MDST 2002 Media and Communication History

Instructor Contact:

Dean Colby, PhD


Course Description

Examines the historical development of communication forms, tools, technologies and institutions (orality, writing, printing, photography, film, radio, television, computers, Internet, Internet advertising); their influence on culture (forms of expression and social relationships); and their impact on social and individual experience. Applies knowledge of communication history to contemporary social issues and problems in media and society, domestically and internationally.

Course Objectives

Investigating communications and media history offers a rich experience into the examination of contemporary communications and media practices. In other words, any history is only relevant as a way to help us understand our present. Indeed, without understanding this history, we can scarcely understand the present. What this study of the history of communications and media demonstrates are the ways that we construct our individuality, the way we are socially integrated, the extent to which the choices we do so are not our own because this history reveals relations of power mediated by public and private institutions.

These objectives will help students:

  • Engage in a deep reading of the history of communications and media.
  • Summarize the student’s experience as a media producer and consumer in light of what you know about the history of media and communications.
  • Analyze an interesting pattern between those student’s communication and media uses and some aspects of the history of communications and media and interpret the importance of these patterns, or pattern.
  • Evaluate and critically explain how an understanding of the history of communications and media sheds light on contemporary communications and media practices.
  • Recommend a solution to problems imposed by contemporary communications and media practices in light of what the student knows about the history of communications and media.

Required Text:

David Crowley & Paul Heyer, Eds., Communication in History (5th ed., Pearson: 2007 or 6th ed., 2011).



Essays 100 Points Each
Reading Comprehension Responses (10 modules) 30 Points Each
One-hour Zoom interactive sessions 100 Points Each
Total 1000 Points

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