FINAL QUIZ (# 5) – Course Reflection

Posted: November 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hi All,

Your 5th and last quiz will take place here on the blog. I simply want you you write a few reflections on the class as a whole, including:

1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.

2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.

3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.

4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).

This kind of more specific feedback will help me if I teach this class again.

Please post your quiz answer as a comment to this post.

Due by the last class next week, late quizes will not be accepted.

  1. Holly Thornton says:

    Holly Thornton:

    1.-My favourite readings this term were definitely the readings on fashion, hunger, and consumption in week eight. I really liked how Susan Bordo (“Hunger as Ideology”) talked about the ways that women and men relate to food advertisements. I found it interesting when she talked about the ‘hyperreal’ images that suggest unrealistic beauty ideals. I found a lot of connections to this reading that related to some of my other Communication Studies classes, and I always appreciate seeing the connection.

    2. My favourite topic we discussed in class this term was the discussion of consumption and when we talked about hauling videos. This was something I had never heard about before, and was honestly shocked that the idea of a ‘haul’ could be something that sparked a huge You-Tube sensation, and that would result in many young girls profiting from.

    3. I can’t really think of any additional topics that I would also have liked to have covered, but I would have liked to talk a bit more in depth about new forms of social media, and their role in advertising (such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.)

    4. I definitely thought this class was an interesting one, and really appreciated the blog component of the course. Rather than simply answering discussion questions on MyLS, it forced me to make real life connections to the readings, and to the course content in general. I found myself more engaged in the class because of the blog, and really enjoyed seeing other student’s responses!

  2. cs341blog says:

    Sean McAlary

    1. One of my favourite readings this term was probably Malcolm Gladwell’s reading “the coolhunt”. I would never have believed that finding trends was an actual profession, and just how quickly trends change today was astounding. One of my least favourite readings was Fiske’s “shopping for pleasure”. This reading talked about women shopping habit’s, relating women’s shopping power to the power of a man. I feel it was a little sexist and the views were a bit out of date.

    2. My favourite topic this term, and probably my favourite topic throughout all communication courses was that on commodity fetishism, and our belief that we need certain commodities such as a pair of Nike shoes in order to feel accepted. I related the concept to Macklemore’s “WING$” video/song, and have personally always been interested in the subject. I wonder if we’ll ever stop putting this ‘special’ value on items and see them just for the product they are: “just another pair of shoes”.

    3. I did ask at the beginning of the course if we would be doing any hands on work with advertisements, such as creating our own. I know this is the difference between university and college: the theory vs. the hands on but I still think it could have been cool to apply our knowledge in our own advertisements.

    4. Overall I think this was a great course. The blog structure was so much easier to navigate as oppose to my other class blogs, and I enjoyed reading/watching clips on people’s posts. You did a great job stimulating our interest in advertising throughout the semester and I really enjoyed the course!

  3. Marina Spalla says:

    Marina Spalla:

    1. My favourite reading this semester was the Fiske reading on mall culture, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. I thought that this was the most interesting reading because I found it to be the most relatable. I love to shop, and going into a mall I definitely buy into a lot of what’s going on there.

    2. My least favourite topic in this course was the topic on Green Consumerism and Voluntary Simplicity. I didn’t like it only because I don’t really know much about green consumerism, and it is not necessarily a topic that is of any interest to me. My favourite topic was the topic of Culturejamming, because I think it was really interesting to look at advertisements in a different way and realize the “true” meaning behind it.

    3. I think it would’ve been interesting to learn about how advertisements are created, and the thought process behind making an advertisement.

    4. If we looked more into actual ads and like really picked apart advertisements and truly understood the thought process behind how the ad was made – as related to our weekly topic – I think that would be really cool and interesting!

  4. Colin P says:

    1. My favourite reading in the course was “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” by John Fiske. I really enjoyed this reading because it is something that almost all people have experienced, just put into a formal context. It was very interesting studying about something that I could personally relate to, especially in an academic context. Further, the use of metaphors (malls as cathedrals for consumption) was very interesting, and took a different angle that I had never thought of before.

    2. My favourite topic was Fashion, Hunger, and Consumption. I really enjoyed this topic because it is incredibly relevant to pop culture today. I am doing a minor in Psychology, where we have touched on the biological and mental processes around hunger and consumption. Looking at the root of this issue from an advertising angle was very interesting to me, and gave me another perspective towards understanding the problem.

    3. It would have been interesting if we also covered the increasing role of the Internet in advertising. I know we touched on this, however it would have been cool to look at social media, especially YouTube and the ways that our own life experiences can be both advertised on, and advertisements themselves.

    4. Overall, I enjoyed how the class was structured. I liked that we could hand in the reflections at any time, which let me write about things I was passionate about and was able to understand with relative ease. Also, I liked the use of the blog as a medium for participation grades and as a teaching tool. It was really cool how you used our own examples in class, as this was a highlight for me.

  5. Brad Bowen says:

    1. My favourite reading was definitely “The Coolhunt” by Malcolm Gladwell. I am already a huge fan of Gladwell and his numerous publications because of his unique and interesting style of writing and issues he typically writes about. I particularly liked this reading because I not only had no idea coolhunters existed, but the process they go through by interviewing and studying styles and behaviours to determine the latest trends is a fascinating study of society. In addition, it was a breath of fresh air compared to most reading you do in other courses, as this one was inherently interesting and ongoing in our modern day society. I really enjoyed the majority of the readings for the class, but this one was my favourite.

    2. My favourite topic in the course was sexism and racism in advertising. The advertising industry often uses sexist or racial advertisements that are targeted towards a certain party and I think it is truly important we explore this area of the advertising industry. For example, I often overlooked cleaning product advertisements and the heavy marketing they aim towards women and the importance it is to dissect these issues and see why advertisers perform these methods, and what rules does the government regulate on these advertisements. I found this whole topic to be very interesting.

    3. I would have liked to learn about more of the process of advertising and how they are created. Getting a little more in-depth about the creation of advertising would have been interesting, and discuss more tactics that they use to influence society.

    4. Overall I thought the course had excellent structure. I particularly enjoyed the short writings because it didn’t handcuff you into studying one specific subject, rather, you could choose amongst a variety of subjects to write on of your choice. This way, you are always writing about something you have interest in and not a topic you are forced to write on. I also liked the group discussions in class, I feel like it generated great conversation about the topic while getting to connect with others in class.

    Brad Bowen

  6. Carla Q says:

    Carla Quiroz

    1. One of my favourite readings was “Hunger as an Ideology” Bordo discussed, the fascination with the perfection of slender bodies in the media. I found that this reading was very easy to relate to as a female who constantly see’s various advertisements telling readers how to loose weight. Although this article was written in 1993, I think hunger, as an ideology is more prevalent now than ever before. The media is targeting young girls as their market now, and constantly making them feel insecure, and self-conscious about their looks, and bodies. They are being told to learn to control their weight, and are offered a variety of different tips and tricks to begin now.

    2. My favourite topic was “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance. I also felt that this reading was relatable as a consumer. Fiske discussed the many uses of shopping malls, and how it gives power to women, addressing women as consumers and men as producers. After lecture, and doing this weeks reading I looked at shopping and malls, in a different perspective. I also enjoyed how Fiske studied that class markers are found in the location of shops, are spatial metaphors for social relations. Also, i enjoyed the blog quiz task to go shopping to a mall and make a comment on the blog relating your shopping experience to the Fiske text on shopping.

    3. I think we covered a great variety of advertising, but I would have like to discuss advertising in relation to social media as that is very prevalent in our society today.

    4. Overall, I enjoyed the structure of this course including the Blog postings. I found it to be a very creative way to earn participation marks and found it very interesting and entertaining to read other classmates posting on the topic of each week, including various images, or videos. I also enjoyed the flexibility of the short writing pieces and being able to choose what topic to write about based on what interests you.

  7. Alyssa L says:

    Alyssa L

    1. My favourite reading from this course was “Culture Jamming” by Kalle Lasn. I liked the idea of challenging the dominant version of things and stepping outside of the box. It was cool to read something that challenged consumer capitalism today and to ‘shock the system’ by changing things. For example, I find spoof ads extremely interesting in that they make the consumer think twice. Such as using a regular guy to advertise a company that usually uses extremely fit men to show that it isn’t reality.

    2. My favourite topic in this course is when we talked about how toys can be targeted to specific genders. According to advertisements, girls are suppose to play with the newest barbie or polly pocket and boys are suppose to play with race cars. I think it was interesting to try to remember our favourite toys. It is also interesting to see how may toys we all had in common because they were considered the coolest thing at the time.

    3. I don’t think there is any other additional topics I would have wanted to discuss in this class. If anything I am interested in how advertisements are created but that isn’t exactly what this course is about.

    4. I liked not having a midterm and writing the short writings instead because I could actually build connections with other readings. I also really enjoyed the blog posts we had to do every week because allows you to be engaged with the material every week.

  8. Timothy Knight says:

    1. Over the twelve weeks of the course I really enjoyed many of the readings, but the reading that I most enjoyed was “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. This article by Fiske really opened up my eyes to see the true culture of shopping malls. I love how he compared shopping to religion, as I am a very religious person and thoroughly enjoyed that comparison. My least favourite reading of the course was “The Culture Industry” by Horkheimer and Adorno since I found it very dry and theoretical.

    2. My favourite topic of the course came from culture jamming. Until you introduced us to this concept, I had never heard or even seen an idea portrayed in this way. When we had to do our Quiz #4 on a culture jamming advertisement, it took me an hour or two to find one since I was fascinated by all the different culture jamming ads that had been created. My least favourite topic of the course was when we talked about “Hunger as Ideology” since I found it very distributing when the class was shown that 10 minute Youtube video of the “recovering” anorexic girl that portrayed her life around smoking cigarettes and only consuming 500 calories a day.

    3. A topic that I thought would have been great to cover is promotional strategies in advertising. For example, after sale techniques or customer appreciation techniques.

    4. I found the structure of the course to be spot on, since it allowed me as a student to dip my feet into many topics surrounding advertising. I liked how you implemented the blog as well since it gave me a better understanding of the topics we were talking about through real life examples.

