CMM1001 - Perspectives on Communications

2022/3 Module description

StaffDr Neil Ewen - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module will develop your analytical skills as you engage with communications narratives, from propaganda to reportage and social media.  By reflecting on how these narratives inform representations of power and constructions of identity, you will consider how cultural consumption and production has adapted and transformed in response to digital communications. Through the application of relevant theory, and by engaging with empirical case studies, you will develop your understanding of differing methods and models of communication and apply them to a range of contemporary contexts.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • Explore the historical development of a range of communication technologies
  • Encourage you to consider the potentials and limitations of different forms of communication in their particular socio-historical contexts
  • Motivate you to critically analyse the potential of ‘new’ media technologies to challenge historical structures of power and to create ‘active’ audiences.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate a broad and comprehensive knowledge of key developments in the history of communication technologies
  • 2. Demonstrate understanding about the changing nature of audiences and users with the rise of the network society

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Engage critically with relevant communication and media theory
  • 4. Engage with a range of theoretical approaches and concepts pertaining to the analysis of communication technologies and media texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Communicate effectively and fluently orally and/ or in writing
  • 6. Demonstrate skills in the selection and organisation of primary and secondary sources
  • 7. Elaborate a strong and convincing argument

Syllabus plan

Key topics on this module may include

  • The historical development of a range of communication technologies
  • The power of mass media and new media to produce, reproduce and challenge dominant ideologies
  • The rise of the network society
  • Convergence
  • Passive and active audiences

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1-hour lecture
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2-hour seminars
Guided independent study103Seminar preparation
Guided independent study164Research and assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words3-6Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exam (individual interactive quiz)501 hour1-5Oral feedback
Essay (individual)503000 words1-7Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Exam (individual interactive quiz)Exam (individual interactive quiz)1-5Referral/Deferral period
Essay (3000 words)Essay (3000 words)1-7Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Andrejavic, M. (2013). Infoglut: How too much information is changing the way we think and know. London: Routledge.
  • Bartlett, J. (2018). The People vs. Tech: How the internet is killing democracy. London: Ebury.
  • Bartlett, J. (2014). The Dark Net: Inside the digital underworld. London: William Henemann.
  • Bridle, J. (2018). New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future. London: Verso.
  • Briggs, A. and Burke, P. (2010). A Social History of The Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet. Cambridge: Polity.
  • Carr, N. (2010). The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brain. London: W.W. Norton.
  • Castells, M. (2011). The Rise of the Network Society. London: Wiley.
  • Chadwick, A. (2017). The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power, 2nd. ed. Oxford: OUP. 
  • Chun, W.K.C. (2017). Updating to Remain the Same: Habitual New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
  • Curran, J. and Seaton, J. (2009) Power Without Responsibility 7th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Gilroy-Ware, M. (2020). After the Fact: The truth about fake news. London: Repeater Books.
  • Gilroy-Ware, M. (2017). Filling the Void: Social Media and the Continuation of Capitalism. London: Repeater Books.
  • Gitelman, L. (2008), Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT.
  • Greenfield, A. (2017). Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life. London: Verso. 
  • Hands, J. (2019). Gadget Consciousness: Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media. London: Pluto.
  • Hodkinson, P. (2017). Media, Culture and Society: An Introduction, 2nd ed. London: SAGE.
  • Howard, P. (2020). Lie Machines: How to save democracy from troll armies, deceitful robots, junk news operations, and political operatives. London: Yale UP.
  • Jenkins, H et al. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York: NYU.
  • Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: NYU.
  • Keen, A. (2007). The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy.London: Brealey.
  • Leigh, D. and Harding, L. (2011). WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's war on secrecy. London: Guardian Books.
  • Lotz, A. (2014). The Television Will Be Revolutionized (2nd ed.). New York: NYU.
  • Lotz, A. (2018). We Now Disrupt This Broadcast: How Cable Transformed Television and the Internet Revolutionized It All. London: MIT.
  • Marvin, C. (1990). When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century. Oxford: OUP.
  • Mittell, J. (2015). Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Storytelling. New York: NYU.
  • Morozov, E. (2011). The Net Delusion: The dark side of internet freedom. New York: Public Affairs.
  • Mukherjee, A. (2018). The Internet Trap: Five costs of living online. Toronto: Toronto UP.
  • Ronson, J. (2015). So You've Been Publicly Shamed. London: Picador.
  • Schneider, B. (2015). Data and Goliath: The hidden battles to collect your data and control your world. London: W.W. Norton.
  • Schulte, S.R. (2013). Cached: Decoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture. New York: NYU
  • Siapera, E. (2018). Understanding New Media, Second Ed. London: SAGE
  • Seymour, R. (2019). The Twittering Machine. London: Indigo.
  • Slee, T. (2015). What's Yours Is Mine: Against the sharing economy. London: O/R.
  • Snowden, E. (2019). Permanent Record. London: Macmillan.
  • Strangelove, M. (2015). Post-TV: Piracy, Cord-Cutting, and the Future of Television. Toronto: Toronto Uni Press.
  • Turkle, S. (2016). Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. London: Penguin.
  • Vaidhyanathan, S. (2018). Anti-social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy. Oxford: OUP.
  • Van Dijck, J. (2013). The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. Oxford: OUP.
  • Winston, B. (1998). Media, Technology and Society: A History - From the Telegraph to the Internet. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Wolff, M. (2015). Television is the New Television: The Unexpected Triumph of Old Media in the Digital Age. New York: Portfolio/Penguin.
  • Zuboff, S. (2019). The Age of Surveillance: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. London: Basic.

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Key words search

Communication technologies, Media History, Network Society, Audiences, Users, Internet, Convergence

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