Media for Social Responsibility

In this course, students will learn to synthesize complex information about a particular topic of global social consequence (such as pollution, illiteracy, obesity, de-forestation, malnutrition) and develop proposals for actual media companies to address these topics and effect positive change.

The course format includes a leading expert outlining the importance of the issue and its relation to media's social responsibility in a keynote address, case studies of the ways in which this topic has already been addressed in the media, and small teams of students led by industry professionals working on a group project.

Students will demonstrate their grasp of the social impacts of the problem and media's social responsibility, their ability to apply message design and media selection strategies, and their knowledge of media economics and programming formats.

Life with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Facts from Fiction

1 credit
Prof. Tina Caswell
GCOM 20011 – 01, CRN 24014

Course Dates:
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 from 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Thursday, September 28, 2017 from 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, October 6, 2017 from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

This one-credit mini-course explores how the media play an important role in the portrayal of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a development disability, and how emerging media might play a role in supporting individuals with ASD. Individuals diagnosed with autism and their families can often feel misunderstood, disregarded or misrepresented. Understanding persons with ASD can be supported in the media, by shifting thinking away from a deficit-based perspective to a strength-based model. This mini-course will provide an analysis of the role media plays in accurately portraying the lives of people living with autism and their families, by breaking down stereotypes, providing information regarding best practices and advocating for a hopeful future. Prominent experts in this area, including those responsible for media campaigns, documentaries and research/academics will be featured.

In groups, during a one day Saturday (October 14th) seminar, students will have the opportunity to participate in a concept development project, focusing on educating others about autism by presenting an idea for a documentary, animated film or educational video or students may present a concept to support individuals with autism via innovative technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmentative Reality (AR) or Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

The class will begin with a private session with Ron Suskind, followed by his public keynote address. Mr. Suskind’s book Life, Animated (2014), a bestseller, and award-winning documentary, chronicles his family’s twenty-year journey raising and connecting to their autistic son, Owen. The Suskind’s story has driven activism and research about the strengths of autism. Mr. Suskind, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, bestselling author, advocate, lecturer, presenter, and founder of Sidekicks, an augmentative technology company, will share his journey.

Previous course themes included:

Portrayals of Disability and Chronic Illness in Popular Culture

Women Working Behind the Scenes

Media and Body Image

The Intersection of Politics and Comedy

The Financial Market to the Twitter Revolution

Global Nutrition

Climate Change and Natural Disasters

Global Health and Wellness