  9. cs341blog says:

    Julia Seidel

    1. My Favourite reading was The Dependence Effect by Galbraith because it really made me think about that fact that we ourselves as the consumers are producing demand to make production increase when my original thought was that the industry creates these wants and voids. My least favourite reading was Marx’s about commodity fetishism because I found the writing style hard to understand. I do, however, understand that this is a topic that needs to be discussed in comm.
    2. My favourite topic was probably discussing brand identities and how people create an image of themselves through this. This was interesting because it is something that I can relate to, buying many brand name things myself, and because the hauling videos were entertaining to watch. My least favourite topic was that of voluntary simplicity because I found it very unrealistic.
    3. I would have liked to look at udner the radar advertising, and more about how we are being targeted as consumers without our knowledge. It would have also been interesting to further explore the way in which women are portrayed in the media (sexualized and objectified) and look at some examples.
    4. Overall, I really enjoyed the course. I like your teaching style. You have a good variety between lecturing and discussion, and showing video clips and doing activities makes the class more enjoyable. I thought it was good that we covered modern examples and topics because then it is more relevant to society today (plus I hate history). 3 hour lectures can often be tough to endure and I easily lose concentration and interest. You did a good job of keeping me interested and also gaging whether the class was getting tired or overwhelmed with information and letting us go early. I think splitting up the reading response due dates was smart, helped me with time management and taught me not to leave things for the last minute.

  10. cs341blog says:

    Lindsay Orr

    1. I really liked the reading “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” because it is something easily relatable and we can see it in an every day context. I thought the idea of proletarian shopping was interesting, how people go to the mall, not necessarily with the intention of buying anything, but to just have a look around. I also thought the “Black Barbie and Deep Play of Difference” was another of my favourite readings. I just found it so interesting because when I was younger, I used to play with Barbies. Before doing this reading, I didn’t know Mattel created “black Barbie” and I found it interesting to read why they created it. Also I hadn’t realized the whole ideology Mattel had in creating the dolls in general, as they were to resemble women for young girls to look up to and want to be like.

    2. I thought culture jamming and trendspotting/coolhunting were two really interesting topics discussed in class. I hadn’t really seen any culture jamming ads before, or maybe I just never noticed the ads were “culture jamming”. I found it interesting to watch the video on how trends start, and how people actually go searching for people who are wearing something unique that isn’t mainstream.

    3. I’m not sure of any topics that I would’ve liked to have been covered. I would have maybe liked to analyze advertisements a bit more and how we take ads in. Also maybe if we had covered, like everyone else has suggested, the role of advertisements in social media. That would have been interesting.

    4. I really enjoyed this class, it was by far my favourite communications class I have taken thus far. I liked the blogpost responses because it was interesting looking for the advertisements to post and to relate it back to something we had learned in the course. I also liked the fact that we had 4 essays to do relating to the reading for a particular week because it actually forced me to do all of the readings for the class and it allowed me to write on the readings that I found the most interesting. I also loved taking time in the class to watch video clips about topics we were discussing that week, as well as looking at different advertisements and relating them to something from the readings.

  11. Saul Lewis says:

    1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite reading was definitely the cool hunt, I thought it was extremely interesting to read about how fashion trends are discovered and created. It was really easy to understand as it discussed how cool hunting was practically done not just the theoretical aspect behind it.

    2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite topic had to be both culture jamming and cool hunting/trend spotting. I had seen culture-jamming examples many times before but never really studied it and I though this was really cool. I like the trend spotting and cool hunting topic because I think it is something extremely applicable to modern society, especially going if I plan on going into a profession like PR.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.
    I would shave liked to look more into how advertisers target their audiences and what constitutes a successful ad. Maybe even had a project where we have to come up with an advertisement idea. Social media has become a large part of our society so maybe learning how advertising companies market through social media would have been interesting as well. It would have been cool to take a more modern look on advertising.

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).
    I liked the idea of the short writings, it allowed me to keep up with the readings and when I found one especially interesting I would write about it. Blog posts were great because it follows with the idea of communication and allowed me to see what other people were thinking as well.

  12. Nicole Morphy says:

    1. My favorite reading was likely Malcom Gladwell’s article, “The Coolhunt.” I had never realized that following and predicting trends was an actual profession. I also find the changing trends very interesting so seeing another’s perspective was very stimulating for me.

    2. My favorite topic to discuss was the topic of shopping for pleasure by John Fiske. This reading and topic is very relatable for many students due to the fact that many of us find ourselves at the mall frequently. I also enjoyed discussing hauling and the youtube videos created about hauling. It shocked me how popular these videos are and the amount of money these “haulers” make by promoting specific products.

    3. I think it would have been great if there was more hands on activities. For example, working with real ads or even developing our own advertisements with the application of specific theories. It would have given us a chance to use what we learned other than in a paper.

    4. I liked the construction of the course and the fact that there were no exams because it let us use the theories and knowledge from the course in assignments rather than memorize specific facts. I also really liked the flexibility of the reading responses and blog posts. Overall I enjoyed your teaching style and the balance between lecturing, class discussion and activities.

  13. Hilary M says:

    1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite reading from this course has to be “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” by Fiske. I myself love shopping and found this reading to be the one that had the strongest relation to me personally. Fiske’s use of metaphors really helped me understand his points more clearly. I found it very interesting to be able to understand malls and shopping from a different view then when I myself go there for leisure.

    2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite topic of the course was sexism and racism in advertising. I have always been interested and find myself looking at these ads more critically than ever before. In our culture it’s almost inevitable to not be exposed to these types of ads so I enjoyed being able to discuss them in lecture. It’s interesting to see how mundane the use of sexuality and racism has become.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.
    It would have been interesting to look more in depth at target markets of advertising.

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).
    I always found myself interested by the topics we discussed but would have loved to have more activities or as opposed to just the short writings. I also found the blog to be really helpful in further understanding the readings. If you were having trouble grasping a concept or idea you could look at endless examples of it on the site.

