4th-hour innovation


JCM 360: Media History


David Copeland
Associate Professor - Communications

2850 Campus Box
E-mail: dcopeland@elon.edu
Phone #: (336) 278-5662
Office: McEwen Communications 216A

Student Profile:   

Typically third- and fourth-year students majoring in communications with some upperclass minors.


Understanding the impact of media and the role media play in our history is rarely realized by students. By having students interpret primary documents from the 18th and 19th centuries, they see that media were the principal place for public discussion. They also see how media helped shape the country's direction as they read primary documents that take opposing sides on events and issues.

Students learn about the 20th century through oral history assignments. They interview people about events that made a significant impact in the interviewees' lives and then research primary media documents to reinforce and expound upon what they have uncovered in the interviews.

Because war and the threat of increased war is a prime concern of students, having them compare the rhetoric of war as found in media today with the rhetoric of war found in media on the eve of the American Revolution helps them understand that Americans have faced these issues for more than 200 years.


The difficulties in planning for the exercises above are based in adequate primary sources. Elon does not have a large collection of sources. As a result, the instructor, for the first and third innovation above, had to collect the sources, digitize them and make them available to all the students.

Project information: