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CINEMA-121 - History of American Cinema - Mindy Johnson

Course:History of American Cinema
Professor:Mindy Johnson
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


profile photo of Mindy Johnson

Hello! Welcome to our online course for Cinema 121. My name is Mindy Johnson and it is my great privilege to share with you the vibrant world of cinema! I’m a working professional in the industry, as well as an adjunct professor. I teach a wide range of cinema and animation classes at COC as well as CalArts, Drexel University and various other campuses globally. With a background in television/feature film production and motion picture publicity, I continue my work for a growing list of clients including the Walt Disney Company, AMPAS/, The Walt Disney Family Museum, WNET/American Masters, Stage Nine Productions, SiriusXM Radio and Horipro Entertainment. As an author/historian, I am the leading expert on the history of women in animation and the recipient of the 2019 Film Scholar Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. It is a joy to bring these cutting-edge discoveries into my courses as I continue my research, writing and speaking around the world – online these days.

Course Description

Cinema 121 surveys motion pictures with analysis of key filmmakers and masterpieces from the industry’s inception to the present, both as a medium of mass communication and as an evolving art form. We’ll be exploring a wide range of films which exemplify the various time frames, artistic techniques and technological advancements through the years. Analysis of representative feature films as to the progressive development of the motion picture industry will expand your comprehension and working knowledge of the language and impact of cinema.

What to Expect in this Course

Each week there will be screenings & online class lecture & discussions. Weekly chapter reading will prep you for the forthcoming week’s film screening and discussion. A 1-page typed statement exploring and expressing your individual impressions of each film viewed is to be submitted each week, demonstrating the expansion of critical thinking and the applicable skills of studied examination. There will be a mid-term project/presentation and a final exam culminating the semester.

Types of Assessments

Weekly attendance & viewing statements, Mid-term presentations, and a Final Exam

Textbook Information / Link to ZTC Textbook

FILM HISTORY - An Introduction by Kristen Thompson & David Bordwell Published by McGraw-Hill

The text for this course is “Film History – An Introduction” by Kristen Thompson/David Bordwell (4th Edition) Published by McGraw-Hill.  ISBN# 978-00780073514246. This text is available at the campus bookstore, online via Amazon, or at other online retailers.  I find it easier to have the book as an ongoing resource, but there is a digital version of the text that is available, and you can also utilize earlier editions – just be mindful of the various chapter differences. To successfully complete your weekly chapter reading assignments, you will need to have a copy of the text in some version. 

Other Relevant Course Information

I will occasionally be sending/offering various support reading & viewing materials throughout the course. Links & docs for these support materials will be posted on the Canvas platform at various points throughout the semester.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

College of the Canyons cares about your emotional and physical health. Learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including free counseling and mental health services available during this time by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center website or by calling them at: 661-362-3259.

The National Suicide Lifeline number is 1-800-273- 8255 (TALK). Please call it if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress - it could save someone's life.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. It's free, available 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 10/26/2021 Sub#: 612