  14. Haley Allen says:

    1.) My favorite reading completed in this course was Duane Elgin’s Voluntary Simplicity and the New Global Challenge. I found this reading extremely interesting as it was from a very different perspective from the other readers we have done within the course. Many of the earlier readings either praised consumer culture or critiqued it, with little focus on a solution or alternative means of living. I also enjoyed this reading because it mirrors the way in which I could like to live my life.
    2.) My favorite topic that was discussed in this class was “Consumption, Commercialization, Consumerism, Commodity Fetishism.” Commodification and mass production in a capitalist society is something that I find extremely interesting therefore I truly enjoyed learning about it.
    3.) Rather than a new topic that I think would be great to cover, I think it would be exceptionally beneficial if the green consumer topic was given greater emphasis and importance as it seems to be a great solution for all of the problems addressed within the other readings. I think it would be beneficial to not only critique consumerism but also to have a greater focus on what can be done to change things and how green consumerism can be undertaken.
    4.) Overall, I truly enjoyed this course and I felt as though it helped me gain a lot of knowledge in various aspects of communication. From political economy to race and gender I feel that the breadth of the course was exceptional. I also really enjoyed the break down of the course. With something as analytical as critical advertising studies, I feel as if a midterm would not accurately test a students knowledge and understanding of the topic. I think the short writings are a great way for us to truly show how much we understand the readings and I really enjoyed writing them and drawing connections between the various articles. Rather than just memorizing material, these short writings forced me to draw connections and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts at hand. I also enjoyed the short writings and the “pop quizzes” because it forced me to keep up with my readings each week and I truly believe that helped me get a lot more out of the course. Rather than merely reading for the purpose of memorizing for a final, I was forced to expand on the topics and truly learn more about them through applying them.

  15. 1. My favourite reading for this course was “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” by Fiske and the “TheCool Hunt” by Gladwell. I found both of these readings to be interesting, and very relateable. My least favourite reading was Marx’s, as I found it hard to understand. I think that the more relateable the topic is, it is easier to enjoy and understand.

    2. My favourite topic that was dicussed in class was culture jamming and trendspotting/coolhunting. I don’t think that I had ever come across a “culture jammed” ad before, and it was really interesting to look at a whole bunch of examples and analyze them.

    3. I can’t really think of another topic that would have been great for us to have covered. I thought the content was all quite interetsting, and allowed us to gain a broad understanding of advertising. However, it might have been interesting to take a more modern approach to some of the topics and look at ads through social media, ect.

    4. Overall, I really liked and enjoyed structure of this course – I thought that the blog was a really different take on “discussion posts” and it was nice to be able to post whatever we wanted. It was also really helpful to turn to the blog if I was having a hard time understanding something or wanted to see some more examples. I also really liked the short reading assignments, instead of one or two very large papers. All in all, I really liked your teaching style, I never dreaded coming to your class (some other communication classes/professors are so boring and dry, aha) and I will be looking to take another course from you in the future!

  16. 1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite reading was Dick Hebdige’s piece, “Object as Image: The Italian Scooter Cycle.” I found it an enjoyable read and established a general understanding of how modern advertising emerged in different cultures, to which many of the readings built on. By using the specific example of the scooter and all of the various components contributing to it’s popularity and socially-constructed meaning, Hedbige prompts us to think about advertising as a major power in our lives.

    2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.
    I really enjoyed the discussions about race and advertising. In terms of toys, ads, and popular culture as a whole, I had never really considered the discrepencies in available products or the associated messages. Learning that black children would rather play with the white Barbie doll, and about how some racism is seen as acceptable, such as indirect stereotypes about Natives or Mexicans, show us the necessity in reflecting on the messages ads send and noticing any potentially detrimental effects.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.
    Although probably a bit of a dry subject, I would have been interested in learning a bit more about the policies and regulations around advertising; if there have been any initiatives to protect children from manipulative messages or about corporations making any false claims about their products. I know corporations have a huge stake in political policy, but I wonder if there are clear standards about what is considered appropriate or offensive.

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).
    I love the blog component offered in this course. I am not one to speak out in class very often, and this has often penalized me in the past when it comes to participation marks. I have also been in classes for participation that do not take attendance, and I doubt a professor could remember every instance people participated throughout the course. By keeping track of attendance and blog posts, this course has a record of your participation, taking the ambiguity out of it. I really enjoyed the structure of the class, too. Having the short writings due before class allowed you to understand material in lecture and get a lot more out of the discussion. It also allowed you to do work when it suited your schedule, while most other courses have few opportunities throughout the semester for grading besides more heavily weighted exams.

  17. cs341blog says:

    Meagan Smith

    1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.

    My favourite reading was Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Coolhunt”. This reading was my favourite because the concept of the cool hunt was new to me. I had no idea that a job like this existed in the world, and I found it really interesting to read and learn about. I only wish there was a more modern day example of the cool hunt, although it was really neat to learn about Reebok and the high end brands of the times, I think it would be really interesting to learn about the cool hunt for modern day brands making the concept even more relatable.

    2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.

    My favourite topic was about sexism and racism in advertising. I have always been really interested in the ways in which we portray beauty and the ideal within society. Having a lecture on this topic allowed me to explore these interest even more. Actually the critique of ads is what got me interested in communication studies in the first place, and I find the more I move on in the major the more I learn ways to critique what is produced in the media.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.

