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Mary A Bock


CWGS Core Teaching Faculty

Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism, Moody College of Communication
Mary A Bock

Contact

Interests


Sociology of photographic practice, the rhetorical relationship between words and images, and digital media

Courses


COM 370H • Visual Media/Culture/Ethics

05750 • Fall 2020
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BMC 3.204
Hybrid/Blended
E (also listed as T C 358)

Description:

Whether in the form of cave paintings, photographs or digital animation, images have a role in the formation of our culture, ideology and social identity. This course explores the power of visual media in society, their production in media and the ethics of their use. This course covers the essential language of visual critique with the goal of helping students become more visually literate so that they can be better readers and creators of visual messages.

This course explores three broad questions:

  1. How do human beings make meaning from images?
  2. How does the relationship between the creator and the resulting artifact affect our understanding of a visual artifact?
  3. How does technology affect our ability as humans to communicate visually?
  4. How should we make, use and disseminate images in ethical and socially responsible ways?

Why should anyone take this course?

  1. To be able to better appreciate, interpret and understand media images
  2. To be able to defend oneself from manipulation by visual rhetoric
  3. To know the principles necessary for creating informative, ethical, useful and attractive visual artifacts

How will students be assessed? By the end of this course, students should

  1. be able to analyze and critique images using the language of art criticism and design
  2. be able to analyze and critique images from a rhetorical and ideological perspective
  3. be able to demonstrate knowledge of the history of image-creation and the relationship between technology and image-creation
  4. be able to demonstrate knowledge of the ethical considerations in the processes of image creation and media production

  

Required:  

Lester, P. (2011). Visual Communication: Images with Messages (7th ed.).  Wadsworth.  

Barry, A. M. S. (1997). Visual Intelligence : Perception, Image, and Manipulation in Visual Communication. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.*

Optional (excerpts will be provided as PDFs online):

Barry, A. M. S. (1997). Visual Intelligence : Perception, Image, and Manipulation in Visual Communication. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.*

Brummett, B. (2010). Techniques of Close Reading. Los Angeles: Sage.

McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper Perennial.

Rose, G. (2012). Visual Methodologies, 3rd ed. Los Angeles: Sage.

Sontag, S. (1973). On Photography. New York, NY: Picador.

*available as an e-book from the University of Texas Library System 

Strongly Suggested Reading for everyone, all the time:

Strunk, W. & White, E.B. (2005) The Elements of Style. New York: Penguin Press. 

 

Supplies:

A notebook dedicated to this class, a pack of 3X5 note cards and a stapler. You may also need to use a digital camera during the class.  If you do not have one, you may borrow one from the AV center.  

 

Learning Management System:  

We’ll be using Canvas — a Web-based course management system with password-protected access at to distribute course materials, to communicate and collaborate online, to post grades, to submit assignments, and to give you online quizzes and surveys. You can find support in using Canvas at the ITS Help Desk at 475-9400, Monday-Thursday 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-6pm, and Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm.

 

Honor’s Level Work: As Honors students, you will be held responsible for engaging with the material at a high level.  You will be presenting illustrations, examples and current controversies regularly throughout the semester in formal and informal ways.  This course is designed to address the controversies and ethical issues facing media leaders in the digital age – that’s you. Students will be expected to not merely participate but to contribute to our mutual education.

 

Grade Scale, 400 Point Course

A

92%  & above

368-400

A-

90-91 %

360-367

B+

88-89 %

352-359

B

82-87 %

328-351

B-

80-81 %

320-327

C+

78-79 %

312-319

C

72-77 %

288-311

C-

70-71%

280-287

D+

68-69%

272-279

D

62-67%

248-271

D-

61%

244-247

F

60% & below

243 and below

 

Grading: I use plus-minus grading.  Grades are distributed according to a point system. Students will be assessed according to their ability to demonstrate a mastery of the material (knowledge) and their ability to demonstrate thoughtful synthesis of the material (critical thinking skills). Assessment items for the undergraduate course are distributed as follows:

  • Professionalism, 18%
  • Presentations, Engagement, 30%
  • Written Assignments, 52% 

The percentages for the grade scale, and the points necessary for the various grades in this 400-point course, are listed in the table at the right.

