IRD 1009: Communications, Freedom and Democracy

 

Thursday Group 12-2pm

LH 127 Autumn Term

LH115 Spring Term

or

Friday Group 4-6pm (SN 201)

 

 

Tutor: Graham McBeath

 

 


The Module: aims to give you a comprehensive introduction to how to critically question and analyse various forms of a) communication , b) the media, its institutions and power and c) our individual freedom of action, thought, and speech as enabled or restricted by control of the flows of information - including that of democracy as a form of political control by public opinion - think of the phrase 'Enemy of the People'...

We will draw on not only politics but also economics, psychology, philosophy, social theory, history, technology, and information theory to gain more open ways of questioning the nature of communication.

Interspersed across the weeks will be sessions dedicated to developing your ability to explain things using analytical methods e.g. discourse analysis, network analysis, semiotics, marxism, liberal pluralism and so forth. You will find that you can use these in other modules on your Course.

And there will be sessions of the 'not a lot of people know that' type. For instance, we will discuss: Why trains transformed politics and media power...When the BBC was a private company?...How the internet started with London Bus queues...Why we can't communicate?....That national sovereignty is illusion in an age of global communications...How identity never really quite exists.

So while you need to know stuff; thinking by joining knowledge to reason and argument is more important. The former is merely a sign of a fixed mind easily pleased; but the latter points to a flourishing curious mind...never quite where it thought it was!

 

Who is the Tutor?

Graham McBeath, Senior Lecturer in Politics, appointed in 1993. Studied and taught at: University of Keele, London School of Economics, Oxford University.  Researches: Early history of the BBC; phenomenology, cybernetics; Anarchism, Libertarianism; complexity and post-cyborgs/AI. Favourite theorists: Adorno, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Hayek, Husserl. Likes: archery, cooking/food, 20th century avant-garde classical music and free jazz/improvisation. Dislikes fashion and popular culture.

E-mail address: graham.mcbeath@northampton.ac.uk 01604-892481

 


WHAT IS COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES?

Methods of transmitting information from one point to another have existed for as long as animate beings. It is perhaps only in recent times that humans have caught up with animals in terms of efficiency of communication (think of bats, dolphins, whales). Humans have passed from the media of cries and marks on stones and in caves to parallel computing and 4G/wireless mobiles. But the actual study of media, its producers, consumers and technologies is of more recent origin.

Communications studies despite much press criticism (ironic isn’t it) is hugely popular as an academic subject across the world. Much of its origins lie in the teaching of journalism in the US universities in the 1930s, and the widening boundaries of English literature and of Sociology in post-war Britain.

America, because it has a far less intellectually elitist culture than Britain and because it values highly the democratic idea of a strong press as a check upon the power of the establishment, has been less dismissive of a media studies which critically analyses the making and character of mass culture. The political and economic establishment in Britain, on the other hand, has often viewed the questioning of the agents and agencies of public power (which is part of what communications studies does) as tantamount to left-wing trouble-making. (The same can be said of sociology). After all, what starts out as academic analysis may get translated into popular or radical criticism of powerful institutions – which is usually not welcome.  Secondly, in Britain, historically speaking, universities are thought of as places of high culture, and thus the study of popular cultural forms celebrated in mass communications and media is deemed unworthy of them. All in all then, the antagonism to communications and media studies demonstrates resentment and cultural resistance by the very power elite networks (press, politicians, media moguls, cultural arbiters) which are subject to scrutiny by media studies.

Communications studies in Britain as an arm of politics and a critical sociology expanded greatly in the sixties with the creation of a series of new universities (Sussex, Kent, Lancaster, Essex etc.), the rise of the `New Left’ and neo-marxism, and a clamour for inter-disciplinary analysis. Marxism’s attempts to explain all human activity in terms of the failings and injustices of capitalist society eventually led it to explain how media systems had the power to dupe the masses into adopting beliefs favourable to capitalist ideology. Such analysis was on the lips of `New Left’ intellectuals lecturing in the new universities. So it was that the study of media became linked to academic politics and sociology and left-wing thought critical of the interdependency between media, political, and economic power. During the late sixties and early seventies, the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) directed by Stuart Hall led the world in the development of a neo-marxist analysis of media and culture influenced by the work of Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser.

