Tuesday, January 05, 2010

COMM 291 syllabus - special topics, magazine editing

Communications 291: Topics / Magazine Editing
Benedictine University at Springfield
Spring Semester 2010

Communications 291 is a special topics course, in this case offered on an independent study basis covering selected aspects of communications, in this case the principles and practices of editing magazine copy for publication to bring out a writer’s intent and voice. Instructor: Pete Ellertsen, 211 Beata Hall (old Ursuline convent), telephone 525-1420 x519. email: pellertsen@sci.edu. Office hours TBA. Home: 2125 South Lincoln, Springfield, IL 62704. tel. to be determined.

I. Course description. Student(s) will read a book about editor Harold Ross of The New Yorker and one of the University of Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing and Publishing; edit manuscripts for publication in Benedictine University Springfield’s campus magazine, The Sleepy Weasel; and reflect on their experience in writing and at periodic meetings with the instructor, who serves as faculty adviser and production manager of the magazine. The catalog description of COMM 291 is as follows:

Course Title: Topics
Course Number: COMM 291
Credits: 3.00
Study of aspects of communication on the intermediate level not listed as regular course offerings. May be repeated.

An Independent Study Learning Contract, agreed to by each student and the instructor among others, will be attached to this syllabus. Credit will not be assigned for COMM 291 until this contract has been executed by all parties to the contract and filed with the Office of the Registrar.

II. Textbooks. There are two: (1) Carol Fisher Saller, The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (U. of Chicago, 2009); and (2) James Thurber, The Years with Ross (ed. Adam Gopnik, HarperCollins Perennial Classics edition, 2001). Stylebooks for The Sleepy Weasel are the Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style.

III. Mission statement of Benedictine University. Benedictine dedicates itself to the education for the undergraduate and graduated students from diverse ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. As academic community committed to liberal arts and professional education distinguished and guided by its Roman Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage - the University prepares its students for a lifetime as active, informed and responsible citizens and leaders in the world Community.

IV. Goals, objectives and outcomes.

A. Goals.
• Students will learn basic editorial principles, attitudes and practices in academic and quality magazine settings
• Students will gain practical editing experience on Benedictine Springfield’s campus magazine.
• Students will gain metacognitive knowledge of their experience and its relation to the practices and principles detailed in their readings

B. Student Learning Objectives. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate mastery of specific editing skills required in the preparation of articles and art for publication and in the production of a campus magazine of literature, the arts and public affairs. Students will reflect on how these skills relate to the following Communication Arts program objectives:

1. Prepare graduates for careers in advertising, electronic and print media, journalism, public relations, publishing, writing or other careers requiring sophisticated communications skills;

2. Prepare graduates for continued study in graduate or professional school;

3. Develop the student's critical and imaginative thinking, reading and writing skills;

4. Develop skills to empower the student to communicate ideas effectively, through speaking, writing and the use of technology;

5. Develop skills for critical interpretation of the media;

6. Foster aesthetic understanding in both production and interpretation of media texts;

7. Develop knowledge of the methods to make responsible social and personal decisions;

8. Develop primary and secondary research methodologies;

9. Develop an understanding of the history, structure and operation of the mass media;

10. Provide an understanding of the impact of mass media industries and messages on the individual, society and culture;

11. Develop professional-level skills in written and oral communication for a variety of media and audiences;

12. Develop professional-level production skills for both print and electronic media;

13. Encourage the development of creative expression; and

14. Help the student develop a professional media portfolio.

V. Teaching Methods. Please see Course Requirements below.

VI. Course Requirements.

A. PRDUCTION AND EDITING – Duties as assigned by the faculty adviser.
B. JOURNAL - The student is expected to keep a log of work performed in the editing and production of the magazine, and to meet regularly with the faculty mentor. The student is encouraged to use these conferences to discuss his/her journals and begin planning for the reflective essay due at the end of the semester.
C. SELF-REFLECTIVE PAPER - The student will prepare a 5- to 7-page self-reflective essay on the internship experience, based on the journal he/she has maintained through the semester and relating his/her learning experience to program goals of the Communication Arts program. The body of the paper should explain the processes, projects, and learning experiences acquired by the student during the internship period. This essay will be turned into the faculty adviser by the last day of regularly scheduled classes in the semester.

VII. Means of Evaluation. Grades are weighted as follows:


Academic Integrity Statement. Academic and professional environments require honesty and integrity, and these qualities are expected of every student at Springfield College-Benedictine University. In accordance with such expectations, academic integrity requires that you credit others for their ideas. Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, is a grievous offense. Any time you use words or ideas that are not your own, you must give credit to the author, whether or not you are quoting directly from that author. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism. Any incident of plagiarism and/or academic dishonesty may result in serious consequences. Penalties for academic dishonesty vary depending on the severity or extent of the problem but are always serious. The following are consequences you may face for academic dishonesty:

• a failing grade or “zero” for the assignment;
• dismissal from and a failing grade for the course; or
• dismissal from the Institution.

Please refer to the Springfield College Benedictine University Catalog or the Student Handbook for a complete discussion of the Academic Integrity policy.

Grade Appeal Process. According to the Springfield College Catalog, grade appeals must be initiated 90 days prior to the end of one semester after the course in question has been completed. The process for appealing a grade is outlined below. First, contact the Instructor.
1. A student must appeal to his/her instructor in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed.
2. The instructor must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide a copy to the division chair. Second, contact the Division Chair.
3. If the student wishes, he/she may then appeal to the division chair in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed without the instructor’s permission. The student should understand that overwhelming evidence must be presented to the division chair to prove that the current grade is incorrect.
4. The division chair must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable) and provide a copy to the academic dean. Lastly, contact the Academic Dean.
5. If the student wishes, he/she may appeal to the academic dean in writing (e- mail is acceptable) and provide specific reasons why his/her grade should be changed without the instructor’s or the division chair’s permission. The student should understand that overwhelming evidence must be presented to the academic dean to prove the grade is incorrect.
6. The academic dean must respond to the student in writing (e-mail is acceptable). The academic dean’s decision is final.

Incomplete Request. To qualify for an “I” grade, a minimum of 75% of the course work must be completed with a passing grade, and a student must submit a completed Request for an Incomplete form to the Registrar’s Office. The form must be completed by both student and instructor, but it is the student’s responsibility (not the instructor’s) to initiate this process and obtain the necessary signatures. Student Withdrawal Procedure It is the student’s responsibility to officially withdraw from a course by completing the appropriate form, with appropriate signatures, and returning the completed form to the Advising Office. Please refer to the Student Handbook for important financial information related to withdrawals.

Add/Drop Dates

January 25 - Last day to add courses
January 25 - Last day to drop a course without a W (4:00 p.m.)
April 5 - Last day to drop courses

VIII. Course Outline and/or Calendar. See goals and objectives above. Calendar TBA.

IX. Americans with Disabilities Act. Benedictine University at Springfield College in Illinois provides individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programs, actives and services. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in class activities or meet course requirements should contact the Director of the Resource Center as early as possible.

X. Assessment. Goals, objectives, and learning outcomes to be assessed will be stated in the Learning Contract. Primary means of assessment will be self-reflective essays and examination of any portfolio artifacts.

Final exam schedule TBA.

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