Communication Studies (CMNS) 302

Communication in History (Revision 6)

CMNS 302

Revision 6 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

View previous version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies home page

Télé-université du Québec equivalency: COM 2000.

CMNS 302 has a Challenge for Credit option.

check availability


CMNS 302 is one of three foundation courses for the Bachelor of Professional Arts (Communication Studies) degree program. It follows the interactions between media and society in a number of technological contexts: oral and literate cultures, manuscript and print cultures, electric and electronic cultures.

The course surveys the development of communication technology and introduces some important scholarly debates about those technologies. In so doing, it tries to establish the notion that the history of communication technology is as much about ideas and practices as it is about events and things.

Course Objectives

Communication in History is intended to accomplish the following objectives:

  1. Understanding: introduce major developments in the history of communication technology so that students can understand how innovation and institutionalization occur in different settings.
  2. Comparative analysis: develop students’ ability to compare and contrast different technologies across different cultural contexts.
  3. Application: apply understanding and critical abilities to professional practice through the study of debates and practices in the field.


  • Unit 1: Introduction: Technology and Society
  • Unit 2: Literacy and Orality: A Debate
  • Unit 3: Scribal Culture into Print
  • Unit 4: The Wired and Wireless World
  • Unit 5: Image Technologies and the Emergence of Mass Society
  • Unit 6: Radio: The People’s Medium
  • Unit 7: TV Times
  • Unit 8: The Age of Information and Disinformation


To receive credit for CMNS 302, you must complete all assignments and obtain a minimum composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The chart below summarizes the course activities and the credit weight associated with each assignment.

Journals (8x5% each) Short Assignment 1 Short Assignment 2 Term Paper Total
40% 15% 15% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Note: Weighting in grouped-study offerings may be altered to accommodate a classwork component.

Course Materials

Most of the course materials for CMNS 302 are available online through the myAU portal. There is a Reading File and a DVD, and these will be sent to you before your course start date.

McLuhan’s Wake. Produced by Primitive Entertainment in Co-production with the National Film Board of Canada and in association with TV Ontario, 2005. (See Course News and Announcements Forum in the course for viewing information.)

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the CMNS 302 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Take home exam Exam Total
50% 50% 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 6, June 12, 2012.

View previous syllabus