    I believe that it would have been really interesting if we had been assigned to critique ads ourselves. As if each week we had to critique an ad through the theme that we were learning. However, I did really like that we had to do the blog post each week. I really liked seeing what others posted and reading about their views on the weeks topic.

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).

    Overall I really enjoyed this course. I believe the structure was perfect for what we were learning. I really liked the blog post as said above, and I also liked doing the four responses. I found it as a really good way to engage yourself with the material you were reading. The main thing that I really liked through out the course was how it was mostly about students responses and opinions on the things we were learning. Through the class discussions, course blog, and the responses, I found it as a really good atmosphere for this type of course topic.

  18. Laura Gilbertson says:

    Laura Gilbertson:

    1. The reading which I enjoyed the most in this course was “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance” by Fiske. I enjoyed it because I could relate many of the themes in it to the previous communication, as well as women studies, courses that I have taken. I reading that I did not enjoy as much was “Conspicuous Consumption” by Velben. This is because the language used in the essay made its points seem very repetitive and redundant. Though I did not enjoy reading it, I enjoyed its themes and concepts when we unpacked it in lecture.

    2. My favourite topic in the course was cool-hunting and what makes something cool. I thought it was a very interesting topic to investigate, as there is no set definition of what is cool, but rather different ideologies, while this made it difficult to discuss and label, it opened up room for debate over how to define cool, what is cool, and the longevity at which it remains cool.

    3. I would have liked to learn about the structure of advertising, and the technical aspects of why ads are formatted the way that they are, with their images and text.

    4. Overall I really enjoyed the format of the class! I thought that the reading journals were good incentive to actually do the readings. I also really enjoyed the blog as it gave us an opportunity to interact with our classmates, as well as with media and advertising that was interesting to ourselves, and acted as a venue to voice our opinions and interpretations of the course content.

  19. Victoria Gee says:

    1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.

    My favourite reading was Goldman and Papson’s “Advertising in the Age of Accelerated Meaning.” Understanding commodity signs (the mechanics for constructing and deconstructing them) was useful in comprehending consequent material in class. My least favourite reading was Holt’s “Does Cultural Capital Structure American Consumption?” This was a difficult (and seemingly long) read for me. Even after lecture, I still do not feel comfortable explaining what culture capital is and how it is determined.

    2.Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why?

    My least favourite topic was cultural capital and taste. I thought the readings were very dry and complicated. I definitely understood the topic better after lecture but I would not feel comfortable explaining it to somebody. Other than that, I really enjoyed all the topics. The readings were stimulating and the lectures brought them to life.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.

    I can’t think of anything too great. It would be fun if we looked specifically at commodity signs and deciphered them or even if we had an opportunity to create our own (for a quiz or something of the sort).

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).

    I thought the structure of the course was great! I liked how we only had to submit four short writings versus every week. This allowed me the opportunity to write in depth about topics that stimulated my interest the most. Meanwhile, the blog was a great way to keep myself engaged in the weeks I chose not to write a full response. It was also neat to see what some of the other students had to say. Sometimes I forgot that reading quizzes/learning activities were a component of grading. I would have liked to see something more with this. It could be fun too. For example, design your own commodity sign and present it to the class. Although, I understand that with a larger class these kinds of things are difficult.

  20. Alison Catalano says:

    1. My favorite reading in the course was the last one by Elgin. I felt it was a really great reading to sum up the course and what we learned. Also it was really different take to understanding consumer, but also more than that about living a more conscious life instead of passive.

    2. Two of my favorite topics were back to back, Materialism and Need, and Fashion, Hunger, and Consumption. For myself they really tied together well, and a lot can be said about it through the analysis of advertising and image.

    3. I think you covered all the topics in advertising I wanted to talk about except maybe look into subliminal messaging in advertising! I think it could tie in well with other topics we have covered in the course. However, I really like Victoria Gee’s comment about looking for more into commodity signs and maybe creating our own for a quiz!

    4. I really enjoyed the structure of the class, I felt you did really well staying on schedule and making every class interesting and engaging. It was nice that you appealed to all learning styles by incorporating movies, class discussion, lecturing, and group activities. Finally, by having reading assignments it really helped with the final essay!

  21. Kate C says:

    Kate C

    Quiz #5
    1. My favorite readings throughout this semester were from the week of October 21st, Conspicuous Consumption. I found that both John Fiske and Thorstein Veblen’s articles brought light onto a topic that I had not thought much of. In particular, Fiske writes about the empowerment of women in malls. “Where women can be public, empowered, and free, and can occupy roles other than those demanded by the nuclear family” (Fiske, 311). It is an interesting and eye opening way to look at female consumption. We often just speak of advertisements targeting women, or objectifying them, but rarely speak about malls attempting to empower them in order for them to consume more.

    2. My favorite topic was Sexism and Racism in Advertising. It is no secret that advertisements often stigmatize gender and race. What I find the most interesting, is the fact that it continues to happen. It is interesting to look into the changes throughout the history of advertising, from when women were literally always in the home, to now when they are out of the home, but often still targeted for cleaning supplies and products along these lines.

    3. There were a lot of topics covered that were extremely interesting, especially to look at them in a more critical manner. My only addition to the course would be to add spoof/ parody along with the culture jamming section. I believe that because our culture has come to remixing, and creating your own aspect of previously created cultural ideas, it is interesting to look at how some of these advertisements have been altered to poke fun at the company. They can also be seen within films or TV episodes, commenting on consumer and capitalist culture by turning it into a joke.

    4. The structure of the course was unique to most other courses. It really made us keep up with our readings, and actually understand what they were about. Although for the blog posts, in my opinion it would be better if you did not have to post once a week. I think, like the quizzes, it would have been a bit better if we had a smaller amount, but would have to write more. It is not a very big change because the blog posts were allowing us to make connections to class and society, but just fewer and more detailed would force us to give the post more thought.

  22. Charlotte Bullock says:

    Charlotte Bullock – Quiz #5

    1. I really enjoyed Gladwell’s reading “The Cool Hunt.” This topic wasn’t something I had heard anything about in other communications classes.This was nice because I’m finding a lot of the content overlaps between classes. In addition, I found this article looked into an area of consumer industries that I didn’t even know existed. I had never put much thought into where exactly trends came from, and after reading and discussing this topic I see trends in a new way. There were a few readings that I didn’t enjoy, mainly because they were very long, dense and hard to understand. Some examples are Horkiemer and Adorno’s ” The culture Industry” and Marx’s “commodity fetishism” article. Although these articles held crucial concepts and ideas they were both tough to understand and get through.

    2. My favourite topic was week 9’s “Fashion, Hunger and consumption.” I think we touched upon some very important and sensitive areas with regards to women, body image and the media. This is something that I really am interested and passionate about and this week provided me with some different perspectives on the issue. I didn’t like the discussion on the Culture Industry as it was just kind of dry and a bit complicated.

    3. We covered a lot of interesting material in this class that has made me look at advertisements very differently. There are two things that I might of liked to talk about however. One is subliminal or under the radar messages presented in advertisements. The second would be maybe going over the technical aspects of how ad agencies actually go about creating ads and ad campaigns.

    4. Overall I really enjoyed this course. I found that it really inspired me and helped me look critically at advertisements even outside of class. The structure of this class was also unique to many of my other classes. I think the discussions and blog posts were a great way to ensure students keep up with readings and stay on track. In addition, I loved the open, discussion based structure to our lectures. It made it very easy to participate and it was always interesting to hear from other students.I also enjoyed how you integrated videos and showed us relevant examples of many often older and confusing concepts .The one thing I found tricky was remembering to post in the blog every week, I don’t know if theres any way to help with this however.

  23. cs341blog says:

    Brianna Hill – Quiz #5

    1. My favourite reading was DuCille’s, “Black Barbie and the Deep Play of Difference”. This was my favourite reading because growing up Barbie doll was my favourite toy. Therefore, being able to step back and analyze and understand some of the controversies with the ideologies behind Barbie were really interesting to see.

    2. My favourtie topic was sexism and racism in advertising because it was fascinating to be able to see actual under the radar examples of sexism and racism in advertising and not just talk about it with outdated theorists. For example, The Friedan article on the Sexual Sell was really interesting as it is true how suppliers actually do convince women they need to be this balanced housewife to be the heroic mom, although subliminally the balanced housewife is just the housewife who will buy the most products.

    3. I would have liked to cover some more techniques modern advertisers use to sell products because I feel we mostly studied patterns in consumption. Taking a deeper look in the production side would have been cool to see what makes an ad successful or kind of like discovering the science behind advertising.

    4. I really liked the structure of the course, as it is different from the standard midterm, term paper and final exam structure. I feel the standard structure does not accurately prove a student’s understanding of course material as two tests and one big paper is not a fair way to assess twelve weeks of learning material. I feel the four writing summaries or short essays contributed more to my learning because we were able to focus and write about many topics opposed to being just told to memorize all course material and then get tested and write about on only a couple of topics. Furthermore, I thought the course blog was a cool concept because not only did it encourage us to do the weekly readings, but gave us a chance to relate it and then share with others the real and current stuff that is going on in the world helping to further understand sometimes complex concepts.

    Brianna Hill

  24. Michael Kiehn says:

    1. My favorite reading of the year was ‘The Coolhunt’ by Malcolm Gladwell. The reading itself was fascinating, and I appreciate his other work as well.
    2. My favorite topic was Materialism and Need, it helped me understand how the ‘new era of consumption’ emerged and how North Americans create need and stimulate the golden arrow of consumption.
    3. I would have liked to look at specific advertisements and tried to identify some of the theories that we learned within the course. Although this is not a completely separate topic it would just help to ground all of the topics into a real world example at the end of the term.

  25. cs341blog says:

    Nick Mendes – Quiz 5

    1. My least favorite reading would have to be the Bourdieu reading “The Aesthetic Sense as the Sense of Distinction”. The reason for this is that I found it very hard to understand and had to read it numerous times asking for assistance from many peers who also found it confusing. I believe that this article could have been written in the vernacular language summed up in 2 paragraphs and felt like it was extremely long for the concept in which Bourdieu was attempting to explain.
    2. My favorite topic would have to be the lecture about Haul videos. This was something I had never heard of and was interesting to see how people post videos bragging about, and to some extent selling the products for free. I think companies must enjoy this type of online video because for them it is free advertising and people don’t even realize they are doing it.
    3. I would have liked to talk a bit more on what the future of advertising on televisions looks like. Ways to get around people with DVR’s, skipping advertisements, etc. This is an important topic because ads are the only ways in which most tv shows are funded, and with people skipping ads, advertisers may pull their efforts to fund programming. We could have talked about ways around this ie; interactive advertisements, ads that are in the form of product placement like the television show (the Crazy Ones), or other alternatives people could come up with.
    4. I liked the course blog because you are able to see what other people are posting and its an interesting way to learn. We spend most of our time online and it was nice being able to post on the blog every week and have it count towards our grade. I also enjoyed viewing other peoples posts and seeing what they found for that week.

