication? To what extent do digital technologies affect patterns of behaviour and thought?

Question 2

In an approximately 350-word response on one page, using concrete examples from the tutorial reading and the contemporary media environment, consider the question: How can Hall’s use of the discipline of “semiotics” (i.e. his notions of “code,” “sign,” “signifying/signification,” “denotation/connotation,” “encoding/decoding,” “dominant/negotiated/oppositional codes,” etc.) help us understand how meaning is generated, sustained, and/or distorted in our present media environment? How is an audience a source of a message? By criticizing the linearity of the sender-receiver-model, what role audiences play today into the encoding/decoding framework?

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