Media, Culture and Society

Purpose: to help other instructors teaching the same course

Common Course ID: Comm 3102 Media, Culture and Society
CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

Abstract: This open textbook is being utilized in a Communication Studies course for undergraduate students by Liliana Conlisk Gallegos at CSU San Bernardino. The open textbook provides free access to an overview of the history of media and its current interrelationship with culture and society. The main motivation to adopt an open textbook was that it was free, easy to access, and can be easily renewed and substituted as new material comes out without abusing student’s economic status.  Most student access the open textbook by clicking on a URL or by downloading a PDF version of the online textbook.

About the Course

Course Title and Number and Description
COMM 3102 Media, Culture and Society. Communication Studies requirement. Semester Prerequisite: COMM 2101, which may be taken concurrently with COMM 3102. Quarter Prerequisite: completion of COMM 320 or consent of instructor This course explores the role of media and other mass communication in political, economic, and socio-cultural life. Key theories are considered and applied to practical communication processes. The evolution of media scholarship -- from mass society to convergence culture -- is also examined. Formerly COMM 321. Link to comm studies catalog:

Student population:  Mostly comm majors, mid career students. As a Hispanic Serving Institution, our school is mostly Latina/o/x population. Yet, I notice that there is a greater number of Anglo and European American students in these courses that in my Chicano Latino courses. 
Learning or student outcomes: 
List student learning outcomes for the course. Share demographics for students who take the class e.g. common majors, previous preparation, etc.

Key challenges faced and how resolved: The COVID pandemic has impacted our communities in the most horrendous ways. Students constantly needed extensions and asked for resubmissions and the like. Most of our time was spent in writing emails and making sure our students were being properly served. Having a free textbook readily available at any time actually helped remove one more challenge to have to worry about.

Share any curricular or pedagogical changes that you made
As I mentioned above, using this text helped me make my course more about today. The textbook took care of providing students with the background information. I supplemented their learning by contextualizing it to consider issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, and socioeconomic status. 

About the Resource/Textbook 

Textbook or OER/Low cost Understanding Media and Culture: An introduction to Mass Communication
Brief Description: An open-source textbook published by UMN Libraries. From the publisher, “will support an engaging and interesting course experience for students that will not only show them the powerful social, political and economic forces will affect the future of media technology, but will challenge students to do their part in shaping that future”. Structure separates types of media and each chapter delves deeper into the historical developments that surrounded the foundation of media formats, their impact in culture, society, and the foundation of other new media formats and genres. Each chapter has vocabulary and questions at the end which can be assigned for further discussion or which can be used for inspiration to create questions that relate to current events.

Authors:   From the publishers website, “Understanding Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication is adapted from a work produced and distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA) in 2010 by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution. This adapted edition is produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing through the eLearning Support Initiative.

This adaptation has reformatted the original text, and replaced some images and figures to make the resulting whole more shareable. This adaptation has not significantly altered or updated the original 2010 text. This work is made available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike license.”

Student access:  Student can access directly from the publisher’s website by clicking on the URL where they can download the book in parts in PDF format.

Supplemental resources: I reserve the right to not openly share the resources I researched and created for my course. I can share that I created vocabulary assignments. I also made sure to keep updated on current events, popular TV shows and made sure that there was open access to samples on the internet. This will require professors to keep updated. It is a lot of work, but it will make your classes more effective and interesting.  

Cost Savings:  The list price of an alternative book ranges in around $85. If you multiply 85 dollars by the number of students, I have taught savings come up above $6,000. In addition, we should also consider the savings from the supplemental materials which provided media samples that are available online or via the Pfau library for free.

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike license.

OER/Low Cost Adoption

OER/Low Cost Adoption Process

Please explain your motivation to use this textbook or OER/Low-cost adoption. I have been doing this since I started teaching at CSUSB in 2015. I noticed the struggles that our students face. My students share so much of themselves with me because I am an open book, very honest and transparent. This has made it possible for me to learn even more about our student population, which made me become more sensitive to the ways in which I may have been enforcing or creating unnecessary struggles for them. My motivation is to support our students in all the possible ways that I can. 

How did you find and select the open textbook for this course?  Dedicated pure research. 

Sharing best practices:  Prepare well in advance, Channel Rasquachismo to stay fresh, Multitask and Trust your students, Consolidate

Describe any challenges you experienced, and lessons learned. Honestly, I have not faced any challenges with this program. I believe it should be a campus wide requirement to demonstrate we are all doing our best as instructors to provide low cost alternatives to our students. 

About the Instructor

Liliana Conlisk-Gallegos

I keep it real, I learn to teach. What this means is that I cannot see how you can be a good teacher if you are not being conscious about the context into which you are entering when you come and serve a community. I teach students to unlearn coloniality and this empowers them to reach their goals in a way that no course content ever will. 

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