The course outline is available here as a PDF and is appended below.

This outline is on a locked page and cannot be edited. If you see anything wrong that needs fixing on this page, please let Mike or David know, and we'll fix it. - mlwjones mlwjones Sep 20, 2006

CCT300H5F - Fall 2006 - Critical Analysis of Media


This course looks at historical and contemporary issues in media form, design and economic structure. The goal is to outline how media forms both influence and are influenced by design, political and economic factors that are often erroneously treated as external.

This course also has an applied component, in which students will demonstrate their knowledge through creating a wiki concerning the essential form and structure of various media types and create their own constructive culture jamming/social influence campaigns on topics of their own interest.

Prerequisite: CCT 210


Prof. Michael Jones
Office: S319
Phone: (905) 845-9430 x 5555
Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3pm, Thursdays 5-6pm

David Gelb
Available during lab sessions (1-5pm)

We are both readily accessible by email, and will attempt to answer any questions electronically as rapidly as possible. That noted,do try to give a 24-48 hour window for responses, especially over the weekend.

Main Text

McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding Comics. New York: Harper Perennial
McCloud, S. (2000). Reinventing Comics. New York: Harper Perennial

Online readings as noted.


Lecture: Thursday 6:00-8:00pm , Sheridan J102
Labs: Thursday 1:00-5:00pm, Sheridan J316

Unless otherwise noted, lectures focus on course material in the form of instructor-led seminar discussion. It is expected that students will arrive prepared to discuss relevant course material for the class, including but not limited to the assigned readings for the class.

Labs will be reserved for individual and/or group work on course assignments, especially as the semester draws to a close and project deadlines become more pressing concerns. We will encourage dialogue and provide one-on-one assistance on any conceptual or technical questions that are relevant to your projects as required.

Assignment Structure

Further details regarding assignment requirements will be released and discussed as the course progresses.

1. Graphic Novel Analysis

Due October 12th

As McCloud notes, graphic novels have an untapped potential as a medium of expression. Since these books were written, it is arguable that this potential has come closer to realization. Even mainstream bookstores now have graphic novel sections. Much of the selection is largely influenced by Asian genres (e.g, manga, anime) but there’s a strong contingent of independent Canadian production (e.g.,Drawn and Quarterly press) and stories of international interest and acclaim (e.g., Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.)

In this assignment, you will investigate graphic novels by selecting a graphic novel of interest to you and analyzing it in reference to McCloud’s conceptual analysis of this emerging genre.

Approximately 1200-1500 word (5-6 pages)

2. Wiki – Form and Structure of Media

Final date for edits: Dec 8th (ongoing participation/content building required)

This course will be using Wikispaces to foster collaborative investigation on issues of relevance in this course.
The main deliverable for the course Wikispace will be the analysis of genre and form elements of various media forms.

This assignment contains three parts:

a) Content (10%) - Students are encouraged to pick one media genre of interest and develop an analysis of this genre (2-3pp.,approximately 500-700 words). A list of potential choices will be built in the first two weeks of the course, and further details on content requirements will be released in the second week of the course. Effective content will provide a robust, factual and complete analysis of the design of a particular media form, including exemplars.

b) Community building and maintenance (10%) – Wikis depend on continual effort by community writers to create a sustainable and active intellectual space. Our class Wiki is no exception,and this effort will be rewarded accordingly. The Wiki is your space –10% of your final mark will be allocated to your efforts to making this space a constructive learning experience.

c) Analysis and Reflection (5%) - In a short (1-2p.) paper,outline what contributions you have made to the course Wiki and share your reflections, concerns and suggestions for future Wiki users in CCIT.

3. Culture Jamming/Social Influence Project

Due Nov. 30th

In groups of 2-3, students will work on a particular culture jammingand/or social influence project of their own design and on a topic of their own choosing. Effective culture jamming projects willl ever age essential media form and design principles to shine a critical or ironic light on a particular issue of interest.Social influence campaigns, while similar, aim to spur action and awareness of a particular issue, not simply offer detached ironic commentary.

5% of the final grade will be reserved for the group’s formation and proposal, due Nov. 2nd. 5% will be reserved for presentation of the group’s final project. 20% will be reserved for the quality and effectiveness of the work created. Specific criteria will be discussed and outlined while groups are formed in the first half of the course.

4. Final Test

Dec. 7th
There will be one term test in this course, held during the last lecture period (Nov. 30th). This test will cover all assigned readings and seminar material, and will privilege application of course concepts vs. simple regurgitation of facts, dates, or authors. Specific content covered and question structures will be discussed laterin thesemesteras part of exam review.

Important Policy Notes

Students should familiarize themselves with Senate Policy described in the UTMCalendar:

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to be informed about plagiarismandfamiliarwiththe Faculty Rules and Regulations, Code of BehavioronAcademicMattersand Code of Student Conduct (see UTM2005-2006Calendar), whichstateyour rights, your duties and provide allthedetails ongradingregulations.

Academic honesty is a serious matter and will betreatedaccordingly.TheUTM calendar summarizes UTM policy on p. 25.Violationsofacademichonesty include:

• Using unauthorized aids on a test (e.g., “cheat sheets”)
• Looking at someone else’s answers on a test
• Plagiarism (representing or submitting someone else’s words or work as your own)
• Making up sources or facts for an essay or report
• Falsifying official documents or grades
• Submitting the same essay or report in more than one course without permission
• Impersonating another person at an exam or test, or having someone impersonate you

How Not to Plagiarize by Margaret Procter is an excellentprimeronwhatconsistitues plagiarism and how to avoid it. Youareresponsibleforcreating material that conforms to this levelofcitation, and thusarestrongly encouraged to read it. Ignorance ofthesebasicfundamentals isno excuse.

