Green Media Syllabus Spring 2017

Time: Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:20 :: Location 112 CFA and Online :: Instructor Josephine Anstey, jransteyATbuffalo

Weekly Schedule

Course Description  

Polar bears pacing frantically on melting ice; SUVs gloriously conquering mountain terrain; post-civilization humans struggling for survival on a devastated earth: contemporary media reflects our fears and fantasies about our rapidly changing environment. This course analyzes fictional and documentary media that investigate our relationship to nature: climate change, pollution, environmental justice, wildlife extinction. The course interprets the word media broadly to include film, games, social media, media-art, big data visualization, simulation and sensing. It examines the consciousness-raising power of film, media and journalism; traces the ecological impact of our obsession with the latest media devices; and ponders the relationship between our feelings about our changing planet (denial, engagement, optimism, hopelessness) and our actions.

Upon Completion of the course student will be able to …
Instructional Method


1. Develop an understanding of media as an increasingly dominant force in society and culture.  Screenings, Interactive Media, Class Lectures, Readings, Discussion Quizzes, Journal Posts, Video Blog
2. Become familiar with contemporary environmental issues through media  Screenings, Interactive Media , Class Lectures, Readings Quizzes, Journal Posts, Video Blog
3. Develop a critical vocabulary for analysing different forms of media.  Class Lectures, Readings, Discussion Quizzes, Journal Posts, Video Blog
4. Understand the role of media in disseminating information, forming opinion and supporting science on environmental issues.  Screenings, Media Interaction, Class Lectures, Readings, Discussion Quizzes, Journal Posts, Video Blog
5. Become familiar with the approaches and vocabulary of eco-criticism. Readings, Class Lectures, Lectures, Discussion Quizzes, Journal Posts, Video Blog

Course Materials

  • This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein, 2014 (buy or available at library)
  • Excerpts: (these texts will be made available electronically): see
    • Digital Rubbish, Jennifer Gabrys, 2011
    • Green Screen: Environmentalism and Hollywood Cinema, David Ingram, 2000
    • Eco Media, Sean Cubitt, 2005
    • Ecocinema, Stephen Rust et al. editors, 2012
  • Never Alone, E-line Media (2015), available via steam, app store, google play (buy it/donate!)

Course Requirements

  • Attendance/participation are absolutely essential to this course. ALL students must view/interact with/read all weekly assignments in a timely fashion. When the class meets, students should come to class with the readings (print out or digital) and with notes (questions/comments) about the readings and about any media viewed or played that week.
  • Weekly Journal Posts: two parts: (DUE: 10 AM THURSDAYS)
    • a response to question/topic announced on Tuesdays, (100 word min, 200 word max)
    • a question/comment which addresses some issue in the week’s media and reading material – It should be the result of your thinking about the material.
    • Randomly your questions/comments will be shared with the class as part of class discussions.
  • Weekly online quizzes on material viewed/played and readings. (DUE: 12 MIDNIGHT FRIDAYS)
  • Weekly Group Video Blog, question/topic will be announced on Thursdays. Most jobs now require that you work well with others so collaborative skills are a necessity. Students will work in groups of three to script and shoot micro-videos on the question/topic. (10-30 secs). Videos will be selected at random to show to class. All videos will be made available to all class members. Inappropriate video material which in anyway violates the student code of conduct will result in F for all those involved. Code of Conduct is at (DUE: 12 MIDNIGHT MONDAYS)
  • Talk back – individuals/groups will be given opportunities to give 5 minute commentaries/rebuttals to class material – these must be rehearsed/planned not extemporary (optional and ungraded, contact instructor to arrange a talkback time)

Grading Policy

Learning assessments will be weighted according to the following break-down.

