Introduction to Film

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HUM 160

       Course Name: Introduction to Film

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course offers a survey of the historical development of film, emphasizing a study of films and innovations in film production that have had significant influence on film as an art form. Topics include basic film language, editing, light, sound, camera movement, and related topics.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After completing this class, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Identify film form and how it differs from other media.
  2. Recognize key elements germane to film history and techniques.
  3. Appraise the value of films as a reflection of culture.
  4. Develop an appreciation of film as an art form.
  5. Apply concepts and classroom experiences to increase their enjoyment of film outside of class.
  6. Develop critical thinking and writing skills.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

(This is a sample outline of topics.  In your outline of topics please specify the dates on which you will cover specific topics as well as other important dates, such as exams and paper deadlines.)

Introduction to the Course
Film Language and Vocabulary
The Origins of Film
The Development of the Narrative Film
D.W. Griffith’s Contributions to Film Language
The Classic Narrative Style
Russian Silent Film:    Montage Editing
German Expressionism:    Mise-en-scene
Transition to Sound
Rise of the Studio System
The Aesthetics of Sound
Censorship in Hollywood:  Production Code
The Golden Age of Hollywood, Part 1
Emphasis on the Star System
The Production Code during the Golden Age
The Golden Age of Hollywood, Part 2
Emphasis on the Studio System
The Classic Narrative Style in the Sound Era
The Mavericks:  Welles and Micheaux
The Transition Period (and the fall of the Hollywood System)
The French New Wave
The Film School Generation, Part 1:    New Directions and New Styles
The Film School Generation, Part 2:    New Forms of Censorship
Contemporary Era

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures and discussion
  2. Reading assignments
  3. Films
  4. Field Trips

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

(Please include information here about all expectations you have for your students regarding behavior, work, etc.  The following are sample topics you may wish to cover.  Please be aware that you must require students in this course to produce at least 15 pages of critical written assignments over the course of the semester.  These may be assigned in a variety of ways including journals, response papers, field trip projects, etc.)

  1. Attendance
  2. Standards for written work
  3. Quizzes/Exams
  4. Participation
  5. Essays
  6. Final Projects
  7. Special policies about make-up exams, late papers, or other matters of concern

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.


X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

(In this section, the instructor will present the percentages or point breakdown for all the elements of the final grade. Please note that at least 40% of the grade must be based on written work rather than objective exams, oral presentations, etc.)

For example:
Quizzes/Exams…………………………………………40 points
Journals/Essays…………………………………….......40 points
Oral Presentation of a Final Project……………………10 points
Attendance and Participation…………………………..10 points

Grading Scale.  90% - 100% = A // 80% - 89% = B // 70% - 79% = C // 60% - 69% = D // below 60 = F

XI.   Other Course Information

Instructor information
Office and office hours:
Email and website:

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.