Communication and Media Studies Department

Course Descriptions

CMS 102 Introduction to Communication
This course provides students with an overview and brief history of the field of communication, introduces them to theory development and the research process, and illustrates how communication theories can be applied to everyday life. Students will explore communication in a variety of contexts, including intrapersonal, organizational, intercultural, and mass communication. This course satisfies the Socio-Cultural Analysis requirement in the core curriculum.  Cr. 3.

CMS 103 Introduction to Media Studies
This course examines the historical, philosophical, technological, economic, political, and social aspects of print (book, magazine, and newspapers) and electronic media (radio, television, film, sound recordings, and the Internet). In addition, the effects of mass media will be explored.  Cr. 3.

CMS 150 The Writing Process
This course provides students with professional writing skills through practice in techniques and strategies used in a variety of media writing applications. There is a strong emphasis on the utility of writing as a tool of communicating information, interpreting media content, and constructing meaning. Prerequisites: College Writing.  Cr. 3.

CMS 200 Research Methods in Communication
This course introduces students to methods of inquiry found in the communication and media studies research literature. These methods include experimental design, survey research, textual analysis, and ethnography. The course examines the underlying philosophical assumptions associated with these methodologies as well as their unique strengths and limitations. Students' conceptual understanding of these methodologies and their ability to become critical consumers of research findings are the major objectives of the course.  CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 202 Writing for Popular Print Media
This introduction to magazine writing provides students an opportunity to conceive, craft, and publish original work in different genres for different markets There is a strong emphasis on the utility of writing as a means of organizing and communicating information, as in reporting, and also as a medium for more expressive and entertaining content. Prerequisite: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 203 Introduction to Video Production
This course will examine the phases of video production associated with field and studio productions.  Course content will also explore media aesthetics.   Prerequisites: None.  Cr 3.

CMS 204 Introduction to Video Production Lab
Various production exercises and assignments to illustrate the principles and theories presented in CMS 203 Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in CMS 203. Cr 1.

CMS 205 Topics in Media Writing I
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites:  College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 210 Topics in Media Criticism I
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites: College Writing.  Cr. 3.

CMS 215 Journalism Reporting and Writing
This course cultivates journalistic/public affairs research and writing. Students learn how to find and develop human and textual primary sources. Likewise, they learn and practice journalistic form and concise, accessible written expression. And students learn to appreciate and model the liberal ideals of public dialogue, debate, and democratic engagement. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 220 Topics in Media Production I
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites: None. Cr. 3.

CMS 225 Screenwriting 
In this course, students will learn the process of writing scripts for films. A variety of concept development strategies, writing exercises, script examples, and screenings will be used to encourage students to develop their creative writing skills. Emphasis will be placed throughout the class on the process of screenwriting, from idea formation through writing and revision. Each student will produce a detailed outline/beat sheet for a feature-length film. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 255 Business and Professional Communication
Designed to provide students with essential communication skills for business and other professional settings, the course covers interpersonal, group, and public communication. These skills include listening actively, giving and receiving constructive feedback, interviewing others, leading groups, negotiating, and making effective public presentations. The course also includes discussions of gender, cultural diversity, and ethics in the workplace. Cr. 3.

CMS 265 Intrapersonal Communication
This course examines our ability to use what we know and feel in order to send, receive, and store information. Whether stimuli come from an external source or from within the self, the focus of intrapersonal communication is on the ways in which we process those stimuli, our ability to make sense out of our experiences, to remember, to retrieve information from memory, and to create messages at whatever level of consciousness, and no matter how many people are involved, in face-to-face or mediated communication. Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 272 Persuasion
A course designed to help students understand the basic principles of persuasion. The course deals with persuasion as a social phenomenon. The perspective from which the course is offered is the analysis of persuasion as a behavioral process. As such, the course will investigate the social science research that relates to persuasion. Students will examine the attempts made by others to persuade them, as well as the attempts they make to persuade others. Further, the course will deal with the issue of ethics in persuasion. Prerequisites: CMS 102. Cr. 3.

