M W F 12:05 to 12:55
Room 371 Skiles Building
Instructor: Brian Schrank
bschrank [at] gmail [dot] com

Description: In Introduction to Media Studies students will develop the skills to analyze contemporary and historical media through various critical lenses including technology, production practices, relationships to culture, and politics. Some of the mediums studied are videogames, the internet, television, film, radio, photography, painting, print, and orality. Media will be examined through frameworks developed by Peirce , Hauser , Eisenstein , Benjamin , Greenberg , Baudrillard , Žižek , Foster , Chomsky , Lakoff , Murray , Bolter , Jenkins , and Frasca , among others. In the course students will read canonical texts from the field and employ them in their own analysis of media objects in essay form, in-class discussions, and oral reports.

Course Goals: Students will gain agency over our contemporary mediascape, and will be able to think about, debate and critique media artifacts and events with a versatile and rich theoretical toolset.

Course Concepts and Topics:

General Questions of the Course:

  • What is media?
  • How did the spread of mass media in the 20th century affect society?
  • How has the concept of what media is and what media is for changed in history?
  • How is contemporary technoculture being shaped by the rise of digital media?
  • Who controls media production, dissemination and reception?
  • What ideologies or biases are embedded in media?
  • How do technological affordances and limitations affect the cultural use of media?
  • What can we learn from comparative analysis of media artifacts and events?

Attendance is required. A record of attendance and tardiness will be used in determining your final grade. You are allowed three absences. Tardiness will count as 1/3 of an absence. Each absence beyond the third will lower your grade half a letter. Six absences will guarantee a failing grade. It’s up to the student to notify the instructor in case of illness or emergency, in which case the absence will be excused. However notification must occur before or shortly after an absence or it will not be excused. If you miss class, you are responsible for contacting another student and not the instructor to catch up on missed material.

Cell-Phones and Mobile Devices should not be audible (including audible vibration) during class. Any student who answers a cell phone during instruction class will be excused for the day.

Assignments are due by the start of class on their due date. One letter grade will be deducted for calendar day the assignment is late, including the day it is due.

Class Room / Lab: All computers are re-imaged regularly and without warning by support staff. Use server space or removable media to store your files. It is your responsibility to keep your files safe. Keep in mind if your files are lost causing your assignment to be late its grade will be docked regardless.


Grade %
Due Date

Essay: Space and Representation


Essay: Reproduction and Aura


Propaganda Poster


Essay: Postmodernism

10% 11/5

In-Class Report


In-Class Participation

Every Class
Extra Credit

In-Class Media Examples and 2 Critical Observations

Discussion Days

Disabilities: A student can request accommodations to academic courses either by contacting is/her instructor directly and/or by contacting the Disabled Student Services Coordinator (DSSC). For simpler requests (e.g., changing seat assignments because of eyesight or hearing limitations), the student may want to discuss the request directly with the instructor; however, the student can always request that the DSSC facilitate the accommodations. The DSSC will discuss the accommodation requests with the appropriate Georgia Tech personnel, who will issue a decision, in writing, to the student, to the department or instructor, and to the DSSC.