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Most of us sit at home and criticize the content of all these political ads from the comfort of our couch. While right here at Morningside College, students get to do it from the classroom.
The weekly homework assignment in this class: closely watch and criticize political ads. Junior Michael Lewis said he decided to take the Seminar in Media, Politics and Democracy course, because he knew very little about politics or who the candidates were in this Presidential election.
"Never did anything political my family isn't very political. But when we started this class my whole horizon just broadened because there are so many topics I had never really knew about," said Lewis.
It's Professor Mark Heistad's fifth time teaching the course. Three times a week he sits down with his students and leads them in a discussion about what they're seeing on their TV screens each night.
Heidstad says there's no better time to conduct this course than during an election year.
"We're daily talking about real world stuff that's going on, and asking questions about when and how media serves democracy and when it does a disservice to democracy," said Heistad.
The class takes a look at both local and national ads, analyzing the themes of the campaign ads and determining how effective the ads really are. The students say the course definitely opens their eyes to the world of media and democracy.
"It challenges your way of thinking. It doesn't change your complete view but it helps you recognize, maybe theirs other opinions about a certain view you didn't think of before," said Lewis.
And that's what Heistad says is the goal of the seminar, to get his student to think critically.... And when they turn the TV on, to turn on their brains too.