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From Mass Media to New Media: Theories, Approaches, Applications

  • Module code: MD7001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module This module provides a broad-based exploration of the conceptual history of electronic and digital media technologies and their effect on society, culture and politics. Contemporary case studies from everyday media are used to evaluate the usability of different theoretical frameworks discussed in the first part of the module. These are organised into three major topics.

1) The transition to managerial governance, cultural politics, consumer cultures and the media industries.

2) The analogue-digital interface in media aesthetics and media art.

3) Emerging trends in theorising new media and digital cultures.

The second part of the module aims to provide a general training in methods of research in mass and new media studies and professional practice, including critical approaches, qualitative and quantitative analysis and interpretation of content, data, affects, image and sound. In addition to these, students will be introduced to research ethics, and to different approaches to dissertation structure, critical and reflective writing.

 

Aims

  • Provide students with a broad-based knowledge of the historical development of media studies from the early twentieth century onwards
  • Provide students with an advanced understanding and examination of key concepts, issues and debates within their particular theoretical contexts
  • Develop students' ability to critically apply research methods and approaches relevant to the field
  • Enable students to identify and evaluate methods and approaches suitable for their media research projects

Learning outcomes

  • Gain comprehensive understanding of how media studies developed from the twentieth century onwards
  • Gain critically reflective knowledge and understanding of the main concepts and contemporary theoretical debates in media and communication research
  • Select and synthesise a range of theoretical and analytical perspectives to examine contemporary issues in media and communication
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of how theory relates to method in their field
  • Demonstrate the ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of methods and approaches for conducting academic and work-related research in their field

Curriculum content

  • The Frankfurt School & critical theory
  • The Toronto school of media studies
  • French communication and information theories
  • British cultural studies and the critique of multiculturalism
  • Coding, software studies & algorithmic governance
  • Theorising social media and the network societies
  • Hypertext, remediation, and digital art theories
  • Surveying sources, literature review
  • Critical/ cultural media research, discourse analysis
  • Coding, content analysis, working with data, quantitative research methods
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Visual and audio analysis
  • On/ off line ethnography, researching online behaviour and social media content
  • Research ethics
  • Dissertation structure
  • Reflective writing

Teaching and learning strategy

The module is taught in a series of one-hour lecture, followed by one-hour workshop or seminar to facilitate a flexible delivery of the curriculum. In addition to these, students are invited to discuss the progress of their critical essay plans and portfolio of research exercises in one-to-one or small-group tutorials. Students' learning and teaching is also supported by technology-aided means (including Canvas conference and discussion and/ or email). Lectures are designed to contextualise and explain concepts and theories, inviting seminar discussions based on the assigned readings, short viewing, pilot or case studies. The interactive and cohort-led teaching and learning mimics the work-place context, providing the opportunity for students to focus on their research topics while developing critical and professional skills to conduct small-scale projects and pilot studies.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lectures and workshops 44
Scheduled learning and teaching 1-2-1 or small group tutorials 11
Guided independent study Independent Learning 245
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment is designed to test students' ability to critically evaluate key issues and positions raised on the module and draw on a synthesis of material to apply theory to worked examples. The assessment ensures that students cover a range of material on the module and includes one extended essay (TB1) and two research exercises (TB2)

A)   TB1: 3000 word critical essay  [50%] 

The critical essay will require students to reflect critically on, and evaluate the key issues and/ or positions raised on the module, draw on a synthesis of material and apply theory to worked examples. While the essay forms the summative assessment element of the module, essay plans will be formative.

B)    TB2: 3,000 word Research Exercises  [50%]

The research exercises allow students to select and synthesise a range of theoretical and analytical perspective relevant to the field. Students will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of methods and approaches for conducting academic research in their field. While feedback on research plans will form part of the formative feedback, the individual and group research exercises will be formative.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Gain comprehensive understanding of how media studies developed from the twentieth century onwards Assessed summatively by the critical essay and formatively by the essay plan
Gain critically reflective knowledge and understanding of the main concepts and contemporary theoretical debates in media and communication research Assessed summatively by the critical essay and formatively by the essay plan.
Select and synthesise a range of theoretical and analytical perspectives to examine contemporary issues in media and communication Assessed summatively by research exercise 1 and formatively by the essay plan
Demonstrate critical understanding of how theory relates to method in their field Assessed formatively by research plans and summatively by research exercise 2
Demonstrate ability to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of methods and approaches for conducting academic research in their field Assessed formatively by research plans and summatively by research exercises 1 & 2

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
PRC Critical essay (3,000 words) 50
Coursework Research exercises: - Evaluation 1,500 words - Case study 1,500 words 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Baudrillard. J (1987) The Ecstasy of Communication. New York: Semiotex

Kittler, F (1996) 'The History of Communications Media' Ctheory 114

Manovich, L (2013) Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury

McLuhan, M ([1964] 1995) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, London: Routledge.

Turkle, Sherry (2010) Alone Together. NY: Basic Books.

Research Methods & Dissertation writing

Collins, Hilary (2010) Creative Research. The Theory and Practice of Research for the Creative Industries. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Books.

Levin, Peter (2004) Write great essays! : a guide to reading and essay writing for undergraduates and taught postgraduates. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Pickering, Michael (red.) (2008) Research Methods for Cultural Studies Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Poindexter, P. M., & McCombs, M. E. (2000) Research in Mass Communication: A Practical Guide. Bedford/St. Martin's

Stokes, Jane (2013) How To Do Media and Cultural Studies, London: Sage (2nd edition)

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