I’ll be teaching the discussion sections for Media Uses and Effects as my first class at the University of Iowa. This general education class teaches students about the history of social scientific research on media, discussing how violence, sexuality, and other topics impact media users. While the class is largely arranged topically, the course naturally progresses through media research history, ranging from the Payne Fund Studies to danah boyd’s ethnographic research on digital spaces and communities.
This course also acts as the main course that teaches undergraduate students research methods. While students won’t get first hand experience conducting research, they will learn how content analyses, surveys, and experiments provide insight into media usage. The capstone project of the class requires students to propose their own original research and think through how they could employ a research method to answer an original research question on media. While the media theory components of this class broaden students’ general education, the research methodology portions of the class will help students regardless of their field of study by providing them with a basis to conduct basic research and increase their media literacy.