Media English – Resources & Homework

IMPORTANT NOTE: handouts for student presentations can be downloaded from the presentations schedule, below. Any handouts given to me will be made available for download, and listed beside the names of the presenters within 24 hours of my receiving them. You are responsible for downloading any handouts and reviewing them before class.

Handouts and assignments will be listed here as they are assigned. Check here for information about assignments, and so on. All text files are in PDF format, and you can open it with either the Adobe Acrobat Reader, or with the alternative PDF reader Foxit (download it here).

Handout #1 (March 7, 2006): Here is a PDF of the Media Survey we filled out in class.

Handout #2 (March 9, 2006): Here is the text for the song The Deep End which we listened to in class. Here is the MP3 of the song. Listen to it a few times before next class, and see if you can figure out the missing words and the basic story.

Handouts #3: (March 16, 2006): Here’s the advertisement discussion questions handout that I gave you, and a copy of the advertisements that I prepared to show you. Here are the two ads, in case you wanted a closer look: number 1, number 2.

Handouts #4 (16 March 2006): Unfortunately, I cannot provide a copy of this online because of copyright law. However, I don’t need to! The complete Same Difference is available on website, which is run by the artist, Derek Kirk Kim. The section I gave you was mostly from Chapter Ten.

Handout #5 (23 March 2005): I gave you an excerpt from Paul Graham’s essay on “nerds”. The whole essay is available here, if you’re interested.

The PSA Gallery: All of the PSAs submitted to me have been posted to the PSA Gallery. You can see it by clicking on the link on the sidebar, or using this direct link to the gallery.

Handout #6 (30 March 2006): I gave you a handout on the concepts of Nerd and Cool which were the subject of a lecture on March 28th, and which will be important to the media we watch for the next little while. (Because the diagram is a little messed up in the PDF, I’m including a .doc version of the file that hopefully looks better, until I can sort out the graphics problem.)

Handout #7 (6 April 2006): This is the scene-discussion handout that I distributed for our viewing of Almost Famous.

Handout #8 (4 May 2006): The Discussion Handout with Preview & Questions for the Pilot Episode(s) of “Lost”.
Handout #9 (9 May 2006): Coming soon!


Assignment #1: Who is this magazine for? Assigned March 9, 2006.

  • Prepare for a discussion of your magazine, in terms of target demographics and in terms specific advertisements for the evening of March 14th.
  • Your (short) written assignment is Due March 16th. See this handout for a model of the written assignment.

Assignment #2: Make a PSA. Assigned March 16th, 2006. Due 23rd March, 2006.

  • Prepare the concept for a Public Service Announcement, ie. a non-commercial advertisement. You should consider your message, your target demographic (ie. who you are advertising to), and where you’d place the advertisement.
  • Find a suitable photograph that you can use legally. You can take a photo with your own camera, or you can find one on one of the many free photo-sharing websites like
  • Prepare a suitable text (“ad copy”) for the PSA. If you are good with computers, place the ad copy on the advertisement; otherwise, place the picture and the ad copy in a text document such as a Word .doc file.
  • Along with the advertisement (or photo and ad copy) students are expected to explain their target demographic, where they would advertise. If the intended effect of the advertisement is not obvious, students can also mention it.
  • Your advertisements and accompanying explanations should be submitted to me both in hard copy (a black & white printout is acceptable) and by email, on March 23rd. We will view the assignments in class the following week.

Homework/Discussion Preparation: Assigned 23 March 2006. Due 28 March 2006.

Students should read the handout containing the excerpt from Paul Graham’s essay on “Why Nerds Are Unpopular”, and be ready to discuss the questions included at the end of the excerpt.
Students are also expected to spend some time before next class developing their own definition of two significant words that came up in our discussion of our excerpt from Derek Kirk Kim’s comic: “nerd” and “cool”. Don’t just look in a dictionary; try to search the net or books on popular culture (and don’t forget wikipedia, guys: there are tons of links on those pages you can explore); you should also refer to the Paul Graham text when developing your understanding of these terms. They will be integral to our discussion of media clips in the coming week.

Assignment #3: Catch The Signals. Assigned 30 March 2006. Due 13 April 2006. Please watch one (1) of the following movies during the next two weeks:

  • Back To the Future (the first film, not the sequels)
  • The Matrix
  • The Italian Job (the recent remake, not the original)
  • James Bond 007: Die Another Day
  • Weird Science
  • Little Shop of Horrors (any version is okay, but the old version is public domain, so you can legally download it; try here)
  • Spiderman (the first live-action movie)
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • Magnolia
  • Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
  • Miss Congentiality

If possible (ie. if you’re using a DVD instead of a videotape) watch the film without subtitles (preferably) or with English subtitles, and choose one character whom you think is especially cool or nerdy. Please collect a list of all the signals in the movie that show the character is a nerd, or is cool. Then write a 500 word (ie. about 2 pages double-spaced) essay about this character what you think those signals, as well as your thoughts about whether you agree that the character is in fact cool or a nerd. (Whether you agree with the movie’s standard for judging characters.)

Be warned: the coolest and nerdiest characters sometimes aren’t the most central characters in the movie. Also be warned that the last few films on my list will be harder to write about as they deal with this subject in a more complex way. Only choose one of the last three films if you want a big challenge!

