See Below

are in reverse chronological order--You should go through all announcements since your last visit, as simple common sense would suggest! NOTE: excuses such as "I did not know this was available via the class homepage," or "I did not have time to go to the class home page," and so on, will not be acceptable.


Posted 9/22/2023

For this announcement click here.


  Posted 8/27/2023

Dear All:
  Course Requirements, Homework Schedule, Test Schedule, etc. 

Welcome, welcome to this Fall 2023, AAS 253 course. Below is (a) a summary of the basic course requirements from the syllabus, (b) homework assignments, (c) the test schedule, and (d) a very important note about emails. The long form of the syllabus will be available in a few days (via a link on this page).


(A) Basic Course Requirements

  1. This an online course, but no classes on Zoom. (Therefore, no class attendance and no class participation). Super-important: You must have access to a reliable internet and a computer.
  2. No required textbooks. Instead, all class lecture and homework materials will be available online 24/7 to give you flexibility in how you manage your time. NOTE: For copyright reasons they will be available only via this class home page and NOT via UBLearns (see homework schedule below).
  3. Each film/documentary homework assignment will usually comprise two sections--either together within one video or sometimes separately. Section one will comprise class lecture materials (notes, slides, film/video excerpts, still images, slides, etc.), while section two will be the film itself. NOTE: for test  purposes both sections will be equally important.
  4. Important: you must download all homework materials to you computer, so you can have access to it 24/7.
  5. Because this is an online course it will be heavily test-based to ensure that you are doing your homework assignments. (See below for more about the tests.)
  6. Tests/quizzes altogether will be worth 80% of final course grade.
  7. There will be an optional final exam during exam week. If you choose to take it, it will serve as extra-credit.
  8. There will be a two-part test-based term paper project, it will be worth 20% of your final course grade.
  9. Letter grade equivalents of percentage points:   A =97-100   A- =93-96    B+ =90-92  B =85-89   B- =80-84    C+ =73-79    C =66-72    C- =60-65    D+ =55-59   D =51-54   F =0-50
  10. Do not use your phone to access homework materials and/or to do the tests.
  11. Most communications about the course will be via course announcements on this page and via emails as it progresses. You must read your emails from the instructor regularly AND save them in an email folder you must create in your email account. IMPORTANT: See also note below about emails format.
  12. You must know how to navigate the internet, including accessing Brightspace (UBLearns). You must know how to read text on a computer screen. You must take notes on the homework material, but your notes must be very, very brief (about two or three words per page or scene, as you go through the material--taking detailed notes means you are not digesting the material). You will need these notes for tests, since tests are open book.
  13.  If you claim that you cannot see a link for an item (or some other essential information), send me a clear picture of your entire computer screen, edge to edge (meaning EVERYTHING visible to you on your screen must be included in the picture), as an email attachment. Reminder: IF, in the extremely rare instance, there is a missing link (or some other information) it will affect the entire class, not just you. (The internet does not discriminate against specific individuals, whoever they may be.)
  14. NOTE: When it is available, you will be asked to submit a disclaimer that you read the syllabus diligently and will fully abide with all the course requirements.
     What this Course is About
  1. First, through the medium of audiovisual materials (films, videos, etc.) this course will aim to explore select topics from the historical and current experiences of Black people (that is anyone whose ancestral heritage can be traced back to Africa). Second, since this is a film course, it will also cover select introductory topics in the making of films (e.g., the significance of the film score).
  2. This course is not intellectually demanding (in fact, compared to your other courses, it is probably the easiest course you will ever take in this school); however, it is designed for those taking no more than 15 credit hours total, and do not have a full-time job. Homework, on average, will require about one "concentrated" hour per day of your time (which equals to about 7-8 concentrated hours per week--this is similar to doing 3 hours of class time, plus about 4 hours of homework for an in-person class). Note: A concentrated hour is an hour that requires full concentration from you--that means no distractions of any kind!

     About the Tests

  1. Tests will take place approximately every two weeks (see schedule below).
  2. Tests will comprise multiple-choice questions. Note: majority of test questions will be aimed at determining if you did do the homework at all AND that you did the homework diligently.
  3. Tests will not be proctored.
  4. Tests will be open book.
  5. Tests will carry bonus points. Why? As an insurance against the possibility that you, as an individual, may find one or two questions confusing--assuming you did your all assigned homework diligently--repeat, diligently! (Needless to say, if you did not study the homework at all, or if you did not study it diligently, you will find all questions confusing. Yes?)
  6. Tests will be available online only via the AAS 253 course page on Brightspace (UBLearns)--and not via this class home page.
  7. Tests will usually take place per your UB course schedule for this class; that is, on Mondays, between 12:30 pm and 3:10 pm--however, the exact time and duration for each test will be specified (see below). NOTE: This day/time cannot be changed (to prevent cheating).
  8. Tests will be available only for the duration of the time allocated for the test after it becomes available on Brightspace at the specified time; not before and not after. (Example: Supposing the test is 45 minutes long and it starts at 2:00 pm. It will close at 2:45 pm.) Once a test begins it cannot be “reopened” if you step away from it for any reason. If, in my estimation, you had a valid reason for stepping away from the test then a new test will have to be constructed.
  9. Warning: Tests/quizzes will be very demanding IF you don’t do your homework at all, or you don’t do it on on time, or if you do it SWD (studying while distracted). NOTE: Since tests will be every two weeks, attempting to cram about 14-15 hours of homework (total time) into about 3-4 hours at the very last minute on test day will NOT allow you to do well on the tests--in fact, you probably won't pass them. 
    About emails
  1. To foster professionalism, when you send me e-mails, they must be in a professional format; otherwise, you may not get a response. Example of professional format: Begin with “Dear Instructor”;… and end with “Sincerely”, …. Plus, your name as it appears in school records.
  2. Emails must be sent only via UB mail and NOT via UBLearns.
  3. Emails will usually be read and answered on the days this course is scheduled. Again, all e-mails must be sent via regular UB e-mail (and not UBLearns). The subject heading of your email must always include these two items: the course number, and what your email is about in a few words.
  4. This is an online course, therefore, do not send me emails with questions that have already been answered. If you do, I will simply ask you to go back and read the relevant announcement / instruction that answers your question. Again, because this an online course, it is really important that when you write about some clarification you need, you quote the exact sentence or paragraph from the syllabus, announcements, etc. that is relevant to your email. This is super-important. Otherwise, depending on what your email is about, you may not get a response. (Quoting does NOT mean taking a picture.)

(B) Homework Assignments

  1. Yes, this is the only assigned homework, but if you would like more let me know via e-mail.
  2. To what should you pay close attention, as you go through these assignments? Everything! (Repeat, everything!) Why everything? First, because completing the homework in its entirety with diligence is in itself a learning objective in this course, given that most (if not all) of you have never in your entire lives ever encountered the information these assignments cover. Second, because the homework load in this course is not that much.
  3. You should take notes, but your notes should be very brief--repeat, very brief--just a few key words per scene / theme / concept / idea. You will need these notes for tests, since tests are open book.

Week 1
(beginning Monday, August 28)

Week 2 (beginning Monday, September 4)


Week 3 (beginning Monday, September 11)

Week 4
(beginning Monday, September 18) 
  • Reading 1: Stages of Filmmaking
  • Reading 2: Verisimilitude (a repeat reading assignment--see Week 2 above)

Week 5 (beginning Monday, September 25)
  • Film/Video: Copyright Page--> Part A --> Class Films List --> Hidden Figures 

Week 6
(beginning Monday, October 2) 
  • Film/Video: Copyright Page--> Part A --> Class Films List --> Film Score: Part 1--Section A 

NOTE: the rest of this homework schedule will be available later.

(C) Tests/Exam Schedule
  • All tests/exam will always be on Brightspace (UBLearns)
  • Here are some sample test questions. Study these questions very carefully to see what kinds of information (from the homework assignments) that the multiple-choice questions will cover on the tests.
  • To prevent cheating, not all questions will be exactly the same for everyone, and questions will be presented to you only one at a time.
  • The homework in this class, as already indicated, is not intellectually demanding (e.g. as in biochem or organic chemistry). However, if you still need guidance go through the document available here with a fine tooth comb.

Test 1
(will cover homework for weeks 1 and 2 above)
Monday, September 11, at 2:00 pm, on Brightspace (UBLearns).

Test 2
(will cover homework for weeks 3 and 4 above)
Monday, September 25, at 2:00 pm, on Brightspace (UBLearns).

Test 3
(will cover homework for weeks 5 and 6 above)
Wednesday, October 11, at 2:00 pm, on Brightspace (UBLearns).

Rest of this test schedule will be available later.

(D) Test Scores
Your test scores with bonus points are available via this link: scores.

(E) Syllabus (Long Form)
Folks, the long form of the syllabus is available here.