understanding media

Week 9

Preparing for the Case Study
In this first part of the class we will explore two possible approaches to writing the Case Study based on the following topics: Narratives, Representations, Hot and Cool Media, and Participating in the Global Village.

Vehicle Strand: 'New Media' in a 'New World'?
In this first part of the class we look at the notion of ‘digital natives’ and the role digital interactivity plays in society. We will actively engage with digital technologies and produce short films to help us consider the dual role of consumer and generator of new information, or ‘prosumers’.
Required Reading: Branston and Stafford (2010), Ch. 8: '"New media" in a "new world"?'.

Environment Strand: Light-Through/Light-On
In this second part of the class we look at McLuhan's notion of light-through versus light-on as demonstrated by the technicality of television, where light comes from within the tv set and shines outwards in comparison to film where light is projected onto a screen in a cinema. McLuhan’s consideration of ‘light’ is explored in relation to the rise and impact of digital media.
Optional Reading: Levinson, 1999, Ch. 8.

Module Forum
Topics under discussion in the Module Forum this week will focus on unpicking your Case Study ideas. What is your initial focus for the Case Study? Will you focus on the Vehicle or Environmental Strand and why? How might you begin to widen your reading about the topic in question? We will also discuss the module's set text Branston and Stafford, the rise of Web 2.0 and interactivity, prosumers and McLuhan’s light-through probe in relation to participating in the Global Village and Hot/Cool Media.
For more information on the Module Forum see the section on Assessment in the Module Handbook.

Case Studies
If you choose to write a Case Study using the concepts drawn from this week's vehicle strand you will need to concentrate on some aspect of digital media production. Perhaps you might analyse the ideological power of the active user and how this breaks down stereotypes to enable the construction of new identities.
Useful Reading: Branston and Stafford, 2010, Ch. 8; Shirky, 2011; Turkle, 2011; O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008; Chandler, 1998; Gauntlett and Horsley, 2004; Buckingham, 2007.
If you would rather make use of McLuhan's discussion of light-through/light-on probe you might like to choose a particular communications technology, such as computer screen, digital video or photography etc, and discuss whether it represents the notion of light-through or light-on.
Useful Reading: Levinson, 1999, Ch. 8; McLuhan, 1964; Carpenter and McLuhan, 1960; Gackenback, 2006.
Whatever you choose, you will probably want to arrange a tutorial with the Module Tutor. For more information on the Case Study see the section on Assessment in the Module Handbook.

Before Next Week's Class You Need To...
(1) Read Branston and Stafford (2010), Ch. 6: 'Ideologies and Discourses'.

If you're stuck or confused, post your problem on the Module Forum or .