Joseph F. Turcotte, PhD

Home » “Communication, Culture, Policy”, CS260Y – Intersession (Spring) 2016

“Communication, Culture, Policy”, CS260Y – Intersession (Spring) 2016

Intersession 2015-16
Day, Time – Mondays & Wednesdays, 9-11:50am
Location – DAWB 2-108

Course Director: Joseph F. Turcotte, PhD Candidate

Office Hours: Mondays, 12-1p & Wednesdays, 12-12:30p


Office: DAWB 3-127



Twitter: @joefturcotte#CS260Y

A) Description*
(Student Section, course readings)

This course introduces a brief history of the language, structure, and formulation of policy approaches to, primarily, Canadian culture and communication. It introduces students to key frameworks informing policy debate (the nation-state, public sphere, media as industry, official multiculturalism and cultural rights, copyright and intellectual property) and some challenges facing the management of the communications sector (globalization, digitization, convergence, deregulation, international law). Students will be provided with overviews of particular media industries and an understanding of how policy informs and functions through the particular debates about historic and emerging media regulation. Examples will be drawn from Canada and the U.S. as well as other communication markets/cultures.
* This course and syllabus have adapted and modified previous versions of Communication, Culture, Policy that have been taught at WLU. In particular, I would like to thank Drs. Peter Urquhart and Rhon Teruelle for their work designing previous sections of this course.

B) Expectations & Requirements

This course is a second-year course intended for students in the Communication Studies program and other related disciplines (primarily in the social sciences and humanities). Students are expected to have a working familiarity with introductory concepts in communication and cultural studies as well as the broad framework(s) for political economic analysis. These core concerns and theoretical frameworks will be introduced at the beginning of the course; however, students are expected to be cognizant of the intersections between political and economic as well as social and cultural issues.

Students are required to meet in-class expectations and complete readings and assignments outside of class meetings. In (and before) class, students are expected and required to meet 3 Ps: 1) be present; 2) be prepared; and, 3) participate. Students will be evaluated as to whether or not these 3 Ps are met for each seminar meeting.

 C) Learning Objectives

 This second year course is designed to enhance students’ understandings of communication studies materials as well as research and analysis skills. It also helps prepare them for future academic, public, and/or private sector opportunities. Key core competencies that will be developed include:

·      Critical awareness and understanding of Communication and Cultural Policy in Canada

·      Ability to analyze contemporary political and economic relationships

·      Develop and refine independent communication and research skills

·      Analysis of existing practices as well as the viability of possible alternatives

·      The capacity to identify and evaluate existing as well as emerging practices

·      Developing interpersonal skills as well and collegial/effective working relationships

·      Experience researching, analyzing, and interpreting qualitative data


·      Strategic thinking, research, analytical, project management, and organizational skills

D) Evaluation and Assignments

Students will be evaluated individually and in groups. Students will be expected to complete an annotated bibliography, major essay, and mid-term examination. Student will be expected to contribute to a group presentation on one of the specific issue areas.

 Attendance and Participation – 20% (ongoing)
Mid-Term Examination – 30% (25 May 2016)
Annotated Bibliography – 10% (30 May 2016)
Major Essay – 30% (In class: 8 June)
Final Test – 10% (In class: 13 June)

 Assignment Descriptions:

  • Attendance and Participation (20%)

Due: Ongoing. In (and before) class, students are expected and required to meet 3 Ps: 1) be present; 2) be prepared; and, 3) participate. To receive ‘top marks’ students are required to regularly contribute to our seminar discussions with insightful, interesting, and/or novel questions or comments. Using outside (or ‘real life’) examples is always helpful.

You will be permitted to miss 2 class meetings without losing marks. Whenever possible, please inform me beforehand. If you miss 2+ meetings per term you will lose 2/20 of the Attendance and Participation. The remaining 18/20 marks are based on your participation in class.

  • Mid-Term Examination (30%)

In class: 25 May 2016, 80 mins. The mid-term evaluation will cover all readings and materials that have been assigned and discussed to date. Further details in class.

  • Annotated Bibliography (10%)

(Maximum of 2 pages in length, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced) 

Due: 30 May 2016, in class (hard copy). Students will submit an annotated bibliography of four (4) scholarly sources for your essay. The annotated bibliography will serve as a proposal for the major essay and must include: 1) a clear outline of your topic and a set of 3 research questions; 2) a preliminary thesis statement; and 3) a preliminary annotation of 4 scholarly sources that will be used to make your argument.

  • Major Essay (30%)

(Minimum of 5 pages in length, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced; including citations)

In class: 8 June 2016. All students are required to complete a term paper during the term of the course. The purpose of the assignment is to help you more closely consider some of the concepts, ideas and terminology discussed in class and the readings. Students must demonstrate a command of the course materials as well as offer unique insight into a topic, thesis, or argument based on the course concepts and discussions. The research paper will develop a thesis/argument of your own choosing. Topics must be discussed and approved by your Course Director in advance. You will be expected to draw on concepts and ideas discussed in class and in the readings and expand on these ideas with your own research.

Papers must be based upon at least 5 sources and include references to: a scholarly book (not a text book), a journal article, and a credible web based source.

Plagiarism of any of any written assignment is punishable by failure of the course. Be sure to hand in both an electronic copy and a paper copy of your paper. Late assignments will not be accepted. References and Works Cited must be included and documented in MLA Style

Term Papers will be graded according to Four Categories: Category I: Introduction (Easily identifiable and clear introduction, and a sound thesis statement. It provides a concise brief summary/overview of the texts); Category II: Analysis (Demonstrate a clear and concise understanding of the texts, and provide an insightful analysis of the texts. The analysis is fresh and exciting; posing new ways to think of the material. The paper synthesizes all the assigned readings in a coherent manner. The writer not only agrees or/and disagrees with the authors; he/she clearly provides a compelling argument on his/her agreement or/and disagreement with the authors. His/her position must be well-stated and also be supported with evidences); Category III: Structure, Logic and Argumentation (All ideas in the paper flow logically; the argument is identifiable, reasonable, and sound. Excellent transitions from point to point. Use of evidence from the texts and ‘real world’ examples to support the paper’s core argument or author’s position. Quotes are well-integrated into sentences); and, Category IV: Mechanics (Sentence structure, grammar, and diction are excellent; correct use of punctuation and citation style and minimal to no spelling errors).

  • Final Test (10%)

In class: 13 June 2016, 80 mins. The final test will cover all readings and materials that have been assigned and discussed since the mid-term examination. Further details in class.

 E) Required Reading Materials:

Effort has been made to ensure that required readings for the course are available through the WLU library or as open-access/Creative Commons licensed materials online. In some cases this has not been possible; please consult your Course Director (Joseph Turcotte) in these cases.

Note: Some of the readings are available as eBooks through the WLU library and have restricted access in terms of the number of ‘copies’ that can be open at one time. Waiting until the last minute to access these readings may mean that you are unable to open the file.

Student Section (course readings)


CS260Y – WLU Intersession 2016

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