MDIA 3312 - Media Democracies and E-Participation

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course incorporates online and offline elements to engage with media's constitutive and dynamic role in forming public and political opinion in democracies. In Part 1, it moves from concepts of mass 'public spheres' in which news has a nation-building place, to analyses of the realities of contemporary fragmented media 'publics' and the political communication practices in new media forms. The focus is on understanding what is at stake for democracies in the broader public access to information, in new methods of engaging citizens in lobbying and policy formation, and in the struggles over relations of power and influence when public campaigning and lobbying occur. The course has a communication praxis element: media forms analysed and practised include the letter campaign, press release, interview, opinion, the political speech, editorial, feature, campaign or lobby website, blog, and tweet. Visual forms of argument (the graph, cartoon, and photo essay) are included. In Part 2, students participate publicly in democratic debate by entering multiplatform public conversations; and utilising various textual modes and techniques of persuasive communication.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MDIA 3312
    Course Media Democracies and E-Participation
    Coordinating Unit Media
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of level 1 undergraduate study
    Course Description This course incorporates online and offline elements to engage with media's constitutive and dynamic role in forming public and political opinion in democracies. In Part 1, it moves from concepts of mass 'public spheres' in which news has a nation-building place, to analyses of the realities of contemporary fragmented media 'publics' and the political communication practices in new media forms. The focus is on understanding what is at stake for democracies in the broader public access to information, in new methods of engaging citizens in lobbying and policy formation, and in the struggles over relations of power and influence when public campaigning and lobbying occur. The course has a communication praxis element: media forms analysed and practised include the letter campaign, press release, interview, opinion, the political speech, editorial, feature, campaign or lobby website, blog, and tweet. Visual forms of argument (the graph, cartoon, and photo essay) are included. In Part 2, students participate publicly in democratic debate by entering multiplatform public conversations; and utilising various textual modes and techniques of persuasive communication.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Mary Griffiths

    Napier 902
    mary.griffiths@adelaide.edu.au
    + 61 8 83134838
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course, students will :

     1) display a strong understanding of the connections between media and political culture in Australian democracy

     

    2) understand and be able to evaluate the factors involved in information flows in a public debate, and the issues of power and exclusion;

     

    3) possess a sound grasp of the influence of mainstream, advocacy and citizen journalism in diverse forms of communication;

     

    4) understand, and be able experience through the eSIM, the personal, professional, political and ethical pressures exerted during a mediated moral panic

     

    5) be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of selected aspects of the machinery of government, the role of the public and parliamentary services, and the current forms of media engagement and policy consultation with citizens;

     

    6) possess an excellent theoretical and practical knowledge of the forms of mediatization, e-participation, and of e-democracy trends through simulated learning;

     

    7) be able to demonstrate improved skills in argumentation to a professional standard, through writing selected forms of political genres, such as biography, press releases, reportage, news, speeches, opinion, commentary, and social media texts;

     

    8)  possess developed investigative research, professional presentation, and rhetorical skills; and

     

    9)  possess a working knowledge of journalists’ and other professional codes of conduct.

     

     

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1- 9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2-8
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 3, 4,6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2,4,7,8
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 3, 4, 6
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 4, 5,7,8
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 4, 7, 8, 9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 4,5,6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Readings will be available online in MyUni.

    Online resources will be added to the repository as necessary.
    Recommended Resources
    Daily reading of national and international news sources.
    Online Learning
    This is a blended learning course.

    Part 1 uses MyUni to establish the framework of the course. All course material and announcements are posted there. Regular checking of MyUni is required.

    Part 2, the roleplay scenario, requires both class attendance, as well as online participation in the Digital Information Flows eSIM.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures, flipped lectures, simulated press conferences, tutorials and online activities. Full participation in the authentic learning that this course offers is key to achieving the learning objectives.

    The Digital Information Flows Scenario (DIFS) is fictional, students help co-create it, and its events are triggered by a moral panic chosen from contemporary examples in Australian public life.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    3 class contact hours.

    'Live Event' attendance (timed for the Part 2 lecture periods) is essential.
    Learning Activities Summary

    Media represents, anchors and changes power relations in the world of public affairs. The course provides the knowledge and skills to allow you to participate more fully, through practical exercises.

     

    These include – depending on your DIFS E-SIM role – the organisational, written and oral communication tasks frequently encountered by a government official, activist, stakeholder, press officer, political reporter, media communications officer, concerned citizen, or citizen journalist. It prepares students for media citizenship, consumption and future employment, by developing and synthesising theoretical, ethical and practical perspectives.

     

    Through the theoretical frameworks and the E-SIM role-play, students experience the ways that information ‘flows’ and can be blocked. Importantly, the course scopes the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies, and analyses the impact of the emerging participatory practices of citizens and influential groups. 

    Specific Course Requirements
    Students are required to attend and participate, particularly online and in Part 2 Live Events.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The E-SIM, Digital Information Flows Scenario, gives students the opportunity to work in small advocacy groups to co-create public events. The groups are networked across the E-SIM, but individuated in terms of objectives, practices, and organisational hierarchies: they can be, for example, political parties, newspapers, civil society activists, agencies, or NGOs. All groups receive specific tuition and mentoring on their roles and activities from the Course Coordinator.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Part 1 assesses the student's deveopment of persuasive communication strategies and techniques, through analysis, praxis and participation (Portfolio 1, 50%)

    Part 2 requires evidence of the student's participation, design input and contribution to the implementation of a campaign strategy. Participation online and in Live Events, and the individual and group texts produced in public campaigns, are assessable components (Portfolio 2, 50%)
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students must be able to attend planning, trigger and 'Live Event' lecture periods, as well as regularly access MyUni.
    Assessment Detail
    Research, writing, organisational, and presentation activities.
    Submission
    Assignments may be submitted online and through the Humanities School Office, Level 7, Napier Buliding, as required by the instructions posted on the course MyUni website.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    SELTS are conducted.

    A regular feedback channel is provided through a blog on the course website on MyUni.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.