Media Studies 190JT: Fall 2019
Senior Seminar in Media Studies

Time/Location: T/R, 1:15pm-2:30pm, Hahn 101 or West Hall Q116
Please note: this web site is ONLY for section 03 of MS190JT, for general information on the course, go to the Sakai site.

Instructor: Ming-Yuen S. Ma
Phone: x74319

Office + Hours:
• Scott Hall 213
• Tuesday 11:00am-12:00pm
• Thursday 11:00am-12:00pm
• Wednesday by appt.

Course Description
This team-taught seminar, to be taken during the fall semester of the senior year, constitutes the senior exercise required to graduate with the IMS major. It prepares students with the skills and knowledge to continue their media studies practice and research post-graduation. Students will attend one large group meeting as well as smaller group meetings focused on one of the three tracks (film/video, critical studies, and digital/electronic) and on the students' chosen medium and topic in their Fall Project or Paper. Students interested in doing a year-long thesis: a media project, a written thesis, or a digital/electronic work, may apply before the conclusion of the seminar. Instructors: J Friedlander, M-Y Ma, C Wing

Course Goals and Statement of Student Learning Outcome
The Media Studies Senior Seminar functions as the culminating course of your studies in the field and is required of all majors. It aims to bring together insights gleaned from your various paths through and engagements with media studies in order to develop a cohesive vision of the field. We strongly discourage Capstone projects or papers that do not directly emerge from your training.  For example, we do not teach production classes in traditional narrative, therefore we discourage traditional narrative films, videos, and screenplays as Capstone projects.

By the end of this course, students are expected:  

  • To be able to conduct advanced level independent research/production in their chosen specialty area, culminating in an individual final paper or project;
  • To demonstrate their understanding of the overall field of media studies—its major debates, schools of thought, methodologies, and approaches to the study and production of media;
  • To be able to articulate in both written and oral presentations how their paper or project contributes to larger developments within the field of media studies; 
  • To be able to critically evaluate their own and each other’s work in both group and individual settings, across the three tracks of the media studies major (film/video, critical studies, digital/electronic);
  • To practice media production and writing as a process that involves drafting, getting feedback from viewers/readers, and revising. 


Course Requirements

Participation and Attendance (20%):
By Thursday, September 12nd you should be registered in your assigned Seminar Section. If you are not already enrolled in the appropriate section, you will have to drop and add your assigned one.  Section designations are as follows:
MS 190 JT - 01. Jennifer Friedlander
MS 190 JT - 02. Carlin Wing
MS 190 JT - 03. Ming-Yuen Ma

Since participation is a vital aspect of the class, you are expected to come prepared and contribute to class discussions.

Two absences are permitted without impacting your final grade, while each additional absence will discount your total grade percentage by one (1) point.

Please turn off all phones and mobile digital devices during class. Laptops can only be used for taking notes and for relevant web searches; no emailing, texting, and other activities unrelated to this class. These and other diversions are not acceptable during class time, and will lower your grade. 

Fall Proposal (5%):
As the capstone of your Media Studies major, each of you will undertake a semester-long independent project/paper. In preparation for completing this project, you will develop a proposal. 

Your proposal (1-2 pages, typed) should contain the following information:

CONTACT INFO: Your name and email

SUBJECT: What is your project/paper about? Give your reader a concise description and some background knowledge on the topic. Also discuss why it is an important contribution.

PROJECT FORMAT: What will your short project look and sound like? Is it web or screen-based, an installation, an object, digital photography, etc.? Does it fit into an established genre such as, artist games, animation, documentary, narrative, experimental, or a hybrid?

METHODOLOGY: How will you go about completing your project? What Intermediate or Advanced production or theory courses have you taken? What are your primary sources and conceptual tools for research? What experience and resources (financial, technical, artistic, etc.) do you have and what will you need to execute your ideas? A timeline can be useful in describing your process. Please explain the relationship between your final project and your studies.

All Proposals must be emailed as MS Word (with ".doc" or ".docx" suffix) attachments to your Seminar Professor by 5pm on Thursday, September 19th. It is your responsibility to ensure that Seminar Professors receive your proposals by this deadline.


Pitch (15%):

You are required to deliver a 5-minute pitch on your fall project/paper.  Presentations should include works-in-progress, slides, and any other material would best represent your progress.  Your pitch will be presented to the entire class in Weeks 5 (October 1st and 3rd).

Work-In-Progress Review (10%)
For Sections 2 and 3 only during Weeks 11 and 12 (November 12th, 14th, 19th)


Term Project (50%):
This project should synthesize what you have learned in the course of the major. Be thoughtful about your choice of project subject and format.  Your Capstone project should reflect and demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have acquired in the Media Studies classes you have taken thus far.  It should be a culmination of your Media Studies career at the 5Cs.

