2019-2020 Catalogue

Media & Culture (MC)

MC 200 Introduction to Media Theory     (3 credits)

Media impact our lives on a daily basis, often in ways we don’t think about. Whether we are concerned with content in television shows, films, recorded music, news, advertisements, video games; with who produces it: professionals or consumers; with how we use it for entertainment, for surveillance, to gather and distribute information; or even with the means with which media content reaches us via traditional broadcast, the Internet or mobile devices; the range of questions we can ask about media are vast. This course looks at the ways we can make sense of media through theory; its production, distribution, audiences, effects, uses and meanings in order to help students become both more media literate as well as become sophisticated analysts and producers of media.


MC 220 Introduction to Media Production     (3 credits)

Serving as a foundation to media practice, this course offers students a broad introduction to media production through hands-on exercises involving digital photography, video and audio production, as well as graphic and sound design. Students will have the opportunity to explore various media formats and methods of distribution through the course's emphasis on the fundamentals of visual language and the creative process. The overarching framework for a study of media is provided in the course: analysis and synthesis are emphasized as projects evolve throughout the process of conceptualization, visualization, production and reception.


MC 222 Digital Photography     (3 credits)

Photography has permeated our world within the past century. Billboards and advertising, personal snapshots, and the limitless web — seeing the world photographically and learning to interpret these images is a contemporary imperative. Within the past decade, digitally-based imaging has taken center stage in photography. This course is focused on communicating effectively and visually through digital imagery. Students examine three important facets of visual communication in the rapidly expanding digital world: the art of photography, image manipulation, and finally, applications for these images. Students will shoot and edit their own digital photographs using their own cameras, provide written responses to topic questions, and can create a web-based portfolio of their work.


MC 224 Video Production     (3 credits)

This course highlights the creative process and serves as a foundation for students to learn the technical and artistic aspects of digital video production. The fundamentals of screenwriting, visual conceptualization, cameras, lighting techniques, sound recording, and nonlinear editing are covered.


MC 250 Global Media Industries     (3 credits)

This course looks at international media industries, products and audiences to provide an introduction to a multinational and multiethnic culture. In addition to providing a strong general grasp of how international media are structured, the course focuses on how cultural and media products impact democracy internationally. Students consider the elements, interaction and impact of media culture and mass communication in national and international arenas, with special attention to questions of ideology, political economy and global democracy.

Focus: INTL


MC 260 The Television Industry     (3 credits)

Radio and television broadcasting are major parts of the U.S. economy, national identity and contemporary culture, yet their pervasiveness is rarely matched by critical scrutiny of how media become meaningful to audiences and to American society. Drawing on an integrated approach where the textual, industrial, policy, social and audience dimensions of broadcasting are considered, this course guides students through a survey of American broadcasting style, regulation and content. Readings, screenings and class discussions address the roles that American radio and television have played in constructing dominant and marginalized cultures. By examining the intersection of art and commerce in American radio and television, students analyze the ways that broadcasting content has evolved and how media industries have responded to social and regulatory change.

Focus: DIV


MC 300 Selected Topics in Media Studies     (3 credits)

This course examines a different film, television and new media theme or themes each semester. Recent topics include: Imagining the Culture Industries; Storytelling & the Studio System; Theory of Gaming & New Media; and Media & Democracy.

Note: Allows repetition for credit.

MC 320 Selected Topics in Advanced Production     (3 credits)

This course develops the basic techniques covered in Introduction to Video Production, concentrating on more conceptual and advanced approaches to image and sound creation. It emphasizes specialization in a particular area of professional production. Allows repetition for credit.


MC 321 Audio Production and Sound Design     (3 credits)

Effective sound design can greatly expand visual elements in all forms of media. Digital audio technologies have enhanced traditional media, such as film and television, and continue to develop in new forms, such as interactive cinema environments and mobile technologies. Yet, sound design is no longer reliant on the production of a definitive image, but can produce what is known as synesthesia – in this case, aural stimulation producing involuntary cognitive abilities to create visuals. In the realm of new media, the relationship between sound and image has intensified in that equal weight is given to the approach and creation of the sound design to its visual representations. The fundamentals of microphones, digital recording techniques, sound effects and post‐production audio mixing will be covered through hands-on demonstrations and individual and collaborative audio projects.


MC 322 Documentary Production     (3 credits)

This course will teach the basic skills of documentary production, including handheld camera techniques, interviewing methods, writing narration and historical research. In addition, the course presents important issues in contemporary documentary, such as copyright, grassroots distribution strategies and online exhibition. The course will include a brief history of the documentary and students will view a range of documentary genres with different stylistic and narrative approaches. Students will make their own 7-10 minute video documentary for exhibition at the end of the semester.

Focus: DIV


MC 323 Animation Production and Motion Design     (3 credits)

This course provides a focused study in design and visual effects for timebasedmedia narratives, specifically in the areas of video and animation. Examples of time-based media approaches to be explored include animation, interactive comics, narrative film and video, videogames, and some forms of video art.