    Nick Mendes

  26. cs341blog says:

    Alicia McCarron- quiz #5
    1. My favourite reading in this class was Juliet B. Schor’s “Towards a New Politics Of Consumption”. I found this reading to be extremely relatable, and an interesting way to look at the different reasons people spend their money, and the material items that they spend them on. The reading I enjoyed the least was Marx’s “Commodity Fetishism”. While it is an interesting topic, I find Marx’s readings very dull and wordy.
    2. My favourite topic was from week 4 when we discussed the culture industry. I have had to read “The Culture Industry” by Horkheimer and Adorono in multiple classes now, but had never understood it in the way that we discussed it in lecture. I found the class discussion we had about what makes something art to be very interesting, as well as the video we watched later on, “Art & Copy.” Art and Copy is definitely the most interesting movie I have watched in a lecture. It forces you to look at advertising in the eyes of the advertiser, instead of ours, the consumer.
    3. I would have liked to focus more on advertising in social media. I think that advertising is becoming a large part of social media and it could have been interesting to dive further into that topic.
    4. I thoroughly enjoyed the content and structure of this course. I think that the blog is a great way for people to be able to participate, as many students (myself included) have a difficult time volunteering in class. The 4 short writings force you to stay on top of your work, but gives you a little wiggle room if you are swamped in one week. The lectures were engaging and the videos were all interesting, unlike a lot of other comm classes. Thanks for a good year!

  27. Chantelle M says:

    Chantelle Morgan – Quiz #5

    1) My favourite reading was definitely “Conspicuous Consumption” by Veblen. I believe this is because though it is so blatently obvious after reading it, the idea of consuming goods to display’s one economic status is sometimes overlooked in terms of social comparisons. I also thought that though it was written in 1899, it is extremely relevant to patterns of consumption in today’s materialistic culture. Though Marx’s reading would be considered my least favourite reading simply due to his dull writing style, I do believe the information as well to be extremely relatable to today’s society as he is a brilliant theorist.

    2) My favourite topic would be ‘The Coolhunt’ by Gladwell. I took a very interesting approach to understanding ‘cool’ and exposing its more abstract nature in the fashion world. The writing was very well and done and very engaging to an audience interested in this idea.

    3) I think it would have been more interesting to study certain case studies of advertisements and companies relevant to modern culture – major relevant corporations such as Apple, McDonalds, etc. and their recent innovations towards branding and advertising would have been interesting to study.

    4) I thought the course to have been really well taught. I believe a little more engagement could have emerged with studying more recent and relevant specific examples, but other than that it was a great course.

  28. 1. I think my favourite article to read was “Culture Jamming” by Kalle Lasn. It was an easy read in the sense that it was very interesting and I liked that it used a lot of modern day examples and was relevant to what we see today. It also gave me hope seeing people opposing advertisements and the misguided popular beliefs they portray to us.

    2. My favourite topic is probably the culture industry. I just found it to be very enlightening. I felt that everything after related to it, and the concept of the culture industry and what they do is intertwined with everything else we learned about in the class. Everything is placed and done for a reason, to get their messages across, to keep us consuming. It makes you think critically of everything you see.

    3. I think it would have been nice to look a bit more specifically at the ads, talk more about race and gender. In addition to that, maybe how advertising has evolved, looking at how it has moved to social media and the internet. The alternative forms of advertising other than television and billboards. 

    4. I absolutely loved the format of the class, learning felt effortless and fun. I love the blog and the writing responses, it allows us to apply to our daily lives. It did not feel forced or like a chore I was dreading to do.

  29. Daina Goldfinger says:

    Daina Goldfinger

    1. My favourite reading for the course was Conspicuous Consumption by Thorstein Veblen. I thought this reading applied very well to the course, and allowed the class to see exactly why and how people consumed, as well as different forms of consumption. It allowed me to realize that people mostly buy things with conspicuous motives. It was an easy read and just immediately sparked my interest.

    2. My favourite topic throughout the course was feminism and fashion, mainly because as a female I love fashion. It was interesting to see a critical perspective on fashion, especially in advertising. I also enjoyed talking about trends and the way the public follows them so blindly.

    3. I think it would have been awesome to dissect certain advertisements, and maybe even make our own. I really liked this course because I found to be very creative for a university course, and I think having the class make their own ad campaigns for one of the assignments would have been cool.

    4. Overall, I loved the CS341 course. I thought it was extremely interesting, engaging and I got a lot out of it. I like how there was always room for open discussion, as this gets the class interested and engaged in the course as opposed to just listening to the professor talk. I also liked the structure of having four mini assignments and one final assignment in the end. I thought it made it a lot easier, and took a lot of stress off in times of midterm/exam season.

  30. Trevor Marshall says:

    1. My Favourite reading would probably have to be “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” by John Fiske. I liked it a lot because of some of the stances it takes on consumption and it is relatable in terms to some of its theories. The Quiz where we had to go to a mall and use this article and relate it to what we saw made me like it even more.

