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Module

MCH1023 : Introduction to Media Studies

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Graeme Mearns
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

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.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials93:0027:00Online, non-synchronous. Mix of pre-recorded audio/video with slide and supporting material
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion180:0080:00Independent study and development of final essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading172:0072:00Short tasks designed to bolster knowledge of lecture materials and build towards final assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00PiP. Seminar format - discussion of pre-circulated tasks and applied activities
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion13:003:00Online, non-synchronous. Activities in support of assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time91:009:00Online synchronous - drop in format geared towards support with final assessment
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) 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.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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 students 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. Submission of the essay comes in Week 9.

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-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 and to write a 1000-word piece detailing how these changes have impacted their lived realities. Though non-assessed, this activity will also be leveraged towards helping students think about their final essay whilst also providing a focal point for online community building.

Reading Lists

Timetable