How to succeed in this course: keep up with the reading and read the news – think about what we’re learning and how it relates to the world around you.  Do not fall behind in your reading responses. You can use the assignment list included with this packet to keep track of your grades.

Tentative Schedule

 

 

Date

Topic

Read Before Class

Due at Classtime

M

 

Introduction

 

 

W

 

How the Eyes Work

Psych Today,

Barry 1, Lester 1

 

M

 

Martin Luther King Day Holiday

 

 

W.

 

Perception

Barry 2,

Lester CH 2

 

M

 

Witnessing

Zelizer PDF & TBA

 

W.

 

Vocabulary of the Visual

Lester CH6

Response One: Vision v. Perception

M

 

Perspective & Linearity

Barry 3

 

W

 

Design Principles & Gestalt  

Lester CH 3

 

M

 

Semiotics

Lester 6

 

W

 

Text & Context

Lester 8

 

M

 

Maps & Graphics 

Lester 9

 

W

 

Typography

Lester 7 &We will watch Helvetica in class

 

M

 

Rhetorical Principles

Brummett 1-4

Response Two: Design Critique

W

 

Rhetorical Principles

Lester 4

 

M

 

Catch Up & Review

 

 

W

 

Presentations: Biographies of image-producers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Topic

Read Before Class

Due at Classtime

M

Mar. 17

Political Cartoons

Lester 10, MCCloud

 

W

Mar. 19

History of Photography

Lester 11, Rosenblum PDF

 

M

Mar. 24

History of Film

Lester 12, Barnouw PDF

Response 3: Photo Critique

W

Mar. 26

Documentary  & TV

Lester 13

 

M

Mar. 31

Narrative & Image

Bock PDF

 

W

April. 2

Image Ethics: Stereotypes

Lester CH 5,

Lutz & Collins PDF

 

M

April 7

Image Ethics: Photojournalism

Lester 11, Sontag

 

W

April 9

Image Ethics: Horror

 Without Sanctuary

Response 4: Visual Stereotypes

M

April 14

Images & Gender

(We will watch “Killing us Softly” by Kilbourne)

W

April 16

Images & Consumer Culture  

 

 

M

April 21

Ideology & Image

Bock PDF

 

W

April 23

Interactive Graphics

Lester 14

Response 5: Ideological Critique

M

April 28

Performance, Photoshop & The Future

Lester 15

 

W

April 30

Presentations: Image Ethics & Literacy

 

Assessment Opportunities

Assignments:

  1. Present & Prepared (60 points): Daily participation will be tallied according to the peep system. You’ll earn one point a day simply for being here.  Coming prepared earns the second point.  You will demonstrate preparedness by being able to answer a question from the readings, or by bringing the supplies required, or fulfilling an in-class assignment. These are tallied up each quarter.
  2. Office visits (2@ 5 points each): Each office visit is worth 5 points – all or nothing. Each visit allows us to dicuss your ideas for your larger projects (the biography and the ethics papers). 
  3. Peep Design (5 points): As part of our unit on design and gestalt, create a Peep candy design to illustrate one of the relevant concepts. Share in class.
  4. Reading Responses (5 @ 25points): Students will have five opportunities to respond to what we’re learning in class online. Posts should be at least 350 words and incorporate visual and multimedia elements. The best response essays will display an understanding of class concepts and employ visual messaging. Grammar, spelling and writing technique, as well an appropriate incorporation of vocabulary and concepts from class, will be considered when posts are graded.  Generally speaking, these posts should not be stream-of- consciousness journal entries – they should be written as mini essays, with a beginning, middle and end, a thematic statement (or thesis) and appropriate supporting statements. Note: these responses are worth as much as an exam. It is worth your effort to keep up. 
  5. Current Issue “Show & Tell” (5 @ 20 points): Bring an example of a visual controversy, ethical issue, rhetorical trope or other relevant concept and discuss with the class. Create a slide for the class.  Upload the image and a paragraph about your illustrative example to Canvas.  Deadlines will vary – students need to do this five times during the semester.
  6. Analytical Biography, Written Report & Presentation (50 points): Choose an artist, photographer, designer or other prominent visual creator. Write a contextual biography that connects their life to their work. Present your project to the class.
  7. Ethical Analysis, Written Report & Presentation (50 points): Choose a current ethical problem that relates to visual media. Write an analysis that discusses the various ways it has been – and might be – handled. Present your project to the class.