MC 324 Directing     (3 credits)

Everyone has an image of a film director. Many of us picture a man or woman in a beret with a bullhorn, sitting in a “director’s chair”, barking “action!” and “cut!” But what does a director actually do in the real world of filmmaking? Class topics will include visualization, script breakdowns, casting, location scouting, working with actors, shot planning and film grammar, on set procedures and editing. The first half of the semester will give students a foundation in directing through readings, lectures, film analysis and exercises. In the second half, students will form small production teams. Each student will get a chance to direct their own short script (2-4 pages) while the other members in the group serve as crew. Scripts will be provided by LIT 312’s screenwriting students. Throughout the production process, there will be opportunities for students to receive feedback on their work both from faculty and peers.

MC 340 Producing Media: Industry Perspectives     (3 credits)

How does an idea become a movie, television show, web series or any other finished media project? Before the cameras roll and the director yells "action!", the producer must fill in all the practical blanks – including honing the idea, budgeting, acquiring funds, developing the creative team, making distribution deals and more – that will bring the project to life. This class will examine the role of The Producer in our current merging media landscape. Once students have a grasp of what a producer is, they will become producers themselves. Working in small teams, students will become producers on actual Bentley media productions: creating schedules and budgets, acquiring key crew members, coordinating auditions and casting, securing locations, and developing a marketing and exhibition strategy. Over the course of the semester, guest professionals from Boston's media community will speak to the class, and there will be a trip to a local production facility.

MC 341 Creative Industries     (3 credits)

We consume media every day, but we rarely think about the people and institutions responsible for the look and sound of what we see and hear. In its focus on the narratives through which the production cultures in different creative industries describe themselves, this course addresses not only what it means to be a director, writer, cinematographer, music supervisor, composer, and/or web/game/graphic/costume designer, but also how those definitions frame creative work as well as the relationship of production cultures to fans, consumers, and American and global cultures. In addition to analyzing how film, television, music, gaming and new media firms construct corporate cultures via narrative and rhetorical strategies, the course considers how creative industries establish business models governing content production and distribution.


MC 342 Media Industry Convergence     (3 credits)

Formerly MC 300.

This course considers the changes to the structure and scope of Hollywood studio and TV network operations, especially in response to the emergence of new technologies, cross-media conglomerates, alternate content delivery systems (e.g., DVD, iPods, Hulu), and transnational patterns of circulation. Grounding its analysis of the millennial media industries in two case studies of midcentury studio systems, the course provides historical foundations for its examination of convergence culture; the technological, industrial, cultural and social changes in the way media circulates in and between cultures; and the impact of this intersection of media practices on how media industries pursue national and global audiences. Students learn both to analyze particular forms of visual communication and to understand the limitations of that communication given studio, network, and corporate practices and priorities as well as cultural, social and technological constraints.

MC 345 The Music Industry     (3 credits)

This course examines changes in the structure of the music industry and the evolution of popular music forms and genres. Industrial topics include the rise and fall of various playback technologies, cultural anxieties surrounding genres such as jazz and rap, and intellectual property. This course provides an introduction to the organization and structure of the music industry through an examination of the activities and strategies of labels, publishers, performance rights organizations, startups and subscription services. Students learn about how globalization and new technologies challenge production and distribution norms. Through course readings and listening sessions, students are introduced to debates about commerce and creativity in rock, pop, indie rock, hip hop, electronica, world and remix music.


MC 350 The Video Game Industry     (3 credits)

This course focuses on the emergence of PC/console gaming as a medium of communication, an industrial sector, and a cultural arena. Class readings address game design and development strategies and processes, relationships between game publishers and developers, and controversies over authorship/ownership and compensation in the gaming industry. Class discussions examine the emergence of particular game genres, games in learning and media literacy, the evolution of gaming firms, and the emergence of games as a medium in which designers, marketers and players construct and contest gender, race and sexual norms. Writing projects in the course include textual analysis, summarizing and critiquing academic and trade sources, evaluating video game criticism, and a final research paper that examines connections between game design/development, play, and cultural issues in gaming.


MC 398 Experimental course in MC     (3 credits)

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

MC 399 Experimental course in MC     (3 credits)

Experimental courses explore curriculum development, with specific content intended for evolution into a permanent course. A topic may be offered twice before it becomes a permanent course. Students may repeat experimental courses with a different topic for credit.

MC 401 Directed Study in Media & Cult     (3 credits)

A Directed Study is designed for highly qualified students who, under the direction of a member of the sponsoring academic department, engage in an agreed upon in-depth independent examination, investigation or analysis of a specialized topic.

MC 420 Capstone Project in Media and Culture     (3 credits)

Undertaken in the last year of coursework in Media and Culture, the final project requires students to write a media analysis or produce an original media text (for example, a video or website). If a student chooses to produce a creative work, he or she must also write an essay explaining how the project reflects his or her understanding of and engagement with key issues and categories of the study of Media and Culture.

MC 421 Internship in Media and Culture     (3 credits)

May not register on the web. See internship coordinator to register.

Introduces the student to some aspect of the media industry; emphasizes the particular operations of a media company by assigning a student to a professional in the field under whose supervision the intern undertakes tasks and participates in analyzing the practical applications of media theories. The intern's progress is monitored and evaluated jointly by the field supervisor and the faculty coordinator during the semester internship.