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Peer Review

Mass Media

by Terry Dugas


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.25 starsstar
Reviewed: Aug 01, 2011 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: The Mass Media information is divided into seven different modules, including: Orientation; culture; mass media; media and culture; consumer culture; advertising literacy; and internet literacy. There are seven presentations, seven readings, seven assignments, and a help section.
Type of Material: Presentation
Recommended Uses: The module provides the most potential as an out-of-class assignment. It would also be great material for an online course as well. It could be used for class discussion as well.
Technical Requirements: Apple QuickTime plug-in is required to view the video.
Identify Major Learning Goals: Identify, define, and describe the function of each element in the communication process. Describe and give examples of the 3 types of communications settings. Apply concepts of Formal Organizations, Gatekeepers, Agenda Setting, Operating Expenses, and Competition for Profit to a simulation of a mass media setting. Analyze media examples to determine what functions of mass communication are at work. Understand how current trends in mass communication will impact future mass communication. Examine how current trends have changed the media industry and changed how it affects culture. Examine how individuals use the mass media.
Target Student Population: This module is part of a course called Issues in Culture and Society so it could be used in sociology, marketing, communications, advertising, and psychology classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The module appears to provide a very good overview of the major topics associated with mass media (e.g., process, settings, goals, etc.). Strengths include good organization of the materials, covering very relevant topics. The quotes from mass media are quite interesting and current.
Concerns: One of the assignments was a bit raw, although no doubt somewhat popular with some young people. But, I would not use it in my classroom as an assignment because of the language. Some of the reading materials in the readings section are out of date. There is some "street language" presented in this module which is definitely inappropriate. I think the author could have picked other examples to explain how "noise" operates in the communication process. It is suggested that the instructor preview the assignments information, PRIOR to assigning this for students. The author does preface the content that some find offensive, with his reasons for its inclusion in the presentation/assignments.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: Effectiveness could be significant because of the social media phenomenon and its current popularity with the student population. There is a strong relationship between the readings, assignments, and presentation for each topic in the module.
Concerns: As mentioned in the prior section, some of the readings are out of date so the instructor (or author) should provide access to more current news in order to increase potential effectiveness. Likewise, students could be challenged to expand upon topics by finding more current information based on the assigned reading. Does it meet the standard of the "so what test?"

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: Navigation is clear and the material is easy to read. Ease of use is strong.
Concerns: One wrong click and a user can be taken to a different module other than "Mass Media". Instructors are advised to explain to their students that this module is part of a much larger course containing other modules associated with culture and society.

Other Issues and Comments: The materials are thorough and engaging.