Please note that in order to choose the film/video or digital/electronic options, you must have completed two production courses, at least one of which should be in the intermediate or advanced level, in the medium in which you intend to work.

Film/Video: an original, complete film or video project of no more than 3-5 minutes in length.

Digital/Electronic: an original, complete web-based or other digital media project.

Project Papers: A non-written project must be accompanied by a 10-page paper that elaborates on how your project addresses and resolves a question, topic, or other concerns that represents the culmination of your work as a media studies major. The paper will be done as three 3-5 page papers that are handed in at specific due dates throughout the semester.  Paper guidelines:

  1. Paper 1: delineates the conceptual basis of your project – why this format and subject matter?  What are the media or other theories you set-out to engage through your project?  Who are your influences (film and videomakers, visual and performance artists, writers, etc.)?
  2. Paper 2: discusses the process through which you will realize your project – what is your production schedule and how have you planned to execute your project?  What are the media and techniques you will utilize?  In short, what is your methodology in realizing this project?  Relate your process discussion back to the conceptual/subject discussion in the first paper.
  3. Paper 3: written at the completion of your project.  This is a review of your experience working on this project – did it turn out as you expected?  If not, what are some of the surprises and challenges, and how did you adapt to or modify your project in response to them?  What did you learn in the process of creating this project?


You will submit evidence of your ongoing work (which will vary depending upon the option) at least twice during the semester in class critiques/workshops.  We also strongly advise that you meet outside of class with at least one of the three Seminar Professors other than your Section leader for feedback on your works-in-progress.


ALL final projects/papers are DUE at 5pm on Friday, December 13th.
NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED. Please note that works for the gallery exhibition and screening will have earlier deadlines corresponding to these events, which take places before December 11th. Since this is 50% of your grade, if we do not receive your work on time, you will fail.



Spring Project/Papers:
The Fall project/paper is a discrete, stand-alone piece, which must be completed by the end of the semester, and is thus not the early stages of a year-long project/paper. However, each of you will have the opportunity to apply for a second-semester honors project/paper in which you expand upon this semester’s work. The spring project/paper is required for those attempting honors (if applicable to your home college).

Eligibility for this second-semester project/paper will be contingent on receiving an A- or better on your fall semester’s final project/paper. Proposals for spring-semester projects/papers will be due at 5pm on Tuesday, December 3rd.

Spring proposals should be 2-3 pages, typed, and must contain the following information:

  • Your name and e-mail
  • Narrative that outlines the format, subject matter, methodology, and how your Fall project/paper connects to this intended work in concept, method, orientation, theme, etc.
  • Signatures of two IMS faculty mentors who have agreed to work with you at the end of the proposal.

Honors and Spring Thesis policy by college


Peer Review (10% - half of participation and attendance):
Peer review groups of 2-3 students are formed after the completion of the project and paper proposals in Week 3, and each group is organized according to the areas of interest and subject matter in students’ proposals.  Peer review groups are an additional resource for feedback on student work that facilitates interaction across the three tracks of the IMS major.

Projects:  Each group is responsible for generating a written peer review of individual members’ work for the pitches and works-in-progress review, respectively.  And are the primary student respondents for the group members who are presenting their work at these public events.  Peer reviews are due a week after the pitches and works-in-progress presentations.

Papers: Each group is responsible for generating a written peer review of individual members' papers. These are due a week after the due date of the draft for the papers.

Reports should be a paragraph to 1 page long. Bullet points are fine. They should be typed, and must contain the following information:

  • Name and e-mail of group member who are the reviewers
  • Name of group members whose project or paper are reviewed
  • Organized by project/paper, each review should consider the intention, methodology, and progress of the project/paper at hand.  Comments should focus on specific feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticism.
  • Peer reviews for the Pitch presentations and Work-in-progress presentations should be compiled into one document per peer group, and submitted to me plus all group members reviewed.
  • Peer review for the papers can be incorporated into the electronic file (MS Word only) of the paper you are reviewing. The "track changes" function in MS Word can be useful here.


Grading and Other Policies:
We may study sexually explicit, political, and otherwise challenging material in this course. These are not included for shock value, but are legitimate investigations of controversial subject matters in media. You are certainly encouraged to explore difficult and complex subject matters in your work, and you should be prepared to consider these issues intellectually and emotionally. Our class is a safe space in which students can express their beliefs and opinions. You always have a voice, but please be respectful of others as well. Abusive language and behavior are not tolerated. Open-mindedness is encouraged!

Academic Accommodations:
A student’s home campus is responsible for establishing and providing accommodations. You must contact your home institution to establish accommodations. Below is a list of coordinators: 

CMC - Julia Easley,
Harvey Mudd – Deborah Kahn,
Pitzer - Gabriella Tempestoso,
Pomona - Jan Collins-Eaglin,
Scripps - Academic Resources and Services (ARS) at

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty in any form -- including the representation of someone else's work as your own, the destruction or malicious alteration of the work of others, the re-use of work prepared for another course, and so on -- will be subject to the most severe penalties permitted under your school's student code.

Extra Credit
Students are encouraged to attend screenings, conferences, lectures, exhibitions and  web events related to this course. Write a two-page (typed and double-spaced) report of the event or activity. Incorporate the event's relevance to  the class as well as your personal responses to it. Proof of attendance  is required (keep your ticket stubs, programs, etc.) Students are allowed  two extra credit papers. Announcements for events of interest to this  class are done in the first 5 mins. of each class.

* I try my best to make my grading criteria as clear as possible, and you are welcome to come and discuss your grades and your class performance with me. However, I only consider legitimate concerns, and be aware that your grade is as likely to go down as it is to go up after I reassess your assignment. I do not tolerate haggling, bribing, threats, and any other pointless arguments. I consider all aspects of your performance before I assign a grade, please respect my assessment as I respect your efforts.





Course Schedule:

Week 1: Introduction
Tuesday 9.3: Hahn 101
__ • Course structure
__ • Syllabus
__ • Class policy/structure (for all sections)
__ • Info session with IMS staff
__ • Divide into Tracks/Sections: Film/Video, Digital/Electronic, Critical Studies
Thursday 9.5: Section 3 Introduction, Project Proposal, Funding Structure Overview WST Q116
__ • Section 03 introduction
__ • Class policy / structure (for section 03)
__ • Student projects introduction__
__ • Writing a good proposal
__ • Examples of past student proposals: 1, 2
__ • Examples of successful grant proposals by Prof. Tran: 1) COLA, 2) Pacific Pioneer Fund
__ • Funding:
__________ Off campus funding sources (non-profit)
__________ On campus funding sources for projects and events
__ • Other resources - space, etc.


Week 2: Project Conception, Section Registration Deadline
Tuesday 9.10: Proposal writing and Project conception WST Q116
__ • Funding (cont.)
__ • Writing a good proposal
__ • Examples of successful grant proposals by Prof. Tran: 1) COLA, 2) Pacific Pioneer Fund
• Preproduction
Thursday 9.12: Project conception (cont.) WST Q116
__ Project organization and planning
__ • Presentation and archive of past senior projects
__ Registration deadline for sections today


Week 3: Individual Meetings, Fall Project/Paper Proposals Due
Tuesday 9.17: Individual Meetings
__ Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123
__ Group open lab
Thursday 9.19: Individual Meetings
__ Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123
__ Group open lab
__ Fall Project/Paper proposals due at 5pm (Please email your proposals to me as MS Word documents - with .doc or .docx suffix - by 5pm)


Week 4: In Class Pitch Exercise, Peer Groups Formed
Tuesday 9.24 WST Q116
__ • Come to class prepared with 3 minute pitch with 1 page handout and production schedule or powerpoint.
__ Return Fall Project proposals
Thursday 9.26 WST Q116
__ • Pitch exercise (cont.)
__ • Peer Group Meeting: Students meet with their assigned peer groups, introduce their projects and plan pitch presentation and feedback format.



Week 5: Fall Project/Paper Pitches, Paper #1 First Draft Due
Tuesday 10.1 and Thursday 10.3 Hahn 101 & Q116 2 sessions for both days
• Present revised handouts,production schedule, scripts, visual material (powerpoint, flowchart, footage, rough cut) to IMS faculty. Be ready for presentation and discussion
__ Paper #1 first draft due, email to me and your peer reviewer by Thursday 10.3, 5PM


Week 6: Workshop #1, Individual Meetings, Pitch Presentations Peer Reviews Due
Tuesday 10.8
__ • Workshop on new equipment, camera, and sound recording Q116
__ • Individual meetings possible Q123
__ 10.1 pItch presentations peer reviews due - compiled peer reviews into a single document for each peer group, and email that to me
by 5PM.
Thursday 10.10
__ • Individual meetings Q123
__ 10.3 pItch presentations peer reviews due - compiled peer reviews into a single document for each peer group, and email that to me by 5PM.


