Communication Studies (CMNS) 302

Communication in History (Revision 8)

CMNS 302

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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.

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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 Learning Outcomes

After completing CMNS 302 you should be able to

  1. Understand the major developments in the history of communication technology, so that you can appreciate how innovation and institutionalization occur in different settings.
  2. Develop your ability to make comparisons among different technologies and across different cultural contexts.
  3. Apply your understanding and critical abilities to your 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
  • Unit 9: Social Media Connections


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.

Activity Grading
Assignment 1: Focused Summary 15%
Assignment 2: Comparative Analysis and Reflection 25%
Assignment 3: Learning Object 25%
Assignment 4: Term Paper 35%
Total 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

All course materials are online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you 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 about 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 challenge assignement.

Challenge Assignment Total
100% 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 8, May 11, 2021.

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