BC375: The Evolution of Communication Media

Course Credits:
Course Hours Per Week:

Course Overview

This course examines the historical development of communication media as well as the role communication media have played in the trends and events of history. Major forms of communication media are examined from an evolutionary perspective, including the press, film, radio, television, and various forms of new media. Students explore the relationship of communication media to such public policy topics as public opinion, propaganda, corporate influence, government control, censorship, privacy, commercialism and the rise of consumer society, democratization, the digital divide, and globalization.

For the course project, Case Study: Analysis of a Critical Communication Event in Recent History, students will select a “critical communication event” in recent history. Students will use this historical event to frame their exploration of the mutual influences of media and society across a variety of communication media. 

Course Learning Objectives

  • Analyze the influence of history upon communication media as well as the influence of communication media upon history.
  • Analyze the history of film, the struggles for control of film content, and the role of film in fostering the spread of a global mass culture.
  • Analyze the history of the press, the responsibilities of the press, principles of freedom of the press, and the relationship between the press and market forces.
  • Analyze the history of television, commercialism and consumer culture, and the effects of television on children.
  • Analyze the history of radio, the broadcast standard of “public interest, convenience, or necessity,” and the use of radio for political messages and propaganda.
  • Analyze the history of the Internet, social networking, and the democratization of knowledge and the digital divide.
  • Analyze the history of wireless telecommunications, and their role in globalization and social movements.
  • Write a comprehensive case study of a critical communication event in recent history, with summary reflections on the reciprocal influences of media and society.