 

Assignments & Grades

Item

Description

Points Possible

Points Earned

 
 

Professionalism

Present & Prepared

60 

 

 

 

Office Conference 1

5

 

 

 

Office Conference 2

5

 

 

 

Peep Design

5

 

 

Reading Responses

Response 1

25

 

 

 

Response 2

25

 

 

 

Response 3

25

 

 

 

Response 4

25

 

 

 

Response 5

25

 

 

“Show & Tell”

Presentation 1

20

 

 

 

Presentation 2

20

 

 

 

Presentation 3

20

 

 

 

Presentation 4

20

 

 

 

Presentation 5

20

 

 

Analytical Biography

Paper

40

 

 

 

Presentation

10

 

 

Ethical Issue

Paper

40

 

 

 

Presentation

10

 

 

 

Total Points

400

 

 

WGS 324 • Gender & The News

44760 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CMA 3.120
CD (also listed as J 348D, J 395, WGS 393)

Description:

This course explores the relationship between gender, journalism, and culture, both historically and currently. It examines the role of the news media in reinforcing and/or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about gender. The course will focus on producers of journalism and as subjects of media portrayals. We will place those topics in broader perspective by delving a bit into gender theory, popular culture, and political communication. Together we will contend with the ways gender matters in news today—a question that invites many kinds of answers.

WGS 324 • Gender & The News

46037 • Fall 2018
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BMC 3.206
CD (also listed as WGS 393)

Please check back for updates.

WGS 324 • Gender & The News

46905 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CMA 6.174
CD

Please check back for updates.

WGS 324 • Gender & The News

46855 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BMC 3.204
CDWr (also listed as J 348D, WGS 393)

DescriptionThis course explores the relationship between gender, journalism, and culture, both historically and currently.  It examines the role of the news media in reinforcing and/or challenging prevailing stereotypes and attitudes about gender. The course will focus on producers of journalism and as subjects of media portrayals. We will place those topics in broader perspective by delving a bit into gender theory, popular culture, and political communication. Ultimately, we aim to grapple with how gender matters in news today—a question that invites many kinds of answers.

Flags: Diversity& Writing

 

This ia “meets with courseIf you are enrolled for graduate credit, there will be additional readings

assigned based on your individual final project proposal. See Dr. Bock for the graduate credit syllabus.

WGS 324 • Gender & The News

46570 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BMC 4.204
CDWr (also listed as J 348D)

Multidisciplinary course examining issues of women, gender, and sexuality in media industries, texts, and audiences. Historical and contemporary exploration of gender and the news. Examination of the role of marginalized gender groups in producing news and the construction of gender within news texts.

WGS 345 • Women And The News

48080 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM BMC 5.214
CDWr (also listed as J 342F)

WGS 345 WOMEN AND THE NEWS

Some topics partially fulfill legislative requirement for American history.

Prerequisite: Varies with the topic.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Fulfills the communication and culture requirement in the College of Communication.

MEETS WITH J 340C (TOPIC 5).

WGS 345 • Women And The News

47370 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CMA 6.170
(also listed as J 342F, J 395)

WGS 345 WOMEN AND THE NEWS

Some topics partially fulfill legislative requirement for American history.

Prerequisite: Varies with the topic.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Fulfills the communication and culture requirement in the College of Communication.

MEETS WITH J 340C (TOPIC 5).

 

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    Burdine Hall 536
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    512-471-5765