COM 399 Communication Studies Internship: Entertainment Education and Health Communication in South Africa (1 TCNJ unit = 4 credits)
Program Director: Dr. John C. Pollock, Professor of Communication Studies
Pre-Requisite: Rising Junior Status, 3.0 GPA (Students need not be majors in Communication Studies, and students from other colleges and universities may participate in the program.)
COM 399 has been designed to explore the multiple uses of Entertainment-Education (EE) in order to change behavior, in particular to prevent and fight HIV/AIDS in developing countries. South Africa provides perhaps the most vibrant array of EE activities tested anywhere in the world. The production of Tsha Tsha, a 78-episode television drama series in South Africa, serves as a prominent example of how professionals in public health and communications have worked together on HIV/AIDS education efforts. Students enrolled in the program will:
- Examine cross-national similarities and differences in fostering HIV/AIDS awareness, education, and prevention.
- Explore the “Entertainment Education” approach to fostering AIDS awareness and behavior change “outcomes”, designing varied measures of “success”.
- Use fieldwork to observe health education efforts on-site in South Africa.
- Employ previous research preparation, onsite mentoring, and personal observations to craft proposals recommending specific approaches, theories and research questions to advance understanding of health education and AIDS prevention.
Learn more about Tsha Tsha by watching this short video clip about its production:
As preparation for the program, TCNJ students are encouraged to enroll in the following Spring 2013 semester course: COM 487: Advanced Student-Faculty Research: Entertainment Education/Saving Lives. (Prof. Pollock is eager to work individually with students unable to enroll in the spring COM 487 course in order to prepare them for work of the highest quality when they are in South Africa. Independent Studies may be used for that purpose. Even if students are unable to accommodate that option, however, Prof. Pollock is prepared to mentor any individuals carefully, both in the spring, and in the summer leading to the summer internship, who wish to participate in the internship at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.)
Students will work together in teams during the program to craft a professional proposal for empirical work in Entertainment Education, focusing on a specific type of activity (e.g., drama, song, dance, children’s drawings, TV drama). Each morning students will participate in site visits to preview an area of interest (e.g., song, dance, drama) that will be addressed by speakers scheduled each afternoon. These visits, presentations, and discussions will raise questions for each individual/team regarding the applicability of several health communication theories (already studied prior to arrival) to the day’s area of interest. Teams will draft several versions of their program, engage in both peer and professional review of these drafts, and ultimately submit their final proposal to Dr. Pollock at the end of the program. A sample syllabus for the program may be found here.
In addition to academic programming, students will enjoy six cultural excursions. Tours of a nearby game reserve, the opportunity go river rafting, and cultural tours of Durban and the Southeast Coast provide students with an introduction to life in South Africa. There will also be opportunities to meet South African students and faculty from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. More information about “Durbs” and “KZN” may be found online.
Program Cost Includes: Tuition, Land travel – accommodations, land transportation, entrance fees, all breakfasts and dinners while in Durban, welcome and farewell dinners, insurance.
Program Cost Does Not Include: Airfare, most lunches, personal expenses.