Module UXS-1090:
Media Culture

Module Facts

Run by School of Music and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Prof Andrew McStay

Overall aims and purpose

This will explore the beginnings of media studies, and the first theories of the 'culture industry' through the Marxist-influenced ideas of the Frankfurt School. We will look at how media and culture came to be studied in the UK, and how the Birmingham School aimed to use the study of media as a force for social change. We will go on to look consider theories of audiences and meaning-making, which became popular in the 1980s and consider the impacts of 'representation' and discourse construction in the media (gender, class, race, sexuality). In order to do this, we will explore some approaches to reading the media, notably semiotics and discourse studies. Finally, we will look at modern theories of 'convergence': UGC and the convergence of media channels, including convergence between amateur and professional media.

Course content

Media Culture focuses on media developments paying attention to traditional media forms such as film, TV, radio and print media and on to digital media forms. The essence of this module is to consider the impact of media on society and the ways in which they have altered or affected society. This requires us to consider: how media affect that way we live, how we as people interact and communicate, what we make, how we experience places, and more broadly how changes in media positively and negatively make a difference in the world.

More formally, this module addresses: affordances of a range of media forms, interrelationships between technology and society, political economy, identity and community, production, dissemination and ownership, communication and interaction, privacy, and the ideological implications of networked mediated culture in a co-creative media age.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Threshold (D range)

Submitted work is adequate and shows an acceptable level of competence as follows:

  • Generally accurate but with omissions and errors.
  • Assertions are made without clear supporting evidence or reasoning.
  • Has structure but is lacking in clarity and therefore relies on the reader to make links and assumptions.
  • Draws on a relatively narrow range of material.

excellent

Excellent (A range)

Submitted work is of an outstanding quality and excellent in one or more of the following ways:

  • Has originality of exposition with the student's own thinking being readily apparent.
  • Provides clear evidence of extensive and relevant independent study.
  • Arguments are laid down with clarity and provide the reader with successive stages of consideration to reach conclusions.

good

Satisfactory (C range)

Submitted work is competent throughout and occasionally distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates:

  • Good structure and logically developed arguments.
  • At least in parts draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student.
  • Assertions are, in the main, backed by evidence and sound reasoning.
  • Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.

Good (B range)

Submitted work is competent throughout and distinguished by superior style, approach and choice of supporting materials. It demonstrates:

  • Very good structure and logically developed arguments.
  • Draws on material that has been sourced and assessed as a result of independent study, or in a way unique to the student.
  • Assertions are backed by evidence and sound reasoning.
  • Accuracy and presentation in an appropriate academic style.

Learning outcomes

  1. demonstrate an understanding of key terms and concepts relating to mass media, media culture and digital media (cf QAA Benchmarks Standards for Communication, Film, Media and Cultural Studies 4.5, 8.1);

  2. demonstrate an awareness of the variety of approaches contained within media and communication studies (cf QAA Benchmarks Standards for Communication, Film, Media and Cultural Studies 4.1, 4.4, 4.5);

  3. demonstrate an awareness of issues of ownership, access, interactivity, the influences of new media technology and the ideological implications of mediated culture (cf QAA Benchmarks Standards for Communication, Film, Media and Cultural Studies 4.3, 4.4);

  4. demonstrate a critical understanding of how economic forces and cultural norms and assumptions influence producer, consumer and pro-sumer behaviour in terms of media choice and creativity (cf QAA Benchmarks Standards for Communication, Film, Media and Cultural Studies 4.1, 4.3, 5.6);

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of how technologies and media culture developed from the early 20th C until today and how these developments can be contextualised historically (cf QAA Benchmarks Standards for Communication, Film, Media and Cultural Studies 4.1, 4.2, 5.3, 5.3).

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
2000 Word Essay 50
Three Blog Entires (total 2000 words) 35
Seminar Presentation and Participation 15

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

Seminar: 1 hour per week

11
Private study 178
Lecture

Lecture: 1 hour per week

11

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: