Online Education

Online Education Center

Orientation Details

Online Orientation for JOUR-D002.-65Z
(It is highly recommended that you print out this page for future reference.)
Instructor Contact Information
Instructor Gail McElroy
Office Hours By appointment Only
Office Location L-41
Office Phone
A Message from your Instructor
This course explores the changing and dynamic world of mass communication, what makes it central to our human existence, and the importance of media literacy. We'll look at digital (online) media, print media (books, newspapers, magazines), audio media (music recordings, radio) and visual media (movies, television). We'll look at issues such as information overload, distributing digital content and the exploding roles of social media. We'll look at perspectives in the fields of journalism, entertainment, PR and advertising. We'll study media theory, ethics, research, law and the interplay between media and politics. We'll ask a lot of questions and look at different sides of difficult issues.

Who decides what's news? Is reality TV a reflection of society or is society mimicking TV? Is that explicit photo of the presidential candidate real or Photoshopped? Is peer-to-peer downloading stealing? Should libraries filter computer content to prevent kids from accessing pornography? Which politicians and celebrities need better PR? How do the media influence our thinking? Are we controlled by those who control the media? The associated questions are endless.

In this class, we will continue our evolution from being mere recipients of media messages to using the media as intelligent and discerning consumers. This may be one of the most relevant undergraduate courses you will take, as the media impact your life daily -- every time you listen to your iPod, change TV channels, glance at a magazine, or hang out on Facebook. This course deals with aspects and issues relevant to your life: current and future. Welcome!


"The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses."
Malcolm X (Civil Rights Activist, 1925-1965)

"All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can lift it onto a higher level."
William Bernbach (American Advertising executive, 1911-1982)

"The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They're about getting ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover."
Al Franken (U.S. Senator)

"I don't think anyone could claim to be media literate if he or she didn't understand that one of the principle functions of commercial media is not so much the provision of information or entertainment, but the segmentation and packaging of audiences for delivery and sale to advertisers... It's the audience which is the real product of the media, and not the programs."
Len Masterman (Author, media education theorist)

"Don't hate the media, become the media."
Jello Biafra (Musician)

Hours of Study
Be prepared to spend a minimum of 24 hours per week using and studying the course materials.
How to get started in your course

This class is taught completely online; there are no on campus meetings. Students who do the best in online courses can read at college-level and are diligent about following directions and meeting deadlines.

    For positives, prior Mass Comm online students have said:
  • "Not having to drive and face rush hour traffic or parking problems to go to school is great."
  • "I like being able to study in pajamas and at my own time and convenience (so class can be at 2 a.m. if I want). You can also study and catch up irrespective of where you are, if that place has a computer and Internet."
  • "It is ideal if you are working two jobs or have family responsibility and a crazy schedule."
  • "Being able to work at a pace you set yourself, as long as you can stick to the due dates. And you do not have to deal with groups!"
  • "Being able to spend more time on concepts that intrigue or challenge you and less on uninteresting or easy topics. Less wasted class time."
  • "No boring lectures from the professor and trying to stay awake during them." Students also had complaints about this class methodology:
  • "Distance learning seems harder since we were responsible for our own education with no professor to remind us (in person) of due dates, readings or clarify things in greater detail."
  • "Procrastination is a real problem. You can easily get behind with you work and assignments if you do not schedule your time and discipline yourself. This often happens, so be wary!"
  • "Distance learning is not a great way to take a class if you dislike reading or if your reading comprehension is not at a sufficient level. You will have to read the book!" NOTE:To do well in this class, you should be able to read and write at college level (qualified to enroll in EWRT 1A).
  • "I miss the social interaction and discussion that occurs in the classroom."
  • "You must have a convenient and reliable access to a computer and the Internet at all times, or you lose."

Be prepared to spend a minimum of 12 hours per week using and studying the course materials.

    How to get started in your course
  • 1. Make sure that you have regular (at least twice a week) access to a computer with Internet access and your own email address.
  • 2. After finishing this orientation, fill out the short form at the end.
  • 3. Purchase or rent the textbook (there's more info about obtaining the textbook on the professor's website).
  • 4. The actual course website (our virtual classroom) will open on the first day of the quarter, and you will be notified by email* how to log on to it. It will contain assignment details, an area for class discussions, access to quizzes, a private gradebook and other helpful resources. However, if you want to get an early start on the course before the first day of class, you can start reading and studying the required textbook from the beginning. We will be reading it from front to back.
  • 5. See you in class!

* NOTE: Messages to students will be sent to the email address that is listed on their De Anza College MyPortal webpage. Please make sure that email address is correct and current.

Online Education
Building: MLC 210

Phone: 408.864.8969
M-Th: 9:00a-5:00p
F: 9:00a-4:00p


Last Updated: 1/27/16