Film Studies: American Film Survey

Enrollment Message:

Access to a videos is required. Videos may need to be rented.

American Film Survey is an exciting journey through what is arguably this country's most influential and beloved art form: cinema. Among the classic film genres examined are film noir, western, comedy, military, epic, psychological drama and independent film. Through viewing, theory and written critique, the student follows the evolution of cinema within the context of our culture and history. Prominent directors and actors both contemporary and past are also highlighted. The culmination of this course prepares the student for more advanced film studies, promotes the development of written expression and analysis and encourages critical thinking with regard to the relationship between popular art and society. Prerequisites: None

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

• identify and evaluate the conventions of a specific genre

• identify and evaluate styles associated with a specific genre

• encourage critical thinking about film as it relates to our culture and ourselves

Course Outline:

Unit 1 - Film of your choice

Unit 2 – The Western

Unit 3 – The Comedy

Unit 4 – The Epic

Unit 5 – The Musical

Unit 6 - The Drama

Unit 7 - Film Noir

Unit 8 - Crime/Gangster

Unit 9 - War/Anti-War

Unit 10- Action/Adventure

Resources Included: N/A

Additional Costs: Access to a video rental establishment and either a VCR or DVD player. Students should be aware that they will need to rent movies (VHS or DVD) and watch them in order to complete this course.

Scoring System: Michigan Virtual does not assign letter grades, grant credit for courses, nor issue transcripts or diplomas. A final score reported as a percentage of total points earned will be sent to students upon completion of a course. Your school mentor is also able to access this score within the Student Learning Portal. Schools may use this score for conversion to their own letter grading system.

Time Commitment: Semester sessions are 18-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1 or more hours per day in the course to be successful. Summer sessions are 10 weeks long: Students must be able to spend a minimum of 2 or more hours per day, or about 90 hours during the summer, for the student to be successful in any course. Trimester sessions are 12-weeks long: Students must be able to spend 1.5 or more hours per day in the course to be successful.

Technology Requirements: Please review the Michigan Virtual Technology Requirements:
Students must also have access to YouTube.

Instructor Support System: For technical issues within your course, contact the Customer Care Center by email at or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Instructor Contact Expectations: Students can use email or the private message system within the Student Learning Portal to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance. Students will also receive feedback on their work inside the learning management system. The Instructor Info area of their course may describe additional communication options.

Academic Support Available: In addition to access to a highly qualified, Michigan certified teacher, students have access to academic videos and outside resources verified by Michigan Virtual. For technical issues within the course, students can contact the Michigan Virtual Customer Care by email at or by phone at (888) 889-2840.

Required Assessment: Online assessments consist of formative and summative assessments represented by computer-graded multiple choice, instructor-graded writing assignments including hands-on projects, model building and other forms of authentic assessments.

Technical Skills Needed: No special skills are required beyond being able to operate a computer and use word processing software.

Additional Information: Students must be able to write at a high school level and be over the age of 13. Students should be aware that they will need to rent movies (VHS or DVD) and watch them in order to complete this course.


School Level: High School
Standards: Common Core State Standards-ELA
NCAA Approved: No
Alignment Document: Document
Course Location:
NCES Code: 05168
MDE Endorsement Code: LX - Art Education
MMC Minimum Requirements: VPA Arts

When Offered: _Internal Use Only

Content Provider: Michigan Virtual
Instructor Provider: Michigan Virtual

Course Type: Plus