Dr. Melanie McNaughton

Office: 215 Maxwell Library

Phone: xxx.xxx.xxx

Web: melaniejoymcnaughton.com

Email: yourname@yourschool.edu

During the work week (M-F) I do my best to respond to emails within 24 hours (I don't typically answer emails over the weekend or on holiday; I will reply as soon as I can on the next business day). If I don't answer your email within 24 business hours, please send a follow up message.

Office hours:

Mondays 3:30-4:30, Tuesdays 1-3, and most Wednesdays 3:30-5. Occasionally I have meetings Wednesdays. Email me by 9:30 on Wednesday morning if you are planning to come by that day; I will reply by 11am to let you know if I'm available. The dates I have meetings are posted on the schedule outside my office door.

If you are unable to make any of my posted hours because of scheduling conflicts, send me an email - I use Skype to connect with students who need some face time but can't meet me in my office.

Me, my cats, and I.

Required Textbooks & Technologies

Sanders, Matthew L. Becoming a Learner: Realizing the Opportunity of Education. Institute for Communication and Leadership, 2012.

Giles, Judy, and Tim Middleton. Studying Culture: A practical Introduction. 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

Additional required & recommended readings will be available on Blackboard on the “Readings” page.

Because this is an online course, you'll need access to some key technologies. The course will be run entirely on Blackboard, which means all students will need a Blackboard account.

All course documents will be provided as PDFs, so that all students can easily download and read them. Students will need to be familiar with a word processing program that can save files in .doc or PDF formats, for uploading assignments to Blackboard. Hint: Microsoft Office is freely available to all BSU students.

Some of the assignments in the class will require students to create a YouTube account (if you do not already have one), and to create a video using free online software (details are provided in the assignment). Other assignments will require watching videos online, which means that students will need a computer or tablet with software that can play streamed mp4 and YouTube content (for instance, QuickTime).

Please see Course Policies for information on internet access and other elements specific to online courses.

Course Description

This foundational course examines the productive relationship between communication and culture. It introduces students to the everyday intersections of social relations, cultural practices, and the construction of meaning. Attention is paid to the relationships between communication, culture, ideology, social order and identity.

Course Objectives

This course introduces students to major concepts, theories, and perspectives within the field of culture and communication. The course seeks to help students (1) gain the knowledge and vocabulary to comprehend and evaluate the ways in which communicative practices structure and construct culture and society. The course also works to (2) build student skills in analyzing the social, cultural, and political impacts of everyday communication and to (3) engage students in developing informed perspectives in relation to these issues.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify definitions of culture in the social sciences and humanities.
  2. Describe the relationship between language and meaning on questions of representation.
  3. Explain the concepts of identity and difference; explain these concepts’ significance to the study of culture.
  4. Demonstrate ability to use course concepts to examine everyday communication contexts through class discussion and written assignments.
  5. Analyze how culture relates to race, class, religion, and sexual orientation in mediated contexts and everyday interactions.

Please note: learning online can be challenging. I'll do my best to support you, but you must invest in the class to achieve these learning outcomes.

Succeeding in Online Classes

A Note on my Teaching Philosophy

My goal, as your instructor, is to help you. And, hopefully, to encourage and inspire you to do your best work—not just okay work that gets you a passing grade, but your best work. To help you do that, my responsibility is to present you with clear lectures and assignment instructions and create a class environment that respects and values students’ differences and perspectives.

Just like any other professional role, being a student comes with hopes and goals and responsibilities. You’ll notice I have lots of nuts-and-bolts-type policies on formatting assignments, sending emails, managing unexpected illnesses. I put these guidelines out front so you don’t have to guess about my expectations, and so that you can begin to develop effective professional habits.

If you’ve had the opportunity to take part in a professional internship (and if you haven’t, you should!), you will notice that my course policies mirror many workplace guidelines. By encouraging you to adopt those practices at school, my hope is that your conduct you will positively set yourself apart which will better enable you to succeed in post-college careers.

Course Policies

Making sure you are familiar with course policies is critical to your success in the class - to make sure we're all on the same page, all students will complete a (fast and painless) quiz on key course policies. You'll find the quiz in the Assignments folder on Blackboard.

Click the button below to visit the Course Policies page.

Course Policies

Email 101


Assignment Overview

Each student will complete the following assignments for a total of 1000 points: Syllabus quiz (50 points), Portfolio1 (100 points), Portfolio 2 (100 points), Portfolio 3 (200 points), 2 peer reviews (50 points each), and 10 reading logs/discussions (each worth 45 points).


Points are earned through a variety of learning activities. The total number of points earned determines course grades.

A - level work is characterized as "outstanding"

  • A 93-100%, A- 90-92%

B - level work is characterized as "very good"

  • B+ 87-89%, B 83-86%, B- 80-8%

C - level work is characterized as "average"

  • C+ 77-79%, C 73-76%, C- 70-72%

D - level work is characterized as "needing improvement"

  • D+ 76-69%, D 63-66% , D- 60-62%

F - level work is characterized as "insufficient"

  • below 60%
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