    2. My favourite topic throughout the course would probably be the Culture Industry. I have learned a lot about it in other classes and I just find it really interesting. How it relates to consumption, the economy, and pretty much every person. It is a huge part of out society.

    3. I would have loved to do something more with actual advertisements. We did go over a lot in class and throughout the blog, but it would have been cool to do an assignment on a specific ad or an ad of our choice that we could relate to the readings or something.

    4. I thought the course was structure great, I enjoyed the lectures, the readings were good and interesting. The reflections on the readings kept you up to date with the course, they made you think more about the articles instead of just reading them.

  31. cs341blog says:

    Tiffany Skrela

    1. My favourite reading was definitely Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Coolhunt” as it really responded to how important trends are in society. This reading was also a pleasant read because it was not one of those dry texts we normally receive in University.

    2. My favourite topic was culture jamming because it was really applicable to today’s society. I also loved how we covered memes in class as well as looking at gender in relation to toys and advertisements.

    3. I do not think any additional topics were needed, however, I always had this idea in my mind that when I would take an advertising class an assignment would require me to be creative and make an actual advertisement as an assignment, which I think would be a cool idea.

    4. I thoroughly enjoy the structure of your syllabus! Majority of the marks are given back before exams, which is helpful for stressed out students. I also thoroughly enjoy the reflection papers, they require the class to read and respond to the articles that you assign.

  32. cs341blog says:

    Rachel Tilner

    1. My favourite reading from the course was probably “Voluntary Simplicity” by Duane Elgin. I really enjoyed this reading because unlike most of the other readings that focused on the implications of consumer practices, this one especially focused on how we can individually change our own practices to help ourselves and the world be a better place. I think it summed up the course nicely as it helped me understand how everything is connected and what I can do in the future to ensure I am living with purpose.

    2. My favourite topic in the course was culture jamming. I just found it cool how people can find such creative ways to expose the shortcomings of consumer culture. A lot of the ones shown in class were very unique and got the point across about how to see the true meanings in advertisements.

    3. I think it would have been great if we covered more topics on techniques of advertising, such as subliminal advertising and the psychology behind it rather than just mostly focusing on advertising and how it relates to consumer society in general.

    4. I really enjoyed the material in this course and the way it was structured as a whole. The discussions were always interesting and I liked the amount of visuals and examples that were used in lecture. I also liked the idea of having the short writing assignments that we could do at our own pace throughout the term. These helped me understand the concepts more and better prepared me for the final reflection and the quizzes.

  33. Kailyn Evans says:


    1) My favorite reading was “The Dependence Effect,” by Galbraith. I felt that this article made clear my thoughts towards the system of capitalism and consumerism. We can never actually fulfill our desire for wanting things, we shop more to reach and unrealistic achievement and he explains this, and how the production to fulfill wants also contributes to the wants, and we are in a never ending cycle.

    2) My favorite topic was culture jamming, it was really fascinating to look at all the different examples that bring to our awareness some things we may know about consumerism and corporations that we don’t usually reflect upon.

    3) I think it would have been interesting to do something more with semiotics in advertisements, I feel that we don’t use a lot of the information we learn on semiotics from second year in any other course.

    4) The structure of this course is my favorite of all my courses, I prefer the way we have multiple writing assignments, so many chances to do a good job and that we can pick the weeks that work the best for us so we can do a better job and actually have time to engage with readings.

  34. cs341blog says:

    Jasmine Moore – Quiz #5

    1. Favorite reading and/or least favourite and why.
    My favourite reading was Kalle Lasn’s “Cultural Jamming.” The reason I liked this article so much is because it gives people a chance to be a part of social change. I also find the idea of cultural jamming to be a clever and peaceful way to say something about consumer culture in a way that is accessible to a wide range of people. I really enjoyed how Lasn preached spontaneity in life as I think more people need to embrace this idea.

    2. Favourite topic and/or least favourite and why.
    The culture industry was one of my favourite topics in the course because it brought together all the ideas in the course. It is also a tangible concept as we can see how the culture industry works all around us.

    3. Topics that it would have been great if we also covered.
    I would have liked it if we had tied more of the course material back to advertising and possibly done an assignment related to advertisements in particular.

    4. Any other thoughts and reflections on the structure of the course (assignments, activities, discussions).
    I really enjoyed having the readings responses. Not only did it help to spread out the work over the semester but I found it very helpful in my critical analysis of the readings. I would like the in class quizzes to perhaps be a little more structured as I like to be more prepared for a quiz situation. Overall I really enjoyed the mix of media and lecturing within the course.

  35. cs341blog says:

    Justine Lennox- Quiz #5

    1. My favorite reading from the course was Duane Elgin’s piece on voluntary simplicity. I found that it was refreshing after al ot of negative and repetitive articles on consumption. I really enjoyed that it offered an alternative to what we have today, and gives the reader some food for thought.
    My least favourite reading was Karl Marx, because I find him awful to have to read and attempt to understand.

    2. Again, I really enjoyed the discussion on voluntary simplicity, but I also really enjoyed appropriation. There are some things that have been appropriated, that I didn’t know wasn’t the original use of the objet or sign.

    3. I would have liked to learn the process of advertising and successful marketing campaigns. It would be neat to see all different aspects of a marketing campaign and how it is managed, and eventually what is the final product that the public sees.

    4. I liked the way in which the course was structured, giving us a lot of freedom around what we read from the texts.

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