Access to Learning

The University accommodates students with disabilitieswhohaveregisteredwith the AccessAbility Resource CentreandSheridanCollege’s DisabilityServices centre. Please let me knowinadvance,preferably in the firstweek of class, if you willrequireanyaccommodation on these grounds.(2006-07 UTM CalendarSection6.2AccessAbility Resource Centre)."

Professional Etiquette

This course encourages lively constructive debate aroundtopicsthatcanbe of a sensitive and controversial manner. Studentsareexpectedtotreat their colleagues in a respectful manner in allclass,labandonline discussions. We will discuss particulars of whatthismeansinthe first class and create a mutually binding codeofethicsandetiquette. If you feel that someone is acting inviolationoftheseprinciples, you are encouraged to first attempt toresolvetheissuedirectly. Should this not be successful and/or you feelthatyoucannotfaithfully do so, bring your concerns to Prof. Jonesatthesoonestpossible opportunity.

Due Dates and Lateness

For both individual and group assignments, you mustsubmitassignmentsonthe specified due dates. Make sure you are aware ofduedates.

Computer glitches are not valid excuses for a late assignment–makesureyou back up your work and save it to multiplelocations(e.g.,USBkeychain drives, floppy disks, email copies toyourselfandothers,etc.)

You may submit late work the following day before 4p.m.,buttheassignment will receive a 20% late penalty in fairnesstothosewhohave completed their work on time.

Work submitted later than the following day with noexplanationwillnotbe accepted unless accompanied by a valid UniversityofTorontoMedicalCertificate The certificate is available at:

The student must provide official medical evidenceprovingthateventsbeyond his/her control prevented the submission oftheassignmentonthe given due date. There is no penalty, and the lateworkisaccepteduntil the length of time the evidence warrants.PleasecontactProf.Jones at the earliest opportunity should you findyourselfinthissituation.

Students who miss a term test will be assigned a mark ofzeroforthattest unless they can document a compelling reasonformissingit.Students in that position must submit a writtenrequestwithin oneweekof the missed test to Prof. Joneswithappropriatemedicaldocumentation. If the request is accepted,adifferent make-upwill bescheduled or the weighting of other termworkwill be increasedby theamount of the missed test.

Class Schedule

Sept. 14 - Introduction to course; Critical analysis ofmediathroughthelens of essential form and economic structure;compilationof mediaforms

Sept. 21 – Mass and New Media

• Manovich, L. (2001), New Media from Borges to HTML (
• Hempell, A. (1996). The Resonating Interval: Exploring the Process of the Tetrad (

Sept. 28 – Media and Genre

• McCloud, S. (1993) Understanding Comics
• Agre, P. (1998). Designing Genres for New Media: Social, Economic and Political Contexts

Oct. 5 - Culture Jamming and Social Influence

• Heath, J. & Potter A. (2002) The Rebel Sell. This Magazine, November
• Examples of Culture Jamming in Practice

Oct. 12 (Assignment #1: Graphic Novel Analysis) – Economic Factors

• Anderson, C. (2006). The Rise and Fall of the Hit. Online:
• Downes, D. (2000). The Resurrection of the Mass AudienceintheNewMedia Economy. The Journal of Electronic Publishing. Volume3.Issue1(2000): 7 Nov. 2005 (

Oct. 19 - Media Ownership and Economic Control

• McCloud, S. (2001). Coins of the Realm (I Can’t Stop Thinking #5, 6)
• McCloud, S. (2000). Reinventing Comics.

Oct. 26 – Propaganda, Truth and Objectivity

• Jon Stewart on Crossfire (2004)
• Kohut, A. (2000). Self- Censorship: Counting the Ways. Columbia Journalism Review, May/June. Online:
• Analysis of various contemporary issues of news objectivity

Nov. 2 - (Group Proposals for Culture Jamming/Social Influence Due): Identity and Privacy

• Agre, P. (2001) Your face is not a barcode: Arguments against automatic face recognition in public places.
• McCorduck, P. (1996). Sex, Lies and Avatars, Wired Magazine, April
• Media Awareness Network (2006). Issues in Media Stereotyping.
• Kennedy, H.W. (2002). Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? Game Studies 2(2).

Nov. 9 – The Internet Turn and its Limitations

• Winner, L. (1998) Mythinformation. Online:
• Bush, V. (1945). As We May Think. Online:

Nov. 16 - Future Directions – Web 2.0

• Trippi, J. (2003). The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Chapter 1 (
• Balter, D. (2004). The Word on Word of Mouth.
• Newmark, C. (2005). Why Craigslist Works, by Craig.
• Drezner, D.W. and Farrell, H. (2004). The Power and Politics of Blogs.

Nov. 23 - Future Directions – Rise of the Conceptual Age?

• Pink, D. (2005) Revenge of the Right Brain. Wired Magazine, February (
• McLeod, H. (2004). How To Be Creative (

Nov. 30 - Culture Jamming Projects Due – Presentations

Dec. 7 - Final Test (25%)