Understanding Contemporary Media

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Understanding Contemporary Media

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Communication, Media and Journalism, Media Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    An introduction to both the historical framework of media studies and the emergent contemporary discourses that define the discipline. Students will confront a series of issues (politics, aesthetics, and ideology) related to the topical concerns of media and communication theory.

    We live in a highly mediatised world. The paper will equip students with tools for engaging critically with this world in both New Zealand and international contexts. Students will be introduced to key concepts in media studies, and will be provided with useful strategies for writing about contemporary media in our increasingly complex world.

    Course Structure
    This course is divided into two modules:
    -Module one outlines the critical/cultural theory necessary for understanding contemporary media
    -Module two introduces students to media analysis, in particular discourse analysis

    -Take-home concepts test 25%
    -Essay 25%
    -Final Exam 50%

    Learning Outcomes
    -Gain a theoretical understanding of the social issues raised by contemporary media studies
    -Develop critical tools for analysing contemporary media
    -Develop an understanding of the distinctive and interconnected nature of contemporary media
    -Form necessary skills for writing about contemporary media

    O'Shaughnessy and Stadler, Media and Society: An Introduction (Fifth Edition - Oxford University Press, 2012).

    Articles will also be provided for students through Blackboard.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.