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Communications and media competence in modern world

2022/2023
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
4
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
1 year, 1, 2 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

Students in higher education engage with the world of media while doing various projects in a variety of disciplines. Yet, modern media has been heavily criticized for misinforming, manipulating the truth, escalating social issues and serving the agenda of the powerful. One rarely knows how/why/with what consequences communication happens in the contemporary digital space. How can we read the news — and discern fake information from trustworthy? How can we powerfully engage in a meaningful and fair conversation in digital media? The 15-week course develops students’ ability to critically consume information and to powerfully engage in a conversation, by using rhetoric, argumentation, and theories behind communication behavior in the society. Students will learn how to ‘read’ news and information as well as learn how to produce news and information which has a strong impact. The language of instruction is English.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • This course is designed to develop students’ knowledge of how media information is produced and consumed. The course will give an overview of various media phenomena that may influence our view of the world (e.g. agenda setting, misinformation, manipulative techniques, etc.) — and provide a better understanding of factors driving our trust in information. The ultimate goal of the course is to help students critically assess information in the predominantly digital environment and spot their own biases in media consumption. During this course students will learn not only to apply analytical and critical skills while consuming media, but also to proactively use rhetoric and argumentation in a public discussion.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn to assess and adjust personal media consumption habits;
  • Students will learn to discriminate between the quality journalism and adverse media practices;
  • Students will learn to distinguish what counts as argument and analyze the argumentation techniques used in the media;
  • Students will learn to spot manipulative and misinforming content online;
  • Student will learn to understand the process of media production and its influence on society
  • Student will learn to understand personal and group biases in media consumption;
  • Student will learn to understand the power of language and wording in media discourse production
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • 1. Introduction to media literacy and the history of the discipline
  • 2. Media production and media consumption
  • 3. Quality news vs manipulative content
  • 4. Biases in media production and consumption
  • 5. Sources on information
  • 6. Applying news literacy deconstruction basics
  • 7. Digital citizenship
  • 8. Media diet
  • 9. Types of journalism
  • 10. On the surface of media discourse - the wording
  • 11. On the surface of media discourse — the structure
  • 12. Logic, facts and argumentation in media discourse
  • 13. Emotions and attitude in media discourse
  • 14. Blogs and social networks
  • 15. Communication principles in digital media environment
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Cumulative assessment
    Students are expected to demonstrate their command of the main concepts of the course by completing five graded assignments (pass/fail grade). “Pass” — A student complies with the requirements “Fail” — 1) A Student does not comply with the requirements; 2) a student misses the graded task. Sample tasks: ● quizzes ● essays ● collaborative projects
  • non-blocking Presentations
    Students will be asked to prepare several presentations throughout the class. Presentations can be done individually or in groups. The reports should be prepared based on the provided literature and personal research and presented in class. The estimated time for a presentation — up to 20 min plus up to 10 min for the Q&A session.
  • non-blocking Examination Part I: Final task
    For the final assignment students need to search for and analyze their own case related to one of the course topics. Format: pre-recorded video presentation (~15 min) Criteria for case selection: ● the case is relatively recent (not more than 10 years old); ● the case in related to media; ● the case was not provided by the instructors during the course; ● the case has enough background for the analysis; ● the case relates to the topics of the course; ● multiple related cases (e.g. several texts) can be chosen. General requirements for the assignment: 1) Give a summary of the case analyzed; 2) Identify which media phenomena it relates to; 3) Provide theoretical background for the discussed phenomenon; 4) Suggest which potential political, social, cultural, and economical outcomes the phenomenon represented by the case may have for the society (on different levels). Support the arguments with the theory and/or empirical evidence. 5) Provide an analysis of a discourse in terms of the categories studied in the course (wording, structure, arguments, attitude, etc.) 6) Suggest practical guidelines to solve/improve/resist the case/the phenomenon represented (depending on the particular topic). Possible topics for cases: ● spread of misinformation; ● violation of media ethics; ● argumentation in media (positive and negative examples); ● biased/manipulative/good/bad wording and discourse structure (vis-a-vis the communicative task that the discourse is supposed to accomplish); ● biases created by the media (e.g. framing).
  • non-blocking Examination Part II:Review
    Apart from the final task, each student needs to provide meaningful and substantive feedback on the work of fellow students. Format: class feedback Requirements for the review: 1) Discuss the advantages of the report; 2) Discuss the disadvantages of the report; 3) Mention what was not clear enough; 4) Suggest what can be improved and how.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.1 * Examination Part II:Review + 0.5 * Cumulative assessment + 0.4 * Examination Part I: Final task
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bruns, A. (2018). Gatewatching and news curation: Journalism, social media, and the public sphere. Australia, Australia/Oceania: Peter Lang. https://doi.org/10.3726/b13293

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K. H., & Cook, J. (2017). Beyond Misinformation:Understanding and Coping with the “Post-Truth” Era. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2017.07.008