Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Course Syllabus May 14, 2009

(Please note that some of the formatting is off from copying and pasting from Word.)


25 Commonwealth Hall
*Please type 330 in subject line for all email correspondence.
AIM/ Google Talk/ Skype IDs: daniellemstern

OFFICE HOURS    Virtual, via Skype and IM, available by appointment
COURSE MATERIALS    Gamble, T. K. & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The gender communication connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Blackboard—You should get in the habit of checking daily for course announcements.—You will be posting to/and or responding to other posts regularly, as well as creating your own WordPress blog for the final project.

This course focuses on interactive relationships between gender and communication in contemporary American society. This implies three priorities for the class. First, we will explore multiple ways communication in families, schools, business, media and other institutions in society creates and perpetuates gender roles. Second, we will consider how we enact socially created differences in public and private settings and how this impacts success, satisfaction and self-esteem. Third, and perhaps most important, we will connect theory and research to our personal lives. Student experiences, insights, questions and ideas are an integral part of this course. Throughout the semester we’ll consider not only what is in terms of gender roles, but also what might be and how we, as change agents, may act to improve our individual and collective lives.

•    To identify concepts, patterns, and issues that affect the organization of American society, shape individual thought, or shape social mores with respect to gender
•    To develop an understanding about the theoretical foundations of gender studies
•    To recognize how we communicate and maintain attitudes about gender in our daily lives
•    To understand the relationship between gender and self identity—to recognize the influence of societal and cultural context on self and others as individuals
•    To critique how gender operates in society
•    To understand the role media plays in the construction of gendered identities
•    To gain fluency (develop skills) in speaking mindfully about gender and communication. This objective includes an ability to explain the fluid (unstable, changing) role of the individual within society, reflecting the multiple and sometimes contradictory roles we play


•    Reading Responses 25%
•    Course Blog Discussion 25%
•    Journal Activities 25%
•    Gender Web Portfolio 25%

Final grades will be calculated on the following +/- scale:
A = 94-100    A- = 90-93    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    F = Below 60

As course instruction is entirely online, please be prepared for mastering your use of Blackboard and blogging abilities as well as handling multiple writing and Web assignments during our brief summer term. I will post links of blogging resources to our Blackboard site, which you should use sooner rather than later. Technical glitches and user error are expected, so it is best to recognize and deal with the technological challenges well before the final project deadline. In addition, I have reserved the computer lab in Ratcliffe for the first day of classes, May 18, to demonstrate Blackboard and WordPress tools in two-hour time blocks that day. I highly encourage you to come to one. More information, including times, will be available on our Blackboard site and in email announcements.

I will post links to educational videos and articles related to course content to the course WordPress blog and Blackboard, which should help you toward blog discussion, journal activities and the final project. As disconnected and daunting as a virtual classroom in the communication studies discipline may appear, it is important to recognize the unique opportunity online learning provides. As we will learn from our textbook—and as I am sure we have all experienced in our own lives—the gender power dynamics at play in a physical classroom are stripped away in the virtual world. To be sure, other communication challenges can and will present themselves. However, I am confident in our abilities to use the online classroom to critically engage—and disrupt—gendered communication practices.

You will be completing 10 reading responses from textbook chapters throughout the course. First, read the assigned chapter for that date, then complete a typed one-page (single-spaced) response paper to those readings. Your response papers should include three components: 1) identify—in sentence format—five main ideas from the assigned reading; 2) under each main idea statement, you should elaborate on/evaluate/analyze and/or challenge those points (about a paragraph per point); 3) pose at least one thoughtful, relevant question for further discussion or clarification. Your response papers should be about two double-spaced pages that you will upload to their respective Blackboard assignment folders by deadline. (250 pts = 25 pts per each of 10 response papers)

I will provide you with a series of topics throughout the term that you will briefly write about in a thoughtful, journal style. Your goal in these brief exploratory writing exercises is to give you a chance to gather and focus your thoughts on the topic of the day. You should type two double-spaced pages to be uploaded to the designated Blackboard folder by the assigned deadline. The brief title of the activity is listed on the schedule, while more detailed descriptions are included under the Assignment tab in Blackboard. (250 pts = 25 pts per each of 10 journal entries)

In addition to the personal reflections you upload to Blackboard for my eyes only, you will also share experience and insight with the rest of the class via online discussion on our course Web site/blog, which is available at: http://
Specific instructions for each blog virtual discussion topics will be available on the blog. Sometimes our blog topics will come from the textbook, while other times I will pull from the discussion questions you include in your reading responses. In addition, I may also post media clips or links to articles and ask you to respond. Our virtual classroom space should function with the same expectations and manner of a physical classroom space. Please be respectful and courteous when posting and commenting. Your participation will be assessed qualitatively, not merely on the basis that you logged in and made a single statement. Please be thorough in your discussion, as the blog is our space to have a genuine conversation on the intersection of gender and communication. (250 pts = 13 blog items at varying point values)

As you move through the course, find material (artifacts) to support/contradict or illustrate propositions relevant to gender and communication. Concepts can be found in mini-lectures, videos, class discussions and exercises, the textbook and supplemental readings. Examples of concepts include statements such as: “Gender is a product of our interaction; it is something that is created in our culture.”; “Teachers are more likely to comment on what a girl is wearing than on what a boy is reading.”; and “Males value friendships as camaraderie.” Take these concepts and use them to evaluate the world around you. Record your findings on your individual course website page. Each entry should be one-two paragraphs. At a minimum, your findings should address how the artifact and the concept interrelate. In other words, what does the artifact tell us about gender and communication? Please include an APA citation of the concept.