CMS 274 Writing for the Media
This writing-intensive course is designed to provide students with an overview of media writing. Students will be introduced to radio and television commercial writing, broadcast journalism, and fiction and non-fiction scriptwriting. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 275 Theories of Language
The purpose of this course is to instigate thinking about the nature of language. The course is premised upon the conviction that, because language is such a central concern of so many disciplines and because various disciplines have made important contributions to our understanding of it, language can only be studied adequately via an interdisciplinary approach. The student will be introduced to some of the foremost efforts to comprehend language in the fields of psycholinguistics, philosophy, and linguistics. Through these disciplines, we intend to raise and pursue questions concerning the nature of language, its structure and function, its relation to people's perception of reality, and its relation to the mind. Prerequisites:  CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 284 Introduction to Cinema Studies
This course offers an introduction to the analysis of film.  It examines movies from diverse historical periods, nations, and cinematic traditions, including narrative, documentary, and the avant-garde. In addition to providing a foundation in close analysis, the course also introduces students to fundamental issues in film history and film theory.  Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 286 History of International Cinema to 1945
This course surveys the history of cinema from its emergence through World War II.  It considers the development of Hollywood cinema in conversation with alternative approaches to filmmaking both within and outside the U.S.  Paying close attention to film style, it also explores cinema’s economic, social, and technological history.  Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 288  History of International Cinema Since 1945
This course surveys the history of cinema since World War II.  Examining cinema’s metamorphoses in the face of social, economic, technological, and geopolitical changes, the course addresses the emergence of international art cinema, developments in politically critical filmmaking, cinema’s role in globalization, and its confrontation with new media. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3. 

 CMS 294 Visual Communication
The purpose of this course is to enhance understanding of TV processes by introducing students to several basic visual aspects of reality as mediated through a camera lens. Topics covered will include techniques of lighting, camera angles, perspective, shot distance, cutting to continuity, and montage. Students will use 35 mm cameras to produce assignments on color slides. These will be used in class discussion in conjunction with illustrations taken from magazines that demonstrate the same techniques. In addition to learning some rudiments of visual language, students will examine visual persuasive strategies. The course is open to all communication majors who have access to a 35 mm camera with manual controls. Automatic camera controls are optional. Prior experience with photographic procedures is helpful but not necessary since all students will receive instruction leading to a working knowledge of photographic techniques. Prerequisites:  CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 298 Topics in Communication I
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult MaineStreet for a listing of current topics courses and the CMS homepage for detailed course descriptions.  Prerequisites: None. Cr. 3.

CMS 300 Topics in Media Writing II
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites:  College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 302 Writing the Feature Story
Students generate story ideas according to their own interests and target them for publication in specific markets. Class time focuses on perfecting writing and editorial skills, developing style and a field of interest, building an accomplished portfolio, and examining the practical and philosophical challenges of writing professionally. There is a strong emphasis on taking the initiative and working independently. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 303 Media Effects
This course will examine the effects of mass media upon individuals and societies. It will explore such questions as who is affected, what effects occur and how much, which media content is involved, and what situations make effects more or less likely to take place. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, CMS 200. Cr. 3.

CMS 305 Writing Opinion: Editorials and Columns
This is a writing intensive course that provides students with the basic skills for writing editorials, columns, and journalistic essays. The emphasis is on economical, persuasive, and strongly argumentative styles of writing. Students will read, analyze, and discuss throughout the semester the work of a leading U.S. essayist/columnist. Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 310 Topics in Media Criticism II
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3. 

CMS 315 Broadcast Newswriting
This course introduces the basics of newswriting for television. It stresses brevity and conversational style of writing. Students will learn how to write TV news story scripts, beginning with simple news scripts (readers) and closing with complex scripts (packages). By providing the basics, the course prepares students for an internship with a broadcast news organization. It also offers practical advice on obtaining a job in broadcasting. Prerequisites:  CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 320 Topics in Media Production II
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult their media studies advisor for detailed descriptions. Prerequisites: None. Cr. 3.

