Welcome to Media History 

Cover2.RCTextbook: Revolutions in Communication, Media History from Gutenberg to the Digital Age,  ISBN-10: 1441114602,  ISBN-13: 978-1441114600  By Bill Kovarik.

 Goals:  The primary goal of a class in the history of any subject is ( as Thucydides said 2,500 years ago) to provide a knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future; to learn the lessons of history and to apply them to the present; to understand where we have been and so to consider where we might be going.

 Instructor’s role: As textbook author, Prof. Kovarik will introduce you to the people, events and trends in media history and also coordinate tests and instructional materials.

Guest instructors:  From time to time we’ll be using new media to bring in guest instructors who are specialists in particular areas of media history.

Students:  You will be expected to:

  1. Read books and articles.
  2. Watch films about the media (documentary and fiction)
  3. Complete weekly assignments, be ready for weekly quizzes.
  4. Help organize a group from within your concentration or discipline (advertising, journalism, public relations, visual communication, web design, etc). You will be expected to keep ahead of the reading and help outline the topics and resources for others outside your group.
  5. Be able to respond to Discussion Questions on the web site in class. Also,  question the material itself and present questions that could be used in tests.
  6. Help in construction of the web pages, including timelines, suggestions for further reading, questions for tests, and (especially) the international history sections. This is not a drill.  The second edition of Revolutions in Communication is under construction, and anyone who makes a contribution to the book will be mentioned in the acknowledgements.
  7. Select an historical research topic and work with students from another university to learn more about the topic. At some point you will deliver a research presentation.
  8. Following Thucydides advice, can we use this history to  help us interpret the future of the mass media?  At some point you will deliver a futuristic prediction for your area of media based on historic trends.

Suggested grading priorities:  Attendance and/or  assignments (10 %)  Quizzes (20 %) Mid Term (20%) Final (20 %);  Final project   (30 %)

Other policies

• Attendance policy:  Missing more than 10 percent of classes will result in proportional reductions in grade.  For online classes, missing more than 10% of the discussion assignments will result in a proportional reduction in grade.

• Late policy: Deadlines as posted need to be observed, or proportional reductions in grade will ensue.

• Honor Code: By accepting admission to ______  University, each students makes a commitment to understand, support and abide by the University Honor Code without compromise or exception.

• Plagiarism — Students who directly copy work from anyone else will flunk the class and be reported to the Dean of Students office.


Week 1 — Read Resources / introduction and the three history links

  •   About history
  •   About historians
  •   About Media History

Week 2 — Ch. 1 The impacts of printing

Week 3 — Ch. 2 The industrial media

Week 4 — Ch. 3 Print media in the 20th and 21st centuries

Week 5 — Ch. 4 Photography

Week 6 — Ch. 5 Cinema

Week 7 — Ch. 6 Advertising & PR

Mid Term Exam   

Week 8 — Ch. 7 Telegraphy & Telephony

Week 9 — Ch. 8 The Golden Age of Radio

Week 10 — Ch. 9 Television and Satellites

Week 11 — Ch. 10 Advent of computers

Week 12 — Ch. 11 Networking the world

Week 13 — Ch. 12 Global Culture

Week 14  Student presentations 

Week 15  Final Exam


About quizzes

There is a quiz for every chapter plus one for the introduction (named “Quiz 0”). The   chapter numbers should line up with the quiz numbers. So the quiz for Ch. 5 is Quiz 5.

About Disabilities 

If you are seeking academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act at _____  University, you may need to register with the Disability Resource Office (DRO).


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