FILM 388 Sample Syllabus

FILM 388
Experiential Learning: Film Studies

Summer 2014 (Session I)

Dr. Marianne Conroy
3229 Tawes
Office hours: By appointment.

Description: FILM 388 connects the theoretical understanding of film studies that students develop in the classroom to professional experience in the workplace. The course is open to Film Studies majors who have earned at least 60 credits toward their degrees and who have obtained internship placements working with professionals in film production, exhibition, preservation, or other related fields. To
be eligible for 3 academic credits, students will be expected to accumulate at least 135 hours of professional experience during the term. FILM 388 can be used to fulfill part of the Film Electives requirement for the major. Admission to the course is by permission only.

The academic component of the course consists of reading and written work designed to provide a theoretical framework for the experiential learning. Students will submit a portfolio of writing, reflections, and evaluations where they connect these readings to their on-site experiences.

Student Learning Outcomes: This course will allow students to:

  • Obtain first-hand experience in a professional setting related to film, learning professional skills that will bolster future employment prospects.
  • Network with professionals who work in areas related to film.
  • Refine career expectations and interests.
  • Improve time and project management skills.
  • Connect classroom knowledge and further readings to practical professional skills and incorporate professional experience into academic work.

Course Readings

Readings will be selected by the student in consultation with the advisor. Course readings should cover two key areas:

1.) The professional structure of your environment. For example, students working in film archives should read about professional aspects of film preservation and practice.

2.) Supplemental content related to your placement and projects. For example, a student working on an archival collection of anthropological film should find readings related to anthropological filmmaking.

Course Requirements

Assessment for this course involves five components: your actual internship, two reflection papers (5 pp. each), a book review of the reading you have selected (3 pp.), a portfolio of professional work completed during the internship, and an evaluation by your on-site supervisor.

Reflection papers

A) Reflection Paper 1 (5 pp.)

Your first reflection paper should include a description of your internship: its location, hours, and professional responsibilities. In a short essay, address some of the following issues:

1. Reflect upon the work environment, your professional responsibilities, and your role in the organization.

2. Think about your internship experience and your classes at Maryland. How are you adapting classroom knowledge and practices to the "real world"?

3. How is an internship different from a "job"?

4. What are the best and worst parts of your internship? What would you change if you were the supervisor?

5. What is the feedback process at your internship? How is feedback given? In what ways is the evaluation process similar to the feedback you get in your classes? In what ways is it different?

B) Reflection Paper 2 (5 pp.)

Your second reflection should be based on the entirety of your internship experience. Respond to some of the following questions.

1. Discuss the expectations you had about your internship and whether those expectations were met or changed as a result of your experience.

2. How do you think your internship will impact upon your academic work? How will the skills and knowledge you gained in your internship manifest in the classroom?

3. What was the highlight of your internship?

4. Were there any conflicts or disappointments involved in your internship? Discuss how you responded to those issues.

5. Evaluate your work and performance. What was your most important contribution to your organization?

6. Discuss your on-site supervision. How often did you interact with your supervisor? What benefits did you gain as a result of your supervision? What feedback did you get from your supervisor?

Book review

As part of the requirements for the course, students have to submit a review of one of the readings they have selected. In a short (3 pp.) essay, describe the overall argument of the reading, and assess how its argument relates to your internship experience.


The portfolio has several components.

1. An outline/overview of the organization you worked for, its structure, and your place in it. You can fulfill this requirement through a written narrative, a chart, or a PowerPoint document.

2. Samples of work (aim for 4 or 5) you produced that reflect some different areas in which you gained professional experience. Each example should be annotated with a 1-2 paragraph explanation that provides a context for the sample.

Think of this part of the project as a professional tool that you can show to a potential future employer. Make sure that your annotations make clear what you did, what role you played, and what you gained as a result of your internship experience.

3. An updated resume, reflecting your current internship experience.

4. A short letter to FILM students discussing your internship experience. What did you gain? Would you intern there again? What advice would you give to students seeking an internship?

Supervisor Evaluation

Your on-site supervisor must complete a final internship evaluation. It is the student’s responsibility to ask the supervisor to email a short evaluation of your performance and work by the last day of the term. Please make sure that you give your supervisor sufficient lead time to
complete the evaluation. The evaluation is not graded, but it is a requirement for the course.

Distribution of Course Requirements

  • Reflection Paper 1 20%
  • Reflection Paper 2 20%
  • Book report 10%
  • Portfolio 50%

Grading Scale

Weighted Average Letter Grade
97.0 and
93.0-96.9 A
90.0-92.9 A-
87.0-89.9 B+
83.0-86.9 B
80.0-82.9 B-
77.0-79.9 C+
73.0-76.9 C
70.0-72.9 C-
67.0-69.9 D+
63.0-66.9 D
60.0-62.9 D-

Attendance: Since this course is based on on-site experience rather than classroom time, it is important that students complete the full 135 hours of experiential learning with their host institutions. Students are expected to maintain a regular schedule that will be arranged with their supervisors at the host institutions. If a student is unable to be present during regularly scheduled hours, it is the student's responsibility to inform her or his supervisor and arrange to reschedule these hours.

Academic Integrity: The University of Maryland, College Park, has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Society. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student, you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. The Code of Academic Integrity prohibits students
from cheating on exams, plagiarizing, submitting fraudulent documents, forging signatures, submitting the same paper for credit in two courses without authorization, and buying papers. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of academic dishonesty. Instances of any suspected academic dishonesty will be reported and handled according to University policy and procedures. For more information on the Code, visit

Plagiarism is of particular concern in the networked digital environment. Students must write their essays and assignments in
their own words. Whenever students take an idea or a passage of text from another author, they must acknowledge their source both
by using quotation marks where appropriate and by proper referencing using footnotes or in-text citations. For further
information about proper citation of sources, consult the UMD Libraries website at and

Extensions: Late submissions of written assignments [including the final report] will carry a penalty unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor. If an extension is granted, the work must be submitted within the extension period to avoid grade

Students with Disabilities: Students with disabilities who require academic accommodations must inform the instructor of their need and provide written documentation about the appropriate academic accommodations from Disability Support Services [] at the beginning of the term.