The singular focus of such marxist accounts upon media forces dominating and determining the audiences’ views and values, by the end of the seventies gave way to a more complex account of the effects of the media. It became clear that audiences were not simply dupes of media messages, and that they re-interpreted them in line with their own interests and experience. This shift away from simplistic marxist approach led communications studies to a plurality of viewpoints from which to analyse the media, notably from the side of the producers (owners, policy, institutions, capitalists), the consumers (audiences, individuals, effects), and the technology (from analogue to digital).

 

 The nature of the sessions

Stuff I talk directly to you about: 

Introduces the main themes of the topic

Addresses the important debates within an intellectual discipline

Discusses the major writers and their contributions to a debate

Evaluates and develops lines of criticism of significant texts

Opens up the lecturers’ views for students to criticise

Is not an objective, neutral description of `the facts

Does not tell you all you need to know about a topic (i.e. reading is imperative!)

 

Stuff WE talk about

Explores further the themes of a lecture

Requires participation by YOU

Is based on wide reading including any set text

Develops argument and debate about the issues

Stresses the importance of criticism of what you have read

Clarifies what is often quite difficult material

Is interactive between YOU, the other students and the tutor

Works by thinking and talking.

 

 

Reading:

Reading is essential: that one-to-one engagement between you and the text – not just to acquire information, facts, stuff useful to put in essays - but to gain understanding of someone’s analysis and explanation of some things, events, processes…AND to which you can respond critically by reading further and thereby re-construct for better, more truthful, accounts.

 

Assessments: there are three assessments:

Code

Type of ASS

Rubric

Learning outcomes

value

Hand-in date

EX

Exam

2-hour exam

a-d

50%

May 2018

PS1

Group Presentation

Comparison of two press or broadcast sources dealing with the same story

c, d, e

20%

31st Jan or 1st Feb

PS2

Explication

1200-word critical analysis of a magazine or newspaper article

a, b, c, f

30%

8th March

 

 

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On successful completion of the module, with detailed guidance students will be able to:

Subject-Specific Knowledge, Understanding & Application

a)      relate different kinds of media concepts and explanations to examples drawn from democratic and non-democratic regimes

b)      explain the differences between production, text, audience and power centred theories

c)       discuss the relationship between media and the organisation of political societies

d)      convey ideas and arguments linking politics and the media, in both written and oral form

Employability & Changemaker Skills

e)      structure and co-operate in the building of argument in group discussion

f)       utilise on-line material and develop judgment as to its quality and reliability in written/project work

 

 

The session schedule:

Below is a list of the topics that we shall be covering n this module. I am aware that the class is a combination of International Relations and Politics and Economics students and so I have suggested sessions that address subject areas of both disciplines.

Against quite a few of the sessions  have mentioned key theorists/writers names - your job is to see what you can find out about them...even if from a Wiki.

 


Thursday

Friday

Term One (2018)

4th Oct

5th Oct

1 Intro week

11th Oct

12th Oct

2 What is communication? Do we ‘communicate’? The ‘economics’ of the self and others as bodies and minds: (Luhmann/McLuhan)

18th Oct

19th Oct

3 Identity in the age of endless media. Communication is to get across ‘our point of view’ – but do we ever know what it is? (Baudrillard)

25th Oct

26th Oct

4 Connecting up communications with freedom and democracy: free speech; the ability to perform it and public opinion: (Mill)

1st Nov

2nd Nov

5 Information, Bias, Reason: the economics of Code (Shannon)

8th Nov

9th Nov

6 Media Production: PSB and Reith’s empire for democracy and the rise of commercial TV (John Reith; David Hendy; Paddy Scannell)

15thNov

16th Nov

7 Taking stock of your thoughts – on-line blog

22nd Nov

23rd Nov

8 Media Consumption: Elitism, class and the media: does ‘class’ still matter?

29th Nov

30th Nov

 9 Media Analysis I – Semiotics and Class (Roland Barthes)

6th Dec

7th Dec

10 Is some information more important than others? High culture; popular culture and the concept of the Public Sphere. (Habermas)

13th Dec

14th Dec

11 The Economics of TV: Public goods versus capitalism from Reith (1922) to Peacock (1986) and Digitalisation (1997-8)

 

 

 

 

 

Term Two (2019)

10th Jan

11th Jan

1 The Press 1700 – 1987 (Curran & Seaton)

17th Jan

18th Jan

2 The Press in the age of the Internet

24th Jan

25th Jan

3 Media as Material Culture: Gadgets and their adoption (Bowden & Offer)

31st Jan

1st Feb

4 Presentation Groups

7th Feb

8th Feb

5 Media Analysis II – Discourse, rhetoric, power. (Kress & Hodge)

14th Feb

15th Feb

6 Does discourse relate to power? The problem of social media and socio-political and economic stability & the Alt-right.

21st Feb

22nd Feb

7 On-line preparation exercise for Explication

28th Feb

1st Mar

8 The Emergence of Communications networks and the economics of Information (Mueller; deNardis)

7thMar

8th Mar

9 Media Analysis III – Modelling Networks. (Barry Wellman, John Scott)

14th Mar

15th Mar

10 Politics of the Internet – Morality, Sovereignty, Markets. (Laura deNardis)

21st Mar

22nd Mar

11 Preparation for next term.

 

 

Two classic texts worth getting hold of:

McQuail, D.   McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, London: Sage.

Curran, J. and Seaton, JPower without ResponsibilityRoutledge.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY  TEXTS

Crisell, A. An Introduction to the History of BroadcastingRoutledge.

McQuail, D. and Windahl, S. Communication ModelsLongman publ.

Roy Greeslade. Press Gang.

 Please bear in mind that the books mentioned here will be useful throughout the module – whether they are specifically given as reading for particular lectures or not. 

 Amazon can be found at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/

Also always look at their second-hand & discounted offers, but remember these will not carry  the free postage and packing that Amazon itself offers. 

Newspapers : Various newspapers have Media Review sections, but perhaps the best is to be found in Monday’s Guardian in the G2 pull out section. Curiously, the FT – the Financial Times is very good for media stories. You can also find the Media Guardian online at https://www.theguardian.com/uk/media

and note the various media sector websites on the man Media Guardian main page.

 

The tabloids, while interesting as objects of study, tend to be of little value as providers of information and discussion or as stimulators of critical thought and reflection.

 

 It is expected that you will keep up with current affairs and news on radio, TV, and via a broadsheet newspaper. Be Informed.

 

INFO ON UK VIEWER, LISTENER AND PRESS READERSHIP FIGURES ARE COLLECTED BY:

 

for Broadcast media: BARB

 

for Radio: RAJAR

 

for the Pres, Magazines both off-line and on-line: ABC/ABCe

 

 

Press Gazette is also very good for stuff on the press and magazine industry

 

Newsworks has a digest of market/industry info, figures etc

 

British Film Institute (BFI) host masses of pages on TV and its history including vids of whole programmes

 

London School of Economics Media & Comms Blog - huge database of all kinds of relevant material

 

Oxford University: Programme in Comparative Media law and Policy

 

European Commission: Audio-Visual/Broadcasting/Cultural matters

 

 

Guidance on Assessments:

 

THE  GROUP PRESENTATION: 

 This assignment requires you, as part of a group of 4-6 people to present a comparative analysis of POLTICAL Reporting using 2 different newspapers or TV channels.

 Timing-wise, you should average at 3 minutes per person – e.g. if your presentation involves 6 people, it should last approximately 18 minutes. Sift out unnecessary waffle and get to the point!!

 So as to avoid last minute panics, get organised well in advance of this. That means you need to start getting into groups and sorting out who is doing early.. Do not say you weren’t warned!

 We want you to demonstrate how political explanations are constructed by newspapers or television. In other words, we want you to analyse the articles, identify and compare the techniques and the factors by which they each tell the story and the effect of these techniques upon the overall meaning conveyed to the reader.

 Here are some more detailed guidelines: 

STAGE ONE: CHOOSING YOUR ARTICLES 

You will not find any shortage of possible items to use for this assignment. However, it will be to your advantage to collect a number of potential articles over a period of one or two weeks in order to give yourselves maximum choice. Do not make your decision on what articles to use on the basis of personal interest in the story.

 STAGE TWO: CONDUCTING THE ANALYSIS: Consider how the media give an account of the political 'event' they are covering. How do they explain it - what factors do they use and how do they relate them into a story.

 STAGE THREE: PRESENTING:  The most important thing, perhaps, is presenting it to your group in an interesting, engaging and clearly understandable fashion. Notably, you will need to find an effective way of showing the audience the article so they can follow your analysis. Another valuable tip is that in most cases, those who present by talking from notes, demonstrating points visually and establishing eye contact with the audience come across as more engaging and convincing than those who read monotone fashion with their eyes down.

 Assessment criteria:

Plausibility, sophistication & thoroughness of analysis

Ability to relate analysis to theoretical debates and discussions covered on IRD 1009

Effectiveness of presentation skills & use of visual aids

Evidence of group cohesion and overall coherence of the presentation

 

 

Marking:

Your mark is largely determined by the overall quality of the group presentation, but also takes into account individual contributions.

 Each group will be given a joint overall mark, but individual contributions will be marked up to 3 per cent above or below this as appropriate. For example, if your group is given a joint mark of C+ your individual marks may range from C to B- if the assessor deems the quality of your individual performances to have significantly varied in quality… It is the individual marks which will be recorded and carried forward... So work as group, not as a collection of desperate individuals who get together at the last minute!

 

Explication Text Assignment:  Explication should be c. 1200 words long

 How to do it:

 First: READ THE TEXT carefully& take notes identifying the key points and arguments.

 The point of this piece of work is to get you to combine analytical reading with a `thick’ reflective analysis of what you have read. With this sort of work you cannot just state what someone has written, rather you need to draw out the implications of the piece – if they are correct in their analysis, what does it say about the nature of society, or the power of the media etc., and does their account of such matters stand up?

 Explication essays:

Require you to read very carefully the chosen text

Obliges line by line understanding of the text’s meaning and its context

Necessitate a clear analysis of what the text is about

And a clear exposition of your criticisms of the text’s claims

 Criteria for the Explication:

1) Context: when, where, why, and by whom was the piece written? If a piece was written in the 18th or 19th century, the cultural and moral values common then were very different to today’s. You need to recognise this, as it helps explain why someone thinks as they do. Again if the piece was written for a french or a german audience, the focus, style and assumptions driving the piece will tend to be tailored to their outlook and interests. This kind of thing needs to be noted. If the piece is written by a right or left-wing politician this will help to explain why they say what they say. Equally a piece might be written because it is topical, eg., say - on media coverage of  popular protest (over sex offenders or petrol prices). Set up the context.

 2) Analysis of the argument: What is the main point of the piece? Emphasise, and quote if you wish, the arguments and evidence which lead to the main conclusion. You need to bring out the flow of the argument. It is not enough to put into your own words what the author has written. Don’t merely paraphrase. Discuss in detail the structure of the argument.

 3) Criticism: in the light of his own and other evidence, and of logical reasoning, is the authors’ argument sustainable?  Use counter-evidence based on your research to dispute the argument of the piece, and to show that its conclusions and claims do not hold. Do the authors’ conclusions follow from the evidence? Identify the weaknesses of the piece AND indicate how it could be improved.

 HOW DO I DO ALL THIS?

a) read the piece line by line and attempt to grasp the overall argument. Identify where the article is coming from - what overall point it is arguing; do not just grasp what the piece is about, eg if it is about media power or bias in newspapers - you should he able to pick out what the author's 'take' is.. Does s/he think bias a good thing; a bad thing? Inevitable? Where's the author coming from on the topic of the piece? You need to make sure you tell us about this.

 b) having got the 'hang of the piece' , tell us about the context - why it has been written - what are the issues that surround the piece. For instance, a piece about sex and violence on TV is not there just because it is of purely scientific interest; it's there because there are public issues about the effects of S&V on TV; does it harm the kiddies etc.? Let's face it, S&V is always an issue of interest.

 And there may be more scientific reasons as well. Perhaps there is an article, or someone of influence has said something that draws conclusions which the piece we want you to explicate, is attempting to attack or defend.

 Perhaps it is a wide-ranging piece about media and its cultural impact across the centuries. It is therefore contributing to the debate about human values and the cultural harm that, say, TV or the Internet do for society and/or individuals, as opposed to, say, the cultural good that books and great paintings do. This would be the surrounding debate wouldn't it?

So, tell us about the contextual issues surrounding the piece you are analysing.

 AND THEN having done that...

c) take a set of notes identifying the main points (rather than any old point of information) and arguments that lead to the conclusion the author draws. If the piece is on bias, an author may discuss bias in different kinds of reporting based on a study of newspapers. Thus they build up the data which leads to the conclusion - s/he marshalls the evidence. Recognise i) what and ii) how the evidence is marshalled. In your explication you need to tell us in what way - by the processes involved - the author does all this. So, take us through the main arguments. Link them to the various kinds of evidence that has been used by the author.

 HAVING DONE THAT...

d) LOOK FOR CRITICISMS

 DO NOT TELL US THAT THE AUTHOR IS UP THERE WITH SHAKESPEARE AND JOYCE, OR IS ILLITERATE.

 DO NOT TELL US THAT HE IS BIASED BECAUSE HE HAS A POINT OF VIEW…

OF COURSE HE HAS, THAT IS WHY HE HAS WRITTEN THE ARTICLE: TO ATTACK ONE POINT OF VIEW AND DEFEND (with reasons and thought out arguments) HIS OWN POINT OF VIEW.

HOW DO I CRITICISE THEN?

First you read around the topic of the piece to gather evidence over and above the authors stuff; talk to us about this for further useful reading.

 WHAT YOU DO NOT DO IS TO SIMPLY SAY YOU DISAGREE WITH THE AUTHOR BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT HE SAYS. YOU MUST GIVE REASONS FOR YOUR VIEW AND NOT MAKE CRUDE ASSERTIONS.

 TO CRITICISE: You want to pick holes in the author's arguments. To do this you have to find either A) a flaw in the authors reasoning - that a conclusion does not follow from the evidence OR B) there is a pile of evidence around which leaves open to question, the validity of the authors evidence.

 For instance if the author has interviewed 200 people about their views on pornography and reports that 95% say it is appalling, dangerous, and morally wicked, you might begin to wonder who he talked to. If you find out that he only talked to people over 60 who lived in Tunbridge Wells or were religious fundamentalists, you might think that his sample was not a fair sample. Thus your criticism would be that the interview sample was unrepresentative in terms both of age and variety of primary moral values. Crudely put, the criticism is that the author had 'fixed the jury'.

 Equally, the author may be tempted from his results to INFER that a huge majority of the population at large held anti-pornography views. Of course the conclusion may be true ANYWAY, but that does not mean that the conclusion can be INFERRED (drawn) from the authors data, precisely because his data sample is so unrepresentative that it does not allow one to go from the particular data to the generalised conclusion.

 C) A THIRD WAY OF CRITICISING is to draw attention to the things that are left out. Now obviously, an author cannot say everything; but it may be that there are such glaring omissions, that they deserve comment.

 For instance if an author is tracing the history of media only in terms of progression from simple speech to electronic media, you might want to argue that, even in the late 20th century many societies do not possess TV or have very restricted use of them, and thus depend far more than others on oral traditions (stories) or performance (dance/plays) for entertainment and information. Thus your criticism would be that the author should not just have traced media development in terms of a single line of media development and progress, but should have recognised that there are various rates of media development throughout the world.

 


                        Below is the grid we use to mark and grade your work: we will fill in the cells that relate to the

                        Learning outcomes specified for each piece of work


Learning Outcomes addressed through this assignment

No submission / no evidence

Fail

Pass

Commended

Merit

Distinction

 

Work submitted is of no academic value / nothing submitted

Evidence included or provided but missing in some very important aspects.

Of satisfactory quality, demonstrating evidence of achieving the requirements of the learning outcomes

Of sound quality, demonstrative which is sufficient and appropriate to the task or activity

Of high quality, demonstrating evidence which is rigorous and convincing, appropriate to the task or activity

Of very high quality, demonstrating evidence which is strong, robust and consistent, appropriate to the task or activity

a) relate different kinds of media concepts and explanations to examples drawn from democratic and non-democratic regimes

 

 

 

 

 

 

b) explain the differences between production, text, audience and power centred theories

 

 

 

 

 

 

c) discuss the relationship between media and the organisation of political societies

 

 

 

 

 

 

d) convey ideas and arguments linking politics and the media, in both written and oral form

 

 

 

 

 

 

e) structure and co-operate in the building of argument in group discussion

 

 

 

 

 

 

f) utilise on-line material and develop judgment as to its quality and reliability in written/project work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General feedback

 

 

Improvements for future assignments



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Appendices:

These are the criteria required to achieve each classification at: Level 4

 An outstanding Distinction

A+

Work which fulfils all the criteria of the grade below, but at an exceptional standard

 

A very strong Distinction

A

Work of distinguished quality which is based on a rigorous and detailed knowledge base, including major theories of the discipline(s) and awareness of the variety of ideas, contexts and frameworks and wider implications.  Work will demonstrate sustained ability to analyse, synthesise, evaluate and interpret concepts, principles and data within field of study in a considered manner, as well as to develop convincing arguments and judgements appropriate to the field of study/ assessment task.  There will be strong evidence of competence across a range of specialised skills using them to plan, develop and evaluate problem solving strategies, to challenge received opinion and develop own judgements. Clear evidence of capability to operate autonomously and self-evaluate in situations of varying complexity and predictability, but within defined guidelines will be demonstrated. Outputs will be communicated effectively, accurately and reliably.

 

A clear Distinction

A-

Work of very good quality which displays most but not all of the criteria for the grade above.

 

A Distinction

B+

Work of highly commendable quality which clearly fulfils the criteria for the grade below, but shows a greater degree of capability in relevant intellectual, subject, key skills.

 

A very strong Merit

B

Work of commendable quality based on a strong detailed knowledge base for the field of study, including an assured grasp of concepts, principles and major theories, together with effective deployment of skills relevant to the discipline and assessment task.  There will be evidence of considered analysis, synthesis, evaluation and application, and the ability to work effectively with minimum direction to meet defined objectives and develop own judgements.  There will be consistent evidence of capability in all relevant subject based and key skills, including the ability to self-evaluate and work autonomously with minimal direction to use effectively a range of techniques in situations of varying complexity and predictability.

 

A strong Merit

B-

Work of good quality which contains most, but not all of the characteristics of the grade above.

 

 

A clear Merit

 

C+

 

Work which clearly fulfils all the criteria of the grade below, but shows a greater degree of capability in relevant intellectual/subject/key skills.

 

A Merit

C

Work of sound quality based on a firm factual/ conceptual knowledge base for the field of study, including a good grasp of relevant theories, together with the ability to organise and communicate effectively.  The work may be rather standard and limited in its theoretical grasp, but will be mostly accurate and provide some evidence of the ability to analyse, synthesise, evaluate and apply standard methods/techniques, with minimal guidance. There will be no serious omissions or inaccuracies.  There will be good evidence of ability to take responsibility for own learning, some capability to challenge received opinion and form own judgments.  Evidence of the ability to operate with increased autonomy in situations of varying complexity and predictability, selecting and applying appropriate techniques will be demonstrated within limits. There will be competence in relevant key skills.

 

A very strong Pass

C-

Work of capable quality which contains some of the characteristics of grade above.

 

A strong Pass

D+

Work of satisfactory quality demonstrating a reliable knowledge base and evidence of developed key skills and/or subject based skills, but still containing limited evidence of analysis, synthesis, evaluation or application, or of appropriate detail or skill application.

 

A Pass

D

Work of broadly satisfactory quality covering adequately the factual and/or conceptual knowledge base of the field of study and some key theories, appropriately presented and organised, but is primarily descriptive or derivative, with only occasional evidence of analysis, synthesis, evaluation or application.  There may be some misunderstanding of key concepts/principles/theories and limitations in the ability to select relevant material or techniques and/or in communication or other relevant skills, so that the work may include some errors, omissions or irrelevancies.  There will be evidence of ability to operate with some autonomy in predictable contexts, but less evidence of ability to operate in more complex or unpredictable situations.  However, there will be evidence of ability to use a variety of standard techniques, and to meet threshold standards in relevant key skills.

 

A bare Pass

D-

Work of bare pass standard demonstrating some familiarity with and grasp of a factual/conceptual and theoretical knowledge base for the field of study, together with evidence of some ability to employ specialist skills to solve problems within area of study, but only just meeting threshold standards in e.g. evaluation and interpretation of data and information, reasoning and soundness of judgment, communication, application, or quality of outputs. Work may be characterised by some significant errors, omissions, limitations or problems, but there will be sufficient evidence of development and competence to operate in varied contexts taking responsibility for the nature and quality of outputs.

 

A marginal Fail

F+

Work which indicates some evidence of engagement with area of study in relation to acquisition of knowledge and understanding of concepts, principles and theories, and of specialist skills, but which is essentially misinterpreted, misapplied and/or contains some significant omission or misunderstanding, or otherwise just fails to meet threshold standards in e.g. communication, application or quality of outputs.

 

A Fail

F

Work that falls well short of the threshold standards in relation to one or more area of knowledge, intellectual, subject based or key skills. It may address the assessment task to some extent, or include evidence of successful engagement with some of the subject matter, but such satisfactory characteristics will be clearly outweighed by major deficiencies across remaining areas.

 

A comprehensive Fail

F-

Work of poor quality which is based on only minimal understanding, application or effort. It will offer only very limited evidence of familiarity with knowledge or skills appropriate to the field of study or task and/or demonstrate inadequate capability in key skills essential to the task concerned.

 

Non-submission

G

Nothing presented.

 

 Appendix 3

For more detailed information on the Harvard System of Referencing – including the citation of internet sources – or for a Quick Guide.

 

Appendix 4: STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM

 The University unequivocally condemns plagiarism, which it considers to be comparable to falsifying data and cheating in an examination, and warns students that the Senate looks gravely upon incidences of plagiarism and is empowered to recommend severe penalties where students are found guilty of plagiarism. (See Academic Misconduct)

Definition: The University considers plagiarism involves an intention to deceive and entails the submission for assessment of work which purports to be that of the student but is in fact wholly or substantially the work of another. Since it is difficult to establish such an intention to deceive except through practice the University defines plagiarism in the following way.

The University defines plagiarism as the incorporation by a student in work for assessment of material which is not their own in the sense that all or substantial part of the work has been copied without any attempt at attribution or has been incorporated as if it were the student's own when in fact it is wholly or substantially the work of another person.

For further details on the policy and procedures regarding suspected academic misconduct, see the

University's STUDENT CODE and information on Academic Misconduct.

 


UNIVERSITY MODULAR FRAMEWORK - MODULE SPECIFICATION

This document forms the definitive overview as to the nature and scope of this module and is used in the University’s quality assurance processes.

FACULTY

Business & Law

SUBJECT AREA

Economics, International Relations & Development

SUBJECT FIELD

Economics, International Relations & Development

MODULE TITLE

Communication, Freedom and Democracy

 

MODULE CODE

LEVEL

CREDIT VALUE

MODULE LEADER

IRD1009

4

20

Graham McBeath

 

PRE-REQUISITES:        None

CO-REQUISITES:                    None

RESTRICTIONS:                     None

SUPPLEMENTARY REGULATIONS:                     No              

MODULE OVERVIEW:

The purpose of this module is to explore the variety of ways in which from earliest times to today, humans have not merely transmitted signals in an attempt to communicate, but have in so doing transformed whole cultures and disseminated variable global and more local orderings of political culture, power and societal relations.

 

INDICATIVE CONTENT:

* This module provides students with an introduction to the study of communications and media within the context of democratic politics.

* The module analyses the relations between power, politics and social and media networks.

* Part one of the module explores radio, television, newspapers and magazines and their history and regulatory systems

* Part two introduces some key media theories and concepts e.g. 'encoding and decoding', media as ideology, the public sphere; and analytical methods  e.g. semiotics/content analysis and how to apply them.

 

 

Module Learning Outcomes (add/delete rows as necessary)

 

On successful completion of the module, with detailed guidance students will be able to:

 

Subject-Specific Knowledge, Understanding & Application

 

g)      relate different kinds of media concepts and explanations to examples drawn from democratic and non-democratic regimes

 

h)      explain the differences between production, text, audience and power centred theories

 

i)        discuss the relationship between media and the organisation of political societies

 

j)        convey ideas and arguments linking politics and the media, in both written and oral form

 

Employability & Changemaker Skills

 

k)      structure and co-operate in the building of argument in group discussion

 

l)        utilise on-line material and develop judgment as to its quality and reliability in written/project work

 

 

Learning, Teaching and Assessment activities

Study hours

 

Contact hours: (total)

Comprising face-to-face and online contact hours as follows:

48

 

·         Face-to-face (total) - this may include the following:
(delete any that are not applicable)

 

-         Face to face interactive small group session (generic space in groups of approx. 30 e.g. seminars/workshops/tutorials)

42

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

·         Online contact hours (total)
(comprising online activities with mediated tutor input)

6

 

Guided independent study hours
(including hours for assessment preparation)

152

 

Module Total

200

 

 

ALIGNMENT OF LEARNING OUTCOMES AND ASSESSMENTS:

Assessment Activity

Learning Outcomes

Weighting (%)

Code

Assessment Type

Assessment Deliverables

 

 

EX

Exam

2-hour exam

a-d

50

PS1

Group Presentation

Comparison of two press or broadcast sources dealing with the same story

c, d, e

20

PS2

Explication

1200-word critical analysis of a magazine or newspaper article

a, b, c, f

30

 

The assessment items listed above are graded and contribute to the overall module grade (assessment of learning).

Learning Outcomes addressed through this assignment

No submission / no evidence

Fail

Pass

Commended

Merit

Distinction

 

Work submitted is of no academic value / nothing submitted

Evidence included or provided but missing in some very important aspects.

Of satisfactory quality, demonstrating evidence of achieving the requirements of the learning outcomes

Of sound quality, demonstrative which is sufficient and appropriate to the task or activity

Of high quality, demonstrating evidence which is rigorous and convincing, appropriate to the task or activity

Of very high quality, demonstrating evidence which is strong, robust and consistent, appropriate to the task or activity

Search for and locate relevant material from a wide variety of sources (primary and secondary)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distinguish relevant from irrelevant material

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synthesise , evaluate, analyse, assess and criticise sources relating to the law on confession evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effectively and clearly present and structure arguments in writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Academic / Professional quality

Unsatisfactory command of academic/ professional conventions appropriate to the discipline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

General feedback

 

 

 

Improvements for future assignments