Scholarship of teaching and learning
The introductory survey of media course is a standard offering in many media studies programs. Students' points of view about controversial issues treated in this class are quite susceptible to change. Indeed, a deliberately value-added approach to teaching this class acknowledges and appreciates that student opinions are likely to change in the direction of those espoused by the instructor. This research project compares the changes in students' viewpoints from the start of the semester to the conclusion, on 18 issues featured in Alexander and Hanson's (2001) Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Mass Media and Society. Statistically significant differences between survey responses early in the semester and late in the semester emerged for seven of the issues. Of these, five changed in the direction of the instructor's viewpoint; opinions on two other issues, however, changed in the opposite direction. The study provides a model for assessing outcomes beyond typical knowledge and achievement measures.
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