Course Title: Community Media

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Community Media

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


335H Applied Communication


Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008

Course Coordinator: Leo Berkeley

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3014

Course Coordinator

Course Coordinator Location: 6.6.14

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is an elective for students within the School of Applied Communication and has no prerequisites.

Course Description

The community sector of the Australian media is vibrant and well-established, offering a cultural site where principles of access, diversity, innovation and localism are still prominent and actively practised. For students in Applied Communication, community media has also offered opportunities for developing newly acquired knowledge and skills in a ‘real-world’ environment where their creative and professional work can reach a much broader audience beyond the university.

The elective Community Media provides students with opportunities to engage in a diverse range of project work by “getting out there” to work in community media - applying their developing professional capabilities within a broader social context; engaging with the cultural, ethical and communication issues that arise in this context; and critically reflecting on the significance of community media in Australian society.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Community Media aims to develop and enhance students’ knowledge and understandings of what it means to work in community media, including the role the sector plays in wider media and community contexts within a democratic society. By applying students’ skills, knowledge and expertise to on-the-ground projects, this elective aims to support their development, both as members of their profession and as members of the wider community.

The course aims to develop the following capabilities:

  • Students’ conceptual and critical thinking, through exposure to learning both within their disciplinary field and the community media sector. 
  • Students’ critical engagement with professional practice, by focusing it within a broader conceptual framework of social, ethical and community concerns.
  • Students’ capacity for self-managed learning and for working collaboratively in diverse social and cultural environments.
  • Students’ understandings of the issues of access and diversity within the field of communications, in both policy and practice.

On completion of the course students will have gained:

  • Critical understandings of the role of community media in contemporary society and culture.
  • An ability to Identify and critically reflect on key technological challenges and opportunities that impact on community media.
  • The skills to collaborate and negotiate within a community media context on a shared project.
