Winter 2023 - Alright. Here's the deal - this class was disorganized but overall the content was great. Every week Prof. Hammer brought in at least one guest speaker (often times two) and they would lead presentations and discussions based on the media assignments for the week (screenwriters, critical media literacy experts, journalists, etc.). The media assignments were usually a mix of documentaries, some movies, and a bit of reading (though cannot stress enough, really not that much reading). To be honest, you don't need to do the media viewings because a lot of the conversation is guided by general ideas and opinions more than breaking down media texts, but Prof. Hammer was always very excited when people could draw connections to specifically assigned texts. TBH, I have no idea what comprises my grade in this class. Prof. Hammer did not have a clear syllabus prepared and it was a bit shrouded throughout the entire quarter (usually she hands out printed paper w the next week's assignments?), I think (?) that our final project was worth 50% (with 10% being a final paper), and participation was the rest. If you don't like not knowing what is going on and having a clear sense of assignments/timelines, this may not be the course for you. The final project is a group presentation or video, you make groups on the first day and can explore any topic you want related to race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. Some of the projects from our class ranged from explorations of CompHet to depictions of Disney Villains that promoted racist and ableist rhetoric. Overall very interesting and prompted great class discussion. You have the entire quarter to work on your project but most of it is outside of the course - I recommend starting early and just getting it done. At the end of the day, it seems clear that Prof. Hammer really just wants everyone to have an engaging experience and lead meaningful conversations, but her communication style (ironic for a comm class lol) is a bit confusing and her online communication often did not make a ton of sense. But, she is a lovely person and promotes a wonderful class environment. With only about 20 students, I found myself fully able to really engage in discussions and talk about a lot of deeply personal issues like body image and sexuality comfortably - the class environment was wonderful. BOTTOM LINE - go to class and put some effort in, you will be totally fine. Expect most but not all classes will take the entire 3-hour period.
This was a GREAT class and Rhonda Hammer is a TERRIFIC professor. It is combined with a mandatory lab where you learn the processes necessary to create a documentary. You work in groups of your own choosing based on documentary topics. If there is a topic you are passionate about, come to the first class with a thought out direction you would like to take. This class is very intense with much of the work coming at the very end via editing of the documentary. Rhonda's lectures and class discussions are exceptional and she has many really interesting speakers come into the class as well. To actually see your group's documentary at the final day of class makes all the hard work very worthwhile!