Week 7: Individual Meetings, Group Crit #1, Paper #1 Peer Reviews Due
Tuesday 10.15 Group crit #1 WST Q116
__ • Group crit #1 - students who have visual material (e.g. working images, installation diagram) prepare a 2-3 min. presentation, with 5 mins. for discussion and feedback
__ • Peer reviews for individual student's Paper #1 draft due - email to me and the student you reviewed by 5PM.
Thursday 10.17
__ Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123

The dates of the group crit and individual meetings can be switched, depending on students' progress and needs.



Week 8: Fall Break, Workshop #2, Individual Meetings, Paper #1 Final Draft Due
Tuesday 10.22: Fall Break - No Class Meeting
Thursday 10.24: Sound Workshop
__ • Sound workshop TBC Q116
__ • Workshop on gallery installation TBC Kallick Family Gallery
__ • Individual meetings possible Q123 or editing room/gallery
__ Paper #1 Final Draft Due, email to me by 5PM


Week 9: Individual Meetings
Tuesday 10.29
__ • Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123
Thursday 10.31
__ • Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123


Week 10: Work-In-Progress Practice Presentations, Paper #2 First Draft Due
Tuesday 11.5 Q116
__ • Work-in-Progress Review practice presentation - group #1
__ Paper #2 first draft due, email to me and your peer reviewer by 5PM.
Thursday 11.7 Q116
__ • Work-in-Progress Review practice presentation - group #2


Week 11: Work-In-Progress Presentations, Paper #2 Peer Review Due
Tuesday 11.12 and Thursday 11.14 Q116 or (TBA) both days
__ • Present work-in-progress and other visual material (powerpoint, flowchart, images/footage, web site or installation mock-up) to IMS faculty. Be ready for discussion and feedback
__ Paper #2 peer reviews due, email to me and the student you reviewed Tuesday 11.12, 5PM


Week 12: Work-In-Progress Presentations, Workshop #3, Individual Meetings, Work-in-Progress Peer Review Due, Paper #2 Final Draft Due
Tuesday 11.19
__ • Present work-in-progress and other visual material (powerpoint, flowchart, images/footage, web site or installation mock-up) to IMS faculty. Be ready for discussion and feedback
__ 11.12 WIP presentations peer reviews due - compiled peer reviews into a single document for each peer group, and email that to me by 5PM.
__Paper #2 Final Draft Due, email to me by 5PM
Thursday 11.21
__ • Color Correction Workshop - Q116 TBC
__ • Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123 or editing room/gallery
__ 11.14 WIP presentations peer reviews due
- compiled peer reviews into a single document for each peer group, and email that to me by 5PM.



Week 13: Individual Meetings, Paper #3 First Draft Due, Thanksgiving
Tuesday 11.26:WST Q116
__ • Individual meetings Q123 or editing room/gallery
__ 11.19 WIP presentations peer reviews due - compiled peer reviews into a single document for each peer group, and email that to me by 5PM.
__ Paper #3 first draft due, email to me and the student you reviewed by 5PM

The dates of the group crit and individual meetings can be switched, depending on students' progress and needs.

Thursday 11.28:
Thanksgiving Holiday - No Class Meeting


Week 14: Individual Meetings or Group Crit, Paper 3 Peer Review, Spring Project/Paper Proposals, and Gallery Projects Due, Course Evaluations
Tuesday 12.3:
__ • Individual meetings on Fall Project - Q123 or editing room/gallery. Or we can also scheduled a group crit in which students present their works-in-progress for discussion and feedback this week if students prefer that to the individual meetings option.
__ Paper #3 peer reviews due, email to me and the student you reviewed by 5PM
__ Spring Project / Paper proposals DUE at 5pm
Thursday 12.5:
__ • Course evaluation discussion
__ • Individual Meetings
__• All Projects for gallery exhibition due, drop off 9AM-12PM, Kallick Family Gallery



Week 15: Last Week of Classes, IMS Graduate Presentation/Conversation, All Projects Due, Senior Screening and Presentations, Paper #3 Final Draft Due
Monday 12.9: All Projects for screening due by 6PM

Tuesday 12.10: WST Q116 Presentation/Conversation with IMS graduate

Thursday 12.13: Senior Screening and Presentations (Attendance Mandatory!)
Schedule TBC
(I included last year's scheduled to give you an idea)
11:30AM: Lunch served Mosbacher/Gartrell Center
12PM-3PM: Critical Studies/Screenwriting Conference WST Q116
3-5PM: Digital/Electronic Presentations / Gallery Opening Kallick Family Gallery
5-6pm: Dinner served Mosbacher/Gartrell Center
6-8PM: Film/Video Screenings, Benson Auditorium

Friday 12.13: Paper #3 Final Draft Due, combine 3 papers into a single MS Word file (.doc or .docx) and email to me by 5PM


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