Fall 2019 - CMNS 110 J100

Introduction to Communication Studies (3)

Class Number: 10346

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 5:30–7:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 4, 2019
    Wed, 7:00–10:00 p.m.



An introduction to selected theories about human communication. This course is required for a major, honours or minor in communication. Breadth-Social Sciences.


The aim of this course is to provide a general introduction to a range of theories that seek to explain why we communicate as we do. The first part of the course establishes a general overview of communication theory, from both theoretical and historical points of view. We will examine the relationship between communication and social consciousness, the development of alphabetic writing, and theories of orality and literacy. We will also review the concept of the self in the context of communication studies.

The second part of the course will focus on specific fields within the area of communication, including: the study of popular culture, media analysis, film studies, advertising, and the political economy of communication. We will also examine the rise of technology studies in communication, and consider the way in which the electronic media (in particular computers and the Internet), have refashioned both human consciousness and culture. In this context, we will discuss issues of privacy and democracy in the emerging digital culture.

Our main goal is to critically assess the images and messages of contemporary media. How do they create meaning? Do they enlarge our understanding of the world, or influence us to think about it in increasingly narrow ways?


  • Mid-Term (In-Class) Exam 25%
  • Written Assignment 35%
  • Final (In-Class) Exam 25%
  • Participation 15%
  • The school expects that the grades awarded in this course will bear some reasonable relation to established university-wide practices with respect to both levels and distribution of grades. In addition, The School will follow Policy S10.01 with respect to Academic Integrity, and Policies S10.02, S10.03 and S10.04 as regards Student Discipline. [Note: as of May 1, 2009 the previous T10 series of policies covering Intellectual Honesty (T10.02) and Academic Discipline (T10.03) have been replaced with the new S10 series of policies.]



McCarron, Gary, Introduction to Communication Studies (3rd edition), Pearson Custom Publication, 2012.

ISBN: 9781256498384.


Danesi, Marcel, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Semiotics, Media, and Communication. University of Toronto Press, 2000. 
ISBN: 9780802083296

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html