Artifacts can include:
•    Account of a personal experience
•    Description of a scene from a TV program, movie, music video, web clip, video game, or song lyrics (please provide web link)
•    Link to a photograph or drawing
•    Clipping or copy of article from popular magazine or newspaper (provide link where possible)
•    Information from a relevant web site
•    Excerpt of a scene from a novel
•    Quotation from a biography or autobiography of a well-known person (provide link if possible)
•    Published cartoon

Your portfolio should include a total of 20 artifacts. You should do your best to vary the types of artifacts you include. As such, please do not include more than three of any one type of artifact (i.e. personal experience, TV shows, books, films, etc.). In addition to the artifacts and accompanying analysis, you should complete an approximately 500-word essay (on your blog) summarizing your selections and concepts. Although this project will be completed entirely online, I still expect proper spelling, grammar, format and style. (250 pts = 10 pts per each of the 20 artifacts and 50 points for the essay)

Writing: Assignments should be typed used Word (.doc or .docx formats please) and uploaded to the proper Blackboard assignment folder by deadline. I expect sufficient competency in spelling, grammar, mechanics and style. Keep a duplicate copy of any work submitted.

Attendance and Participation: As we do not meet physically, attendance will not be formally assessed. However, participation assessment is built into your use of the course blog. In borderline grade situations, those students who posted regularly and thoughtfully—especially to others’ comments—will be considered to have participated more fully in the online course experience.

Late work: The online nature of our course requires expedient meeting of deadlines. Reading responses and journal entries will not be accepted past deadline, as their respective Blackboard assignment folders will only be open during a designated window. Blackboard discussion items should be posted and commented on per the designated schedule. The portfolios are due at the time of the final exam.

Academic misconduct: Plagiarism is the use of others’ material, knowingly or unknowingly, that leave the perception it is the author’s own. It will not be tolerated in this class. According to the University Honor Code, students are held to the highest standards of the “academic and social integrity.” Please know that any work turned in that is not a student’s own work may be graded as failing. Further, be sure to cite properly all sources of information that did not come from your own mind. When in doubt, cite.

Please note:
•    Instructor reserves the right to make changes according to course and student needs.
•    Reading responses (RR) and journal entries (JE) are due by noon.
•    Blog activities (BA) and comments should be completed throughout the day/evening per each post’s instructions.

Date    Activity/Reading                            Assignment Due

5/18    Introduction to course and online materials.                Master the blog ☺        Read Ch. 1 and help usage/help materials

5/19     Ch. 1 continued                                JE 1, BA 1

5/20      Ch. 2 Developing gender roles and identities                RR 1

5/21    Ch. 2 continued                                JE 2, BA 2

5/26    Gender and social movements. Ch. 15                    RR 2, BA 3

5/27    Social movements continued                        JE 3

5/28    Verbal communication. Ch. 3                        RR 3, BA 4

6/1    Nonverbal communication. Ch. 4                    RR 4, JE 4, BA 5

6/2    Family dynamics. Ch. 8                            RR 5, JE 5, BA 6

6/3    Friendships. Ch. 6                            RR 6, JE 6, BA 7

6/4    Romantic relationships. Ch. 7                        RR 7, JE 7, BA 8

6/8    Education. Ch. 9                            RR 8, BA 9
6/9    Education continued                            JE 8

6/10    The Workplace Environment. Ch. 10                    RR 9, BA 10

6/11    Media. Ch. 13              RR 10

6/15     Media continued                            JE 9, BA 11

6/16    Technology and globalization—readings posted to Blackboard        JE 10, BA 12

6/17    Course wrap-up and Web portfolio discussion on course blog        BA 13

6/18    Final exam date: portfolios due by noon                Web portfolios


4 Responses to “Course Syllabus”

  1. catherineporter07 Says:

    where do we locate the reading response assignments so that we can complete them??

    • daniellemstern Says:

      The assignment specifications are in the syllabus. You upload the completed response papers to Blackboard in the Assignment tab.

  2. […] are the criteria for the assignment (based on Danielle Stern’s portfolio guidelines… kudos to […]

  3. […] assignment after Danielle Stern’s portfolio assignment, a version of which can be found here.  I also decided that if I was going to use a blog to mentor students as they made sense of course […]

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