Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PHL 197
Course Title:
Manufacturing Reality: Critical Thinking and the Media
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Addresses the growing impact of electronic media on our perceptions of truth and reality. Emphasizes skills to critically deconstruct and analyze the embedded values, messages, and techniques of electronic media as a basis for empowering students to formulate meaningful responses. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  • Recognize audiovisual techniques used by the media as a means for developing critical responses to the various forms of media driven social influence.
  • Continually (re)define one€™s morality within the larger social system of diverse cultures based upon the implicit and explicit moral, economic, and political messages that are embedded in the media.
  • Employ an understanding of how one€™s perceptions of self and reality have been constructed by moral, political, religious, and economic institutions and presented by the media.
  •  Recognize and reflect on the nature of the social and aesthetic issues associated with electronic media in order to meaningfully interact with electronic media in society.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies will include some of the following:

·       Essays in the form of in-class exams, short papers, or term papers.

·       Student presentations.

·       Class and small group discussions.

·       Portfolios.

·       Service learning projects.

·       Attendance.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Course Content

Themes, concepts, Issues: The course will focus on the following topics and issues:

·       Awareness of audio and video technique.

·       "Reading" television programming and other forms of media messages (i. e., Media Literacy).

·       Television programming (including TV News) and other media presentations as constructed interpretations of reality.

·       Values implications of television programming and other media content.

·       Aesthetic issues pertaining to TV programming and other media content.


Competencies and Skills: Students will learn to:

·       Analyze, discuss, and write about TV programming and other forms of media content.

·       Think critically about TV programming and other media content.

·       Identify and evaluate values content of TV programming and of other media content.

·       Make informed judgments about the aesthetics of TV programs and other media forms.