University Curriculum Committee Proposal for Course Change

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University Curriculum Committee

Proposal for Course Change

1. Is this course a Diversity or Liberal Studies

Liberal Studies



2. Course change effective beginning of what term and year?

(ex. Spring 2008, Summer 2008) See effective dates calendar.

Fall 2010

3. College


4. Academic Unit/Department


5. Current course subject/catalog number

COM 382

6. Current catalog title, course description and units. (Cut and paste from current on-line academic catalog /
Cinema emphasis: documentary and feature films; the aesthetic experience peculiar to film as a composite art form, a reflector of society, and a social force in itself; illustrated by screen examples. Letter grade only. Course fee required. AHI

Show the proposed changes in this column. Please BOLD the changes, to differentiate from what is not changing.
Cinema emphasis: documentary and feature films; The study and history of film as an art form, how filmmakers tell a story, and the aesthetic experience peculiar unique to film as a composite art form, a reflector of society, and a social force in itself communal and encompassing art, a medium of social commentary, and as entertainment; illustrated by feature films, film clips, and documentaries. and screen examples. Letter grade only. Prerequisite: Sophomore status. Course fee required. AHI

7. Is this course required or an elective in any other plan (major, minor, certificate)? Yes  No 

If yes, explain and provide supporting documentation from the affected departments.


8. Does this change affect community college articulation? Yes  No 

If yes, explain how in the justification and provide supporting documentation from the affected

Is the course a Common Course as defined by your Articulation Task Force? Yes  No X

If yes, has the change been approved by the Articulation Task Force? Yes  No 

If this course has been listed in the Course Equivalency Guide, should that listing

be left as is  or be revised 

If revised, how should it be revised?      




Current course subject/catalog number

COM 382

Proposed course subject/catalog number

EMF 382

Current number of units/credits


Proposed number of units/credits


Current Course Fee yes  no 

If subject or catalog number change

Move  or Delete 

Current Grading Option*

Letter Grade  Pass/Fail  or Both 

Proposed Grading Option*

Letter Grade  Pass/Fail  or Both 

Current Repeat for additional Units


Proposed Repeat for additional Units


Current Max number of units


Proposed Max number of units


Current Prerequisite


Proposed Prerequisite

Sophomore status

Current Co-requisite


Proposed Co-requisite


Current Co-Convene with


Proposed Co-Convene with


Current Cross List with


Proposed Cross List with


Do you want to remove this course from either the Liberal Studies Course list and or the Diversity Course list? Liberal Studies  Diversity 

9. Justification for course change. Please indicate how past assessments of student learning prompted proposed changes.

COM 382 was originally intended as a topics course in communication but has been taught exclusively as a cinema course for over twenty years. It was accepted for liberal studies as a cinema course. Three years ago the word Film was added to the Electronic Media program name (Electronic Media and Film); this course should now more appropriately use the EMF prefix.

10. Approvals

Chair of college curriculum committee/Date

Dean of college/Date

For Committee use only

For University Curriculum Committee/Date

Action taken:

approved as submitted

approved as modified

COM 382 - Art of Communication: Cinema

Fall, 2009

Instructor: Paul Helford 

General Information

School of Communication, Communication Studies
COM 382, Art of Communication: Cinema
Credits: 3
Liberal Studies: Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry
Online class

Course Communication

  1. Primary communication in this class will take place via the class e-mail.

  2. You must check your e-mail for this class regularly.

  3. Emergency Non-Vista e-mail:

    1. - subject must include the word "COM382"

    2. The emergency e-mail is NOT to ask about class assignments or grades
  4. Phone: 928-523-9312

  5. Office location: Communication Building, Room 343

  6. Office Hours: Monday 2:00-3:00; Wednesday 10:00-noon; Thursday 11:00-noon

Course Web Sites

COM 382 Web site   (You must have an NAU dana account to enter this Web site.)

Looking at Movies, textbook Web site
You must be able to access both web sites.


Looking at Movies, Richard Barsam, Norton, 2007, 2nd edition, ISBN 978-0-393-92865 Absolutely required for class!

This text is available through the NAU bookstore and other NAU textbook locations as well as from online vendors like

Course Prerequisites

Sophomore standing or permission from the instructor.

Ability to access required films as defined in "Activities for COM 382" in Getting Started.

Students are required to view movies, film clips, and online lectures as a part of this class. If you are visually impaired, you must have vision sufficient enough to meet these requirements.


This is an online course. You are responsible for being able to work your way through the course and submit assignments as required.

It is your responsibility to submit documents as described.

When doing assignments, follow instructions carefully.

Finally, this is an upper division liberal studies class, and you are college students; assignments will be graded not only for content but for grammar, spelling and syntax.

Technology Requirements

This is an online class - you must have access to a computer and the Internet for this class. If you do not have a reliable computer and a reliable Internet Service Provider, do not take this class!

You must have the technological competency to take this class and complete assignments.

Your computer must be Pentium Windows PC or G3 Mac or faster. If your computer does not meet these requirements, you cannot take the class.

Students are required to check their DANA email account. In the event of a technical problem, class communication will take place via your DANA email.

Latest version of the Macromedia Flash player 7- Download free plug in here.

Course Description

"The art of cinema is the way the story is told."
Alfred Hitchcock

The Art of Communication is the study of a communication medium as an art form. The focus is on how the medium communicates and the subtle, often unpredictable ways, in which that communication can, at times, become art. It is a liberal studies course in the Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry distribution block.

Art of Communication: Cinema is an historical, technological and social exploration of movies. We will examine film from early single shot newsreels through silent masterpieces to sound classics and films through the 20th century and beyond. You will discover that, as the painter uses line, form and color, and as the writer uses words, so does the filmmaker use images, sound and movement. As the great director Orson Welles put it, the painter needs a brush, the poet needs a pen, and the filmmaker needs an army. (Although in these days of digital filmmaking, films can be made with few people and little money; still a typical feature film costs millions and employs hundreds.) Like other art forms, film can stimulate you intellectually, emotionally, and viscerally. Like other works of art, a movie can reveal something of the human condition; a movie can change your life.

Technology and its impact is the course's underlying motif, but the thematic focus is film as a social medium, that both reflects and impacts society, influencing how we perceive the diversity of the human experience. Skills students will use include creative and critical thinking, effective writing, and spatial analysis.

Liberal Studies Information

COM 382 is a Liberal Studies course in the Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry distribution block.

The Liberal Studies Program prepares students to live responsible, productive, and creative lives as citizens of a dramatically changing world. Northern Arizona University’s Liberal Studies Program challenges students to gain a deeper understanding of the world's peoples, to explore the traditions and legacies that have created the dynamics and tensions that shape the world, to examine their potential contributions to society, and thus to better determine their own places in that world.

COM 382 is a study of how the medium of film has told stories of America and its people for more than a century. The class will help students understand the country’s people and their diversity and the traditions and legacies that have created the dynamics and tensions that shape the country and the world.

As a course in the Aesthetic and Humanistic Inquiry block, COM 382 will offer cinematic studies of the human condition. Students will develop an understanding of the relationship between cinematic context and human creative expression and how human experience and values are expressed through cinema. Students will also develop their capacities for analysis and ethical reasoning along with an understanding of the multiple facets of the human condition.

Course Structure

The class content is online. You will also have to view films at home. Your movie choices and activity descriptions are overviewed in Activities for COM 382 in Getting Started and detailed within the course lectures.

For some assignments, students who are near the mountain campus will have the option of attending a campus classic film series as described in Activities for COM 382 and NAU Film Series in the Getting Started module.

Course Learning Outcomes

  1. To become aware of a wide array of films, key filmmakers, terms and facts of film studies.

  2. To understand principles of filmmaking and how a filmmaker conveys meaning using visual image and sound design.

  3. To recognize that movies carry cultural and ideological messages, which can influence how we see the world we live in and how we perceive ourselves.

  4. To write effectively, read critically and analyze spatial elements in the movie frame.

  5. To assess how cinema reveals the multiple facets of the human condition.

  6. To appreciate cinema as an art form.

Assignments and Grades

All students will write 3 essays ranging from 500 to 750 words and 3 film analyses.

If you live on or near the Mountain Campus, you may attend the Tuesday night classic film series...

OR may choose to participate in a discussion centered around films of the 21st century AND write 5 brief reflection papers about movies that must be chosen from the provided lists (see Film choices Fall 09 in Getting Started).

If you cannot or choose not to attend the Tuesday night classic film series, you MUST write 5 brief reflections about movies that must be chosen from the provided lists and participate in the 21st century film discussion. The discussion will culminate in you preparing an approximate 750 word lecture, like the ones you’ll be reading for the rest of this course.

Make sure you keep working on this class. Exams, discussions and assignments all have unique and specific due dates. You may finish most work early, but you cannot finish work late! It is up to you to check the calendar regularly and finish all work on time.

While there is flexibility built into the class for doing the assignments, you must complete them by specified dates as noted in the calendar. 

Missing assignment and exam completion deadlines will result in a 0 (zero) grade for that assignment or exam.

Assignment Value Breakdown

  1. 3 Film Analyses at 25 points each  – 75 points

  2. 3 Essays at 50 points each – 150 points

  3. 3 Exams at 50 points each – 150 points

and either:

  1. 12 movies at 20 points each - 240 points


  1. 5 Reflection papers at 20 points each – 100 points

  2. 1 Discussions at 25 points – 25 points

  3. 2 Discussions at 20 points each - 40 points

  4. Lecture at 75 points

  1. Total Possible – 615 points     

Grading will be based on a percentage of total points earned:

  1. A 90-100%

  2. B 80-89

  3. C 70-79%

  4. D 60-69%

  5. F below 60%

Course Policies, Expectations and Requirements

  1. This course is not designed to be easy. Thought, effort, and taking responsibility are required.

  2. You are responsible for all class material.

  3. It is your responsibility to complete work on time.

  4. You must see films from the recommended lists, read the text, take the exams and turn in the assignments.
  5. You will be tested on the texts, the films, and the lectures (including the film clips).

  6. There will be no extra credit opportunity, unless offered to the entire class.

  7. Incompletes: There are very strict guidelines for approving incompletes and will not be given in this class except for extreme, verifiable emergencies. Incompletes and withdrawals after the deadline will NOT be given if you have not kept up with the work or because you did not like or are failing or doing poorly in the class. 

  8. The instructor can track the amount of time you spend on the course in the class Web site.

  9. You must take the examinations and complete assignments on the dates scheduled. You will receive a zero on any assignments not completed by the due date.

  10. Only the instructor may grant requirement changes.

  11. There is some R-rated material in Apocalypse Now and Do the Right Thing film clips. Some film series movies may also be rated R.

The instructor reserves the right to add or remove material as needed.

Film Series Attendance Policy and Illness

While you must attend 12 films and complete a film reflection for each film in order to qualify for the maximum number of film series points, please be cautious about attending the film series if you are feeling ill. Please inform the instructor by phone or e-mail if you are feeling unwell and cannot attend. Please take precautions not to infect others and seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen.

Academic Honesty

Acts of academic dishonesty, including, but not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, stealing or copying tests are regarded by the University as very serious offenses. Students involved in such activities will be dealt with in accordance with University rules, regulations, and policy.

See ADDITIONAL Northern Arizona University policy statements at:

NAU Policy StatementsNAU Academic Dishonesty



Revised 8/08

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