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Course Learning Outcomes

When you successfully complete this course, you should be able to meet these requirements:

  1. Discuss the frequency of use of forms of media.
  2. Describe the major theories and associated research that are used to describe media research.
  3. Critically examine media theory and research in the field and apply course material to your own experiences.
  4. Understand how media may influence human development. Discuss how media can shape the family.
  5. Demonstrate research skills by researching a topic area relevant to the media.


There is no formal prerequisite for this class. However, if you have not taken some lower-level SFL classes and a research methods course, you may find the course more challenging.

Course Materials

You will need to buy this textbook to complete the course:

Children, Adolescents, & Media (3rd edition) by Strasburger, Wilson, & Jordan. Sage, 2014.

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You will complete two major projects and several smaller assignments during the course.


To make sure you have the best experience with the course, follow these steps for each lesson:

  1. Go over the list of learning outcomes in the Introduction, so you know what you will be expected to do.
  2. Read through the assignment instructions.
  3. Watch the online lecture and clips, taking notes and preparing material for the assignments.
  4. Complete the assignments in a portfolio document, proofread them, and save them to submit in the portfolio assignments.

Formatting Your Portfolio Assignments

All of your assignments should be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font, and formatted using APA publication standards (6th edition) when applicable.

Although I will usually provide approximate word counts that written assignments should not exceed, your answers should be as long as they need to be in order to effectively complete the assignment, which generally falls into the guidelines provided for each assignment. Please see the information about the individual assignments in each lesson for more details.

Please format and save all your answers for the portfolio assignment in the same document (in Word .DOC or .DOCX format). Each assignment should start on a new page, clearly labeled with the title of the assignment. Submit the document when you have completed all the individual assignments.

Use the course name, your name, and the assignment title in the filename for the portfolio document, like so:


Note: Do not submit the assignment until you have completed all of the relevant questions in a single document!

Content Analysis Project

This project involves coding media for content related to families or human development. More detail will be given on this project during the methodology lecture. Essentially, you will create a coding scheme, code media, run some basic results, and write up the results in a research paper. Please watch the methodology lecture and read the content analysis instructions (in the “Content Analysis Project Plan” folder) before beginning this assignment.

The project plan includes these components:

  1. Coding scheme and coding sheet: You will first get points for creating a coding scheme and a coding sheet. You won’t be able to continue on with the assignment until you get approval for the project.
  2. Pilot data: Practice coding (1 hour) with one other person. Compare answers and modify coding sheet where needed. You will turn in your pilot data so I can give you feedback before you continue.

The final project includes these components:

  1. Final data: Code your media for 3 hours and submit the raw data in either Excel or SPSS. Calculate some basic percentages to describe the data.
  2. Content analysis project paper: This is the final research report summarizing the whole project. In this report you will introduce the topic (Intro), describe your methods (Method), report your results (Results), and discuss your findings (Discussion).

Media Blog

To help you become more media literate, you will be required to create a blog and write at least ten entries over the course, describing and analyzing the media content you were exposed to that week. Just write about what you are normally consuming in the media. This works best if you do this over the course of multiple weeks, as it would be difficult to do this assignment in a very short period of time. Your thoughts on the content (was it good? bad?) as well as the potential effects should be occasionally discussed. My blog can be found at Dr. Coyne’s Blog, where I will sometimes post my media musings.

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You will take two exams for this course. Each is worth 200 points and is closed book and notes, but there is no time limit.

Exams consist of multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions concerning reading assignments, class lectures, and videos.

You may bring one 3 x 5 card of handwritten notes to the exam. Rarely in life are you called upon to regurgitate vast amounts of information without any resources, so I don’t think it is fair to require it in this case. You can write whatever you want on the card but can only use one side.

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Here are the assignments and exams that make up your course grade:

Assignments Points
Content Analysis Project Plan (coding scheme, coding sheet, and pilot data) 100
Portfolio 1
  • Media Use Questionnaire
  • 24-hour Technology/Media Fast
  • Moments that Matter Most
  • Operant Conditioning Questions
  • Cultivation Questions
  • Catharsis Example
  • Excitation Transfer Theory Example
  • Information Processing Theory Question
  • Uses and Gratifications Question
  • Wall-E Question
Portfolio 2
  • Infant Program Interview
  • Infant and Media Learning
  • Spider-Man Attention Activity
  • Kindness Question
  • Music and Identity Question
  • Lyrics vs. Tone
  • Music Therapy
  • Six Facets Assignment
  • Sesame Street Character
  • Positive Media Analysis
Portfolio 3
  • Harry Potter in Therapy
  • Five Dimensions of Video Games
  • Enduring Fear Effects
  • Woman in Black Question
  • Miss Representation Video Questions
  • Devotional Address Reflections
  • Exergame Exercise
  • Health and Media Policy Implications
  • Media Monitoring
Portfolio 4
  • Supreme Court Case on Violent Video Games
  • General Aggression Model
  • Your Use of New Media
  • #Being13 Questions
  • Ratings Test
  • Universal Ratings System
  • Media Literacy Example: Reality in Media
  • Media Literacy Design
  • Media Change Letter
Final Assignments (Submitted Singly)
Completed Content Analysis Project (including data and paper) 200
Media Blog 50
Midcourse Exam 200
Final Exam 200

Grading Scale

Your course grade will be calculated using these percentages:

A 95–100
A− 90–94
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 0–59

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


4 portfolios, one project, one media blog. You may not resubmit assignments.


One proctored midcourse exam and one proctored final exam. Both are instructor graded. You may retake each exam once for a fee. You must pass the final exam to earn credit for the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

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Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514