Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

POLS1114 - Communication science


Credits : 5

Lecturer :
Teaching assistant :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory.

Timetable :
First term
Friday from 08:30 to 10:30 at Ommegang Om10

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
To familiarize the students with the most important approaches, theories, and concepts in communication science, and to ensure students understand their internal logic, their mutual relations, and their importance to social science at large.
To overview the development and the evolution of communication science as a social-scientific discipline and as a perspective on the modern and contemporary society.
To sharpen the critical attitude and critical reflexes of students when they interact with discourses, dispositives, and artefacts of contemporary communication.
To familiarize students with the metier and the craft of what it is to be a university student.

Prerequisites :

Co-requisites :
Course contents :
This course tackles, among others, the following topics (this list is not exhaustive):
- The history and development of human communication
- The internal architecture of communication science as a social-scientific discipline
- Gatekeeping and the circulation of information in society
- Framing, (post-)structuralist approaches, and the study of meaning-making
- Media-driven societal transformation déterminé par les media
- Masses, mass media, and mass society
- Functionalism and the role of communication in society
- Cultural studies, reception studies, and the interpretative power of audiences
- Propaganda and the Frankfurter Schule
As we study these subjects, the course gives a general overview of the development of communication sciences.
We will pay specific attention to the manner in which the classic concepts, theories, and approaches of communication science and social science more generally remain relevant tools to understand the digital era.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
This class consists of a series of plenary courses, accompanied by six seminar sessions. Each course focuses on a specific approach within communication science or a particular communicative phenomenon. The seminars operationalize the materials seen during the plenary courses, so as to improve apprehension by students and to help students prepare in an optimal manner for the exam. One seminar will propose a mock exam. The seminars' goal is to favour an active uptake and appropriation of the course materials by the students, and to support them as they learn the metier of what it takes to be a university student.
The plenary courses and seminars are supported by PowerPoint presentations, which together with the courses and seminars themselves constitute the material about which the students will be questioned during the exams. The students are invited to ask question in class or via Moodle.

Assessment methods and criteria :
Students will be evaluated based on a written, in-person, closed-book exam. Questions will relate to courses, the seminars, and the PowerPoint presentations. The exam involves both theoretical questions, and questions that ask students to apply and operationalize the theories, ideas, and concepts discussed during the class or in the course materials. It comprises both shorter and more specific questions (e.g. multiple choice, definition), as well as longer and more open questions (e.g. essay question).
The exam will evaluate the following aspects:
- Students' understanding and knowledge of theories and concepts seen throughout the course
- Students' capacity to explain in a precise and detailed fashion the theories and concepts seen throughout the course
- Students' capacity to relate, compare, and use different theories and concepts seen throughout the course
- Students' capacity to apply theories and concepts seen throughout the course to concrete examples of contemporary communication that were not seen during the course
- Students' critical attitude towards communication, media, and ‘common sense'.
The exam counts for 100% of the final grade during all exam sessions. Passing the mock exam during the first term (score of 10/20 or more) adds one additional point to final grade of all exams of the academic year during which the student passed the mock exam. (e.g. a student who scored 9/20 during their January exam and 14/20 on the mock exam, will have a final score of 10/20, and will be deemed to have passed this course successfully). Students who do not pass the mock exam simply do not receive this extra point, but they will also not lose it.
If an external force necessitates the organisation of the exam online, i twill take place in an open-book format. Students will be allowed to use their notes as well as the resources available on the course website, but they will not be allowed to copy or cite from it in a direct manner, and the use of all other material will be strictly prohibited. This is a collective measure, which cannot apply to individual students.

Recommended or required reading :
A selection of optional readings and audio-visual resources will be made available to the students via Moodle.

Other information :