Module Catalogue 2021/22

MCH1023 : Introduction to Media Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Graeme Mearns
  • Other Staff: Miss Jess Crosby, Miss Maia Almeida-Amir, Ms Samantha Vaughn
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

N/A

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

None

Aims

This introductory module aims to enable students to:
1. Gain critical knowledge of the role of mass media communications in contemporary cultures and in social relationships.
2. Develop understanding of the codes, aesthetics, forms and conventions of a variety of media texts and practices through a range of analytical approaches.
3. Reflect on the ways in which mass media industries contribute to the shaping of genres, messages and narratives in order to construct a sense of what the social ‘world’ is and how it works.
4. Analyse and assess some of the principal themes and issues in contemporary mass media, such as those of inequity in the ‘prosumption’ of mass media content and resulting spatial inequalities.
5. Examine the geographically contingent role, politics and power of mass media relative to local and global audiences.
6. Consolidate and apply critical and evaluative skills concerning engagement with, and interpretation of, the outputs of mass media.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module may include, but is not limited to, learning activities that are concerned with developing students’ understanding of:
1. Key theories of media, mediated realities and media analysis.
2. Conceptualising ‘culture’.
3. Processes of production, consumption and ‘prosumption’ apparent in new media (blurring of production/consumer binary).
4. Mass media representations and their relationships to identity construction.
5. Texts and signs of media and culture.
6. Power, hegemony and the geographies of media, including those apparent within the cultural industries.

Concerned with the role of media in shaping cultures, identities and interpersonal relationships, this module draws on a diverse palette of work which links audiences and users with genres and industries, geographical spaces and temporal locations.

Students will be introduced to a variety of ‘old’ and ‘new’ media forms (radio, television, print media, photography, popular music, mobile technologies and social media) whilst being encouraged to think about the ways in which the evolution of media assemblages has shaped their own lived realities and the spaces in which their everyday lives are played out (i.e. the mediated urban environment and media’s impact on notions of ‘city life’).

A number of critical frameworks will be used to help make sense of these processes, paying particular attention to issues of identity, representation and power and their significance in interpreting the vast array of media material that many of us now find ourselves immersed in.

The module encourages students to undertake close readings of a range of specific media texts and practices and to understand how producers and consumers make sense of contemporary mass media.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

A student successfully completing the module will have:
K1. Introductory knowledge of key terms, concepts, ideas and approaches relevant to understanding the role of mass media communications in contemporary cultures and social relationships.
K2. An ability to link ideas and theories from media and communications studies to texts, practices, institutions and the identities within audiences.
K3. A developed understanding of how media and culture impact different ways of life, ‘everydayness’, social and spatial practices and onward cultural production.

Intended Skill Outcomes

A student successfully completing the module should have the following skills:
S1. Analysis – students will acquire an ability to critically analyse a range of primary texts and some of the key themes and issues that underpin the study of media, communications and cultural studies.
S2. Organisation – students will learn to demonstrate skills in synthesising and articulating key organising frameworks through which an increasingly diverse and immersive media can be understood.
S3. Sources – students will utilise a variety of primary and secondary material in the effective analysis of media as text, technology and institution. They will be given opportunity to analyse closely, interpret, and show the exercise of critical judgement in the understanding and evaluation of key concepts in media studies.
S4. Confidence and independence – students will exhibit increased confidence in their communication of their understanding of the media. They will be asked to gather, organise and deploy ideas to formulate arguments and present them effectively in written and oral forms. They will be assessed on the basis of their ability to consider and evaluate their own work in a reflexive manner, with reference to academic issues and debates.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00Recorded lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Mid-module assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00End-of-module assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:00On-campus lectures (can be delivered online synchronously if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading114:0044:00Weekly required reading and/or viewing
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00On-campus seminars (can be delivered online synchronously if necessary)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study163:0063:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to encourage the development and comprehension of contemporary mass media and communications. Formal and aesthetic issues will be discussed in relation to content, production, consumption and use. Non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce and develop core ideas (i.e. media theories and concepts) each week which are then later applied through task-based seminars involving students working in groups to consider material in more practical detail. A mixture of lecture, classroom discussions, small-group work and one-to-one drop in support will be combined with private study, media analysis and the writing of an essay.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1002500 words. Answer one of several questions reflecting topics covered over the module
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MA4 plan of proposed final essay to be submitted for staff feedback
Written exercise1MPersonal Media Timeline - 1000-word personal reflection on how media has developed during student's lifetime
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The final essay allows students to demonstrate their ability to research and critically analyse a particular issue or topic of their concern relating to critical media theory. Students choose to answer one of several questions provided in the module handbook to help them consider relevant curricula relative to their essay choice from the earliest point of Semester 1.

In advance of the final essay, students prepare a plan in which they propose and structure their answer to the essay question. Feedback will be provided on the formative essay plan within the 20-working-day marking turnaround.

Students receive additional feedback as they complete their learning and teaching activities, including in seminars with tutors. One activity is a ‘personal media timeline’. Students are asked to create a visual representation of ‘old’ and ‘new’ media within their lifespans. The timeline is annotated with up to 1000 words detailing how these changes have impacted their lived realities. Though non-assessed, this activity will be leveraged towards helping students think about their final essay topic.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.