CMS 323 Understanding Technology
This course will examine the relationship between media, technology, and society from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Through readings and discussions students will develop an understanding of a variety of frameworks and theories that explain technological change and the fundamental relationship between humankind and technology.  Prerequisites:  CMS 103 or Instructor's permission. Cr. 3.

CMS 330 Theories of Interpersonal Communication
A study of the current thinking in interpersonal communication which emphasizes specific theories of human interaction. Students will be exposed to research in the interpersonal setting and will apply findings to their personal relationships. The course will help students foster effective traditional and nontraditional relationships with a variety of people. Prerequisites: CMS 102.  Cr. 3.

CMS 332 Communication in the Family
This course examines the role of communication in various family types. Students will be introduced to research and theory on the family and will apply findings to their own lives. Topics covered will include family satisfaction, communication rules, decision making, values, structures, autonomy, and conflict. Students will be asked to draw upon their family backgrounds for analysis and discussion. Prerequisites: CMS 102. Cr. 3.

CMS 340 Field Video Production
This course is primarily concerned with the development of critical evaluation skills needed in assessing and analyzing the video medium as a communication vehicle. Students will engage in actual video production projects. Prerequisite: CMS 203 and CMS 204 or Instructor's permission. Cr. 3.

CMS 341 Field Video Production Lab
This lab will provide students with hands-on experience with digital video cameras, production equipment, and digital, non-linear editing software. Students must concurrently be enrolled in CMS 340. Prerequisites: CMS 203 and CMS 204 or Instructor's permission. Cr. 1.

CMS 345 Small Group Communication
This course is designed to familiarize students with the theories and techniques associated with group behavior. The course explores the topics of leadership, conflict resolution, group climate, and decision making. Through simulations and exercises students learn methods for analyzing group process and their own behavior. Students' findings are reported in preliminary and final papers. Prerequisites: CMS 102. Cr. 3.

CMS 350 The Internet and Society
This course explores the worldwide network of computers linked to form a new medium of communication–the Internet. Course content will include the computer as a tool of communication, and how the Internet influences communication in such ordinary areas of life as work, interpersonal relations, and education. Students must have access to the Internet to participate in this course. Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103 or instructor permission. Cr. 3.

CMS 355 Consumer Culture
This course explores U.S. commercial culture from historical and theoretical perspectives that privilege media and advertising/marketing. It engages critical perspectives that question consumer culture. The course focuses on the historical development of consumer culture, and how identity, the environment, and economy, are impacted and shaped by it. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 360 Ethical Dilemmas in the Digital Age
This course is about understanding ethical and value choices we make as we communicate in the digital age. We will examin the underlying reasons given for choices we make. Your graded assignments focus upon writing papers and leading and participating in discussion. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Cr. 3.

CMS 370 Media and Social Change
This course analyzes how news media coverage affects social change. Students explore how and why the media cover social movements the way they do, and look closely at news coverage of the civil rights, black power, antiwar, women's and men's movements. Both print and TV news are examined through readings, discussion, and original research.  Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103.  Cr. 3.

CMS 374 Media Criticism and Aesthetics
This course introduces students to the variety of critical approaches applied to the analysis of media. The content of this course will focus on traditional and contemporary analysis of media. The aim of this course is to provide a critical context for the consumption of media content. Prerequisites:  CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 375 Meaning and Communication
This course examines the assignment of meaning to verbal behavior, especially conversational exchange. Researchers have paid special attention to the ways in which words and actions take on meaning in context. We will focus on the full communicative event involving talk, i.e., context, pragmatics, grammatical structures, conversational structures, and types of meaning. A central question of the course is: How do people interpret what other people say? The course makes use of close reading and discussion of theory as well as the collection and analysis of naturally occurring spontaneous spoken and written discourse. Prerequisites: CMS 102. Cr. 3.

