Course Title: Media and Meaning

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Media and Meaning

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


335H Applied Communication


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008

Course Coordinator: Allan James THOMAS

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3125

Course Coordinator

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

COMM - 2072 Reading Media Texts OR permission of the lecturer.

Course Description

Media and Meaning is  compulsory for students in the Media stream of the B.Comm, and is available to other B.Comm students as an elective. It follows on from Reading Media Texts, and requires you to have done that course as a prerequisite. Where Reading Media Texts focuses on the critical understanding of media texts in relation to a variety of critical, historical and cultural contexts, Media and Meaning focuses on the media as such, rather than media texts. That is, it looks at various ways of thinking about what the media is (rather than individual media texts,) what it does, and what people do with it.

The course will introduce you to basic theories of the media in relation to technology, society and culture, and ask you to develop your critical understanding of them by researching  recent  developments in contemporary media in relation to those theories.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

By the end of this course, students should have:

- a critical understanding of basic theories of what the media is and does, and be able to relate those theories to their own media practices.
- the ability to to locate, evaluate and use a variety research resources appropriately in relation to different research contexts and outcomes.
- the ability to successfully complete a variety of directed research tasks, and to be able to articulate how these task might relate to and differ from each other.
- a basic understanding of the significance of a variety of different research contexts, and their impact upon research processes and outcomes.
- an understanding of the function and uses of a bibliography, including citation practices and requirements.

Students are to develop a practical grasp of how theoretical and critical ideas about the media can be related to developments in contemporary media - to develop skills in researching the media in order to understand where it might be heading. That is, you will learn about research by doing it, and by reflecting upon that doing. The emphasis is on research as a reflective and creative process that may be expressed in different ways and in different contexts, including, but not limited to, academic ones.

This course aims to:

- introduce you to basic theories of the media in relation to technology, culture and society.
- develop your ability to critically relate theoretical concepts to a contemporary media context.
- develop and enhance your research skills, as applied in both academic and non-academic contexts, including
- introduce you to reflective research practice as on ongoing professional activity linked to your own goals.
- develop your understanding of the role of research in the expression and creation of knowledge.

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures will introduce key theoretical concepts in relation to media, technology, society and culture. These concepts will be discussed critically in seminars in relation to research conducted by students throughout semester into developments in contemporary media.

Overview of Learning Resources

A required reading dossier will be available from the RMIT bookstore.

Students will need to access a wide variety of research resources, including, but not limited to: libraries, on-line academic databases, the internet and world wide web, email, newspapers, radio and T.V., and public forums. Much of this material will be sourced and shared by students themselves in the course of their research, and in seminars.

An extensive Referencing Guide for courses in Media is available as a PDF on-line, from the ’Students’ page of the RMIT Media website . You are expected to read it thoroughly, and put it into practice.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment in this course emphasizes the process of research, and therefore requires you to demonstrate a continuous engagement throughout semester, in several key ways. Assessment tasks will require you to gather and critically analyse research materials building towards your final project. These may include weekly small research tasks, some participation component  and two substantial assignments. The final project will not be a traditional essay, although it will include various forms of written critical analysis which express and reflect your research.