Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Anthony Dion Mitzel

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-LIN/12

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Sociology and Social Work (cod. 8786)

  • Course Timetable from Sep 20, 2022 to Dec 15, 2022


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to use and exercise critical thinking skills and intermediate grammatical features, punctuation conventions as well as appropriate vocabulary when responding to and composing texts/interacting in conversation.

Course contents

The course will focus on English language enrichment through the analysis and study of general linguistics, cultural studies, communication practices in the mass media and the ways that events are framed with regards to Contemporary Issues in the United States. Moreover class lectures will be on both basic English linguistics and Cultural Studies.

*The course will be exclusively in English.


A specific bibliography will be provided during the course.

It is advised that students familiarise themselves with these texts and authors. Most of these texts are open source and can be found for free online or in the library. Other materials will be handed out during class and/or uploaded to the course’s Virtuale page. Students are asked to stay up to date on domestic and international current events and news stories generated from these events.

Chandler, Daniel (2007) Semiotics: The Basics. London: Routledge.


Dawkins, Richard (2006). The Selfish Gene (30th anniversary ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hall, Stuart. (1980). Encoding/decoding. Culture, media, language, 128-138. Retrieved from: http://www.hu.mtu.edu/~jdslack/readings/CSReadings/Hall_Encoding-n-Decoding.pdf

Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. New York: Pantheon Books.

McLuhan, Marshall (1964) Understanding Media. London: Routledge.

Milner, Ryan. (2016) The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Postman, Neil. (1986). Amusing ourselves to death: Public discourse in the age of show business. New York: Penguin Books.

Said, Edward. (1979). On Orientalism. New York. Vintage Books

Shifman, Limor. (2014). Memes in Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 

Tyler, Tim. (2011). Memetics: Memes and the Science of Cultural Evolution. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. http://memetics.timtyler.org

Teaching methods

The course will blend theory and praxis dedicated to traditional lectures on past and current theoretical utilising audiovisuals with open class discussions/debates. Students will also be able to verbally express their ideas, researched opinions and present in front of an audience.

Opportunities to talk, present, listen, read, and write in lecture settings, conversation/debate and basic writing exercises all done in English.

*Due to the current SARS-COV-19 global pandemic, teaching methods are subject to change.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend the online Modules 1, 2 on Health and Safety [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas].

Assessment methods

At the beginning of the semester students will take an English Placement Test via Virtuale to assess their levels.

At the end of the course there will be a written exam. The written part will be on a topic covered in the course of the students' choosing.

Moreover, there will be two formats of the exam for the different english levels. These level will be self assessing.

Format #1 (Medium to upper level A2/B2+)
Format #2 (Medium to low level A1-A2)

For both attending and non-attending students

You will have a choice of:


Format #1: Writing a 750-1000 word essay on a topic of the student’s choosing based off of material covered in class or on the classes website. The essay will be done at home then submitted via EOL/Virtuale. 

Format #2: Multiple choice test based on materials that can be found on the class's webpage. The test will be administered remotely via Virtuale or EOL (TBD). 

30-30L: Excellent level. The candidate possesses excellent translation, with a very high level of competence in the target language.

27-29: Above average level. The candidate makes only minor errors, and shows a solid command of the required skills and competences.

24–26: Generally sound level. The candidate displays a number of shortcomings, indicating a reasonable command of the required skills and competences.

21-23: Adequate level. The candidate displays significant shortcomings and only an adequate command of the required skills and competences.

18–20: Minim. level. The candidate only meets the minimum level required and shows a minimal command of the required skills and competences.

< 18 Fail: The candidate does not meet the required standard and shows a wholly inadequate command of the required skills and competences.

*Students completing the course and exam will receive a mark of pass (18>)/fail (17<).Those students that have enrolled in the course before the 2019-2020 academic year will receive a numerical mark (30/30).

*Due to the current SARS-COV-19 global pandemic, assessment methods and attendance requirements are subject to change. The final exam will be administered online. More/different information on this will be provided during the semester.

Teaching tools

Course specific PPT presentations, documentaries, websites, podcasts, and social media applications. Assignments and activities will be carried out both in class and at home with a focus on enriching students' grasp and mastering the relevance of modern digital age communication.

Most if not all printed and audiovisual material used in class, as well as resources for the specific topics tackled in class, will be made available on the Virtual-IOL e-learning site. (see Readings/Bibliography)

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Anthony Dion Mitzel