(Note: I have no checked whether all of these movies are available in Korean video/DVD rental shops; while I know that most of them are available in very large shops, some of them might not be easily available to you. If you cannot find a film, and have another film in mind, please check with me before you watch it or start writing about it.)

UPDATE: Here’s an example for you to read; it’s about William, the main character in the movie we’re watching as a class — Almost Famous — and if you read it, you’ll discover a few surprises which we’ll see in class next time. My sample is about 800 words long, which means it is a bit longer than the minimum length I assigned you. This should give you a good idea of what I’m looking for.

Exam Update:

Students are responsible for the following for the midterm exam:

  • ability to analyze an advertisement in terms of demographics, message(s), placement, and intended effect
  • ability to discuss one or more of the definitions of cool in relation to specific characters in the film Almost Famous
  • ability to distinguish visual, spoken, and other characteristics of the “nerd” character type upon viewing a new media clip
  • retention of new vocabulary encountered in Almost Famous, Chapter Ten of Derek Kirk Kim’s comic Same Difference, and the Dabang Band song The Deep End

Good luck studying!


The presentation schedule is as follows below. Handouts for the various presentations will be added beside the names of the presenters. It is your job to check for the handouts prior to class, print them, and bring them.
Tuesday, 16 May, 2006:

  • Kyung Min, Jung Woong (no handout to download)

Thursday, 18 May, 2006:

Tuesday, 23 May 2006:

Tuesday, 30 May, 2006:

  • Ji Young, Jong Kyun
  • Yoon Jung, Joo Young

Presentations should be approximately 20-25 minutes. If you need more time, please inform me and we can shift your presentation to a day with more time available. Remember that presentations should not consist merely of watching/reading/listening to a clip. You should try to find some kind of engaging, interesting, and/or interactive exercise where students engage with the media either on the level of specific language, general comprehension, critical understanding, or cultural difference. Try to make it active, interesting, and fun! And be careful to budget your time appropriately!

Final Projects

Final projects are open-ended. You can choose to write a critical essay of approximately 6-10 -12 pages dealing with a piece of media (or selected pieces of media) [note: I thought about this and decided 10-12 pages was too much! However, I don’t think 6-10 pages is too much, especially considering the fact I’ll be grading you mostly on the ideas in your writing, should you choose to submit a written essay]; to make a critical/scholarly presentation of 15-20 minutes to the class (this time includes samples; again, if you need more time, we can adjust the schedule but this will probably mean you will present a class or a week earlier); or a creative project working in one of the genres we have studied (or will study) during the semester. Technically, the list of genres I will accept include the following:

  • music video
  • a recorded song of your own creation
  • a comedy sketch consisting of no fewer than 3-4 scenes, with dialogue written by the student submitting the project
  • a dramatic video consisting of no fewer than 3-4 scenes, with dialogue written by the student submitting the project
  • a “radio drama”, “radio interview”, or other audio recording or podcast consisting of at least ten minutes of audio material not including music clips.
  • a series of no fewer than ten advertisements in a single series in which all content — the photographs, the ad copy, and all other materials — are original and created by the student submitting the project. The advertisements may be PSAs or they may be commercial advertisements for a real or imagined product.

Students submitting a creative project should also include a short (1-page) write-up explaining about some critical aspect of their creation. Students submitting acted scenes on video could include the script and an explanation of why they chose the jokes they did, or the dramatic scenario they enacted. Students submitting a series of advertisements should explain their intended demographics, their product, and strategies for advertisement placement. Students submitting a radio drama could explain how they created sound effects, and perhaps explain a little bit about their imagined audience. Students who create music videos or record songs of their own creation should explain the meaning of the song as they understand it, and explain how those meanings are conveyed in the song itself and/or in the video.


Project Proposal: 11 May 2006.

Final Project due: 8 June 2006.

… and finally, the last homework I’ll ever assign in this class:

Listening Homework for 1 June 8 June 2006:

Students are expected to listen to the famous Orson Welles broadcast of The War of the Worlds. You can download the mp3 using this link (right-click and download to your hard drive or MP3 player). You should also research the history of the broadcast: the Wikipedia page on the subject is a good starting point for history and background information. There is a script available of the broadcast, here, but I would like to encourage you to read the script only after listening to the MP3 at least once. (But you should use the script once you’ve listened once, as some of the text is difficult to understand.)

Students are also expected to find and investigate at least one other version of the story, either the original novel by HG Wells (available online in English here; there may or may not be a Korean translation in publication, I don’t know, but if you can find it, this would be acceptable), or either film version of the story — the 1953 version, or the Tom Cruise/Spielberg version from 2005.

We’ll be discussing the differences between the various versions, so it is very important that you familiarize yourself with at least one other version of the story, though it doesn’t necessarily matter which one you choose. You won’t be WRITING about this, just listening and discussing. Okay?

IMPORTANT NOTE: handouts for student presentations can be downloaded from the presentations schedule, above. Any handouts given to me will be made available for download, and listed beside the names of the presenters within 24 hours of my receiving them. You are responsible for downloading any handouts and reviewing them before class.

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