Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication

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The group presentations are designed: a) to teach you about theory by having you in groups actively
explain and demonstrate theories to your peers; b) to give you the opportunity to use your oral
communication skills to demonstrate your learning, and c) to help you develop your ability to work
effectively in groups.
During the 2nd discussion section, you will be divided into groups of 3 or 4 students each. Be sure you
and your group members exchange names, phone numbers, and email addresses with each other, as well
as provide your TA with a copy of this information.
There will be about five or six groups per discussion section. Each group will do two presentations (one
before the midterm and one after). The presentations will be given during section, on the dates listed in
the “section schedule” portion of the course syllabus.
Each group must choose one theory to cover in each presentation. Your group must choose from the list
of theories we are covering in lecture and/or reading before or during the week you are doing your
presentation (i.e., persuasion or media effects theories must be chosen for the first presentations,
whereas interpersonal or group theories must be chosen for the second presentation). No two groups in
the same discussion section may present the same theory.
Each presentation should last no more than ten (10) minutes, plus another five (5) minutes for Q&A time
(or 15 minutes total if Q&A is incorporated throughout the presentation). Your job is to explain and
enliven the theory for your classmates. You should NOT merely restate/repeat lecture or readings, but
instead select 3 or 4 key points about the theory and bring them to life. Reading from a script is not
usually very helpful (how many professors’ lectures keep your attention when they do that?). Some
potentially successful ways to present concepts are skits and enactments, posters or other visual aids,
stories or personal anecdotes, in-depth exemplars, good discussion with your audience, handouts, etc.
However, you should also remember that it’s not necessarily the “flashiest” presentations that get the
best grades (technology over substance is a bad strategy), but the best grades are for presentations that
really get the points across clearly and vividly! You are strongly encouraged to find sources outside of
class lecture and reading/textbook to help you explain concepts in new and interesting ways.
Your TA will grade your presentations on a 10-point scale, and the same grade will be given to all
members of the group. Thus, your group needs to work together to produce a coherent group effort (as
opposed to having members each read their separate parts in succession!). Be sure also to practice your
presentation as a group – you need to fit a lot of info a very small time frame! You will be graded on
how well your group:
a) selects important facets of the theory to present;
b) presents info clearly & accurately;
c) gives good examples or demonstrations;
d) uses unique info (not just repeats lecture/text);
e) coordinates group members & shows creativity;
f) provides useful materials (where appropriate).

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