Weighting Assessment / Assignment
25% Attendance and participation
25% Quizzes
25% Journal Posts
25% Video Journals

Letter Grade/Grade Point Average/Percentage

 A  4.0 93.0% -100.00%
 A-  3.67  90.0% – 92.9%
 B+  3.33  87.0% – 89.9%
 B  3.00  83.0% – 86.9%
 B-  2.67  80.0% – 82.9%
 C+  2.33  77.0% – 79.9%
 C  2.00  73.0% – 76.9%
 C-  1.67  70.0% – 72.9%
 D+  1.33  67.0% – 69.9%
 D  1.00  60.0% – 66.9%
 F  0  59.9 or below

Course Policies


  • Attendance is mandatory, except in situations of serious emergency verified by documentation (doctor’s note, etc.).
  • You are allowed one unexcused absence for the semester.
  • All other absences will lower your final grade by one- grade-level (e.g., B+ with 1 absence = B; 2 = B-­‐, etc.). If you miss a class, you are responsible for all material missed and must submit any assignments by their assigned dates.
  • Be on Time: Class begins promptly at 11 am. It is expected as a professional courtesy to the instructor and other members of the class that you will arrive on time for each session. If lateness becomes habitual for reasons other than scheduling conflicts, you may be credited with one or more absences (3 days of late attendance = 1 absence).
  • I expect you, as adults, to be able to sit through class without leaving the room. Plan accordingly.

Missing or Late Assignments:

Every missed assignment will be registered in the online grade book (My Grades in UBL) as a 0. I will update grades promptly and as a running total, so you can track your progress throughout the semester. All entries are recorded by numerical grade according to the criteria for each assignment. All late assignments will be penalized one full letter grade for each day they are late. Even if you are absent, you are expected to keep up with coursework and to submit assignments on time. If this becomes impossible for reasons related to illness, injury, or other extenuating circumstances, please contact me as soon as possible to arrange for an alternate deadline. An alternate deadline is not guaranteed and will depend on the circumstances.

Laptop, Tablet and Cell Phone Use During Class:

Laptops, tablets and cellphones may be used to access texts or games when the class as a whole is actively engaged in a close analysis of text/game. You may also use them to take notes. Any other use of cell-phones or laptops (emailing, texting, browsing, social media) is not allowed. Close or minimize all other laptop windows to avoid distraction. Put cell phones in do not disturb mode/mute mode. Three unsanctioned use of laptop/cellphone is the equivalent of an absence.

Academic Dishonesty:

According to the University, academic dishonesty is defined as previously submitted work, plagiarism, cheating, falsification of academic materials, and misrepresentation of documents, selling academic assignments, and purchasing academic assignments.

Plagiarism is literary theft and a betrayal of trust. The term is derived from the Latin word for kidnapper and refers to the act of signing one’s own name to words, phrases, or ideas, which are the literary property of another. Plagiarism comes in many forms, all to be avoided: outright copying or disguised use of words and phrases from an unacknowledged source. This includes copying and pasting from any online source. It is also expected that all work for this course will be created originally for this course. You may not use work from previous courses, unchanged, as fulfillment of assignments in this course. To avoid Plagiarism, students are encouraged to make it their habit to put quotation marks around words and phrases, or to isolate and indent longer passages that you are using from someone else’s writing. Students may cite the source in either a footnote or endnote, or within parentheses in the text. The penalties for Plagiarism can be severe: from an F for the particular assignment, to an ‘F’ for the course and to referral for administrative judgment.

All students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the University’s academic integrity policies, available in the Undergraduate Catalog:

Criteria for Incomplete Grade:

It is the policy of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Media Study to grant incompletes for a semester only under exceptional circumstances. Under any circumstances, incompletes will be granted only to students currently in good standing (i.e., regular attendance and passing completion of assignments). Requests for a grade of incomplete need to be submitted in writing, and should include a rationale, documentation for the reason (if relevant), and a proposed schedule for completion.

Disclosure Statement:

This class will include issues of ethics, political and moral concerns. I will make every effort to advise of any content that may be disturbing.

Accessibility Resources:

If you have any disability which requires reasonable accommodations to enable you to participate in this course, please contact the Office of Accessibility Resources, 25 Capen Hall, 645-2608, and also the instructor of this course .. The office will provide you with information and review appropriate arrangements for reasonable accommodations.

Sexual harassment of employees and students, as defined at is contrary to university policy.

Other Resources:

Center for Excellence in Writing provides support for written work.


IF you are planning a student production that involves using any prop which could be interpreted to be a weapon [toy gun, BB gun, knife, etc.] AND you are planning to shoot on the UB campus or any other public place, you MUST obtain WRITTEN permission from the University Police or the equivalent authority before you shoot. If you do not, you will face serious problems, including possible expulsion from the University.