CMS 380 Film Genres
This course will explore a genre found in film history. The genre selected for any given semester could be taken from such established ones as science fiction, horror, screwball comedies, musicals, or film noir. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 384 Topics in Cinema Studies
This course explores a key topic in the field of Cinema Studies. The focus for a given semester could be on a particular national cinema, directorial oeuvre, genre, technology, aspect of film styulel, or issue in film theory.  May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Prerequisites: College Writing. Cr. 3.

CMS 385 Intergenerational Communication and the Internet
There are three major components to this course: 1) mentoring a senior citizen who is learning to use the Internet; 2) learning about mentoring through hands-on experience, reading, writing, and discussion of the process; and 3) writing a research paper on a topic relevant to intergenerational communication. Students in this course will mentor students enrolled in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute course, Internet for Seniors (or other similar course). In addition, each student will read research on intergenerational communication and write a research paper. Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 390 Theories of Organizational Communication
This course is designed to introduce students to organization theory and behavior through the medium of metaphor. Using different metaphors, the course draws attention to significant aspects of the process of organizing, and provides a means for understanding and managing organizational situations. Students are responsible for conducting on-site field studies and preparing written and oral presentations of their findings. Prerequisites: CMS 102 and CMS 103. Cr. 3.

CMS 394 Theories of Cinema
This course examines major approaches to conceptualizing the function and effects of cinema within classical and contemporary film theory.  It explores topics including medium specificity, realism, and spectatorship, considering cinema's relation to language, the world, and other media as well as political implications, psychic appeal, and bodily address. Prerequisites: CMS  284. Cr. 3.

CMS 398 Topics in Communication II
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult MaineStreet for a listing of current topics courses and the CMS homepage for detailed course descriptions. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and CMS 200. Cr. 3.

CMS 400 Senior Project
This course offers graduating seniors in media studies an opportunity to complete a media portfolio (resume, sample media-related work, and reflective writing). Students are also required to complete a group media application project. Students will present their work to an audience of faculty and peers. Students will further develop career strategies by participating in workshops. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, CMS 200, media studies major, and senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 420 Communication and Cognition
A seminar designed to explore the relationship between communication and thought processes. The nature of consciousness is explored through a consideration of the acquisition, retention, and retrieval of information. Special attention is given to experimental analysis of thought processes. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior or senior standing. Cr 3.

CMS 423 The First Amendment
This course examines the philosophy, court cases, and issues relevant to the First Amendment right to free expression.  In this class, students will learn functions of speech in society, the development of communication policy, and current communication laws and rules.
Prerequisites: junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 430 Communication Internship
An in-depth experience in specific areas of communication acquired in the field. Students will focus their efforts in an area related to their choice of communication expertise (i.e., organizational communication, mass communication, interpersonal communication). Prerequisites: communication or media studies major, CMS 102, CMS 103. and a precise definition of the project and director's consent. Pass/fail only. Communication major, junior or senior standing. Credit variable (1-15).

CMS 432 Topics in Interpersonal Communication
This seminar is designed to investigate significant issues in interpersonal communication. The course will be theoretical in nature, exploring a particular topic in depth each semester. Topics vary from semester to semester. Such topics as conversational analysis, friendship, deception, relationship termination, and conflict may be selected for the course. A research project is required. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, CMS 200, and CMS 330. Cr. 3.

CMS 440 Advanced Field Video Production
This course continues to explore the concepts introduced in MES 340 and MES 240. Students will investigate pre-production planning, production techniques, and post-production execution in order to communicate clearly in the video medium. More complex assignments will be given to hone skills in writing, directing, and producing. Prerequisites: CMS 203 and CMS 204 or Instructor's permission. Cr. 3.

CMS 441 Advanced Field Production Lab
This lab will focus on advancing the skills and concepts taught in MES 340/341. This lab will consist of workshops and exercises in image and sound acquisition using digital video cameras and production equipment, as well as advanced video editing principles and techniques using editing software. Students must be concurrently enrolled in CMS 440. Prerequisites: CMS 203, CMS 204, CMS 340, and CMS 341 or Instructor's permission. Cr. 1.

CMS 450 Service Learning Practicum
This course gives students the opportunity to work with organizations outside the University in a professional context. Students will be divided into groups and will work with nonprofit organizations to develop projects, such as a multimedia presentation, a video, or a research report. Prerequisites: Communication or media studies major and senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 455 Computer-Mediated Communication Research
This senior seminar makes use of the Internet for two main purposes: (1) to gather research findings, and (2) to present research findings as a home page. Students will learn how to use the Internet for its scholarly resources and how to express their research report as a home page. In essence, students will use a new medium to do an old job: to read and critically evaluate research, and to present a summary or final research report. Research found online and offline will be critiqued. Prerequisite: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior/senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 475 Discursive Practices
This is a senior seminar in which each student designs and carries out an empirical research project to study "talk activities that people do," such as person-referencing practices, or narratives; it may focus on single features that may be named and pointed to (e.g., speech acts) or it may reference sets of features (dialect, perspective). Students will examine how identities are associated with talk activities. Discursive practices may focus on something done by an individual or they may refer to actions that require more than one party. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior/senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 484 Advanced Topics in Cinema Studies
This course is a senior seminar designed to explore a particular topic in cinema studies.The focus for a given semester could be on a particular national cinema, directorial oeuvre, genre, technology, aspect of film style, or issue in film theory. Class sizes are limited in order for students to participate in discussion and contribute to the group's synergy. Prerequisites:  CMS 284 and junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 485 Sex-Related Differences in Communication
This seminar on sex-related differences in communication is designed primarily to evaluate critically the research literature. It is concerned with whether males and females differ in their actions of sending, receiving, and interpreting messages. The course examines gender-role stereotyping, empirical findings on sex-related differences in communication behavior (e.g., talking, interpersonal style, touching, eye contact, etc.), and explanations for sex differences. Critiques of some major theoretical positions are discussed (e.g., sex differences in dominance, aggression, cognition, and brain organization). Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 486 Women in Film
This course will explore the depiction of women in film. Films will be analyzed in the context of the political and ideological subtexts they contain. The purpose of the analysis is to understand a film and to be able to relate it to the society that it reflects and sometimes affects. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 490 Theories of Mass Communication
A discussion of significant factors related to communication theory. Contemporary theories of mass communication, the mass media, audience analysis, and the role of mass communication in society will be among the topics examined in the course. Students elect to examine an aspect of mass communication that is of interest to them, and present their findings in research papers and projects. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, and junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 491 Independent Study
A concentrated program of research or study on a particular topic approved and guided by a Department faculty member. The student and faculty member will have periodic conferences throughout the semester to discuss the progress and outcomes of the student's work. Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and faculty approval. Cr. 3-6.

CMS 492 Internships in Media Studies
This course offers students the opportunity to develop media expertise by working with professionals in the field. Typically, the intern will work closely with a mentor in a sponsoring organization to gain practical skills and to develop strategies for transitioning from college to professional placement. An application process is required. Prerequisites: media studies major, junior or senior standing. Cr. Variable (1-6 per internship; 15 total).

CMS 495 Theories of Communication
This course is designed for upper class students majoring or minoring in communication studies. Based on a seminar format, students in this course will explore in depth several advanced theories of communication, mechanistic through interactive, with examples and application for each. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 200, junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

CMS 498 Topics in Communication III
A selection of courses varying in content from term to term. May be repeated for credit when topics vary. Students should consult MaineStreet for a listing of current topics courses and the CMS homepage for detailed course descriptions. Prerequisites: CMS 102, CMS 103, CMS 200, and junior or senior standing. Cr. 3.

Internships in Communication and Media Studies

Interested in an internship in communication and media studies? Communication majors should contact Russell Kivatisky (russellk@maine.edu) and media studies majors contact Dennis Gilbert (dgilbert@maine.edu) regarding credit requirements. 

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