DOC 472 Documentary Law and Ethics (Formerly DC 467)

Brenda Robinson

Office: Daley 200B
Winter 2019-2020
Class number: 25478
Section number: 801
M 5:45PM - 9:00PM
14EAS 00801 Loop Campus


Students will explore the legal and ethical issues that can arise in the course of documentary and non-fiction media production. The course will discuss standards and practices; decision making and creative control; archival footage and its fair use; legal requirements and implications; the question of informed consent; and ethical issues ranging from paying subjects, staging and reenactments, to sale and resale footage. Case studies of selected documentary films will be presented and analyzed by the class.


Weekly handouts, article excerpts and professor-selected required reading will be distributed weekly in connection with each class; no required text.


Grading: Assignment Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria will be posted in D2L

Attendance = 15%     Participation = 25%     Midterm Quiz = 20%     Final Exam = 40%

Total = 100%


A = 100-93         A- = 92-90          B+ = 89-87         B = 86-83              B- = 82-80

C+ = 79-77         C = 76-73           C- = 72-70          D = 69-60              F = 59-0

A indicates excellent work; B indicates great work; C indicates satisfactory work; D indicates unsatisfactory work; F indicates failure to engage in the material or demonstrate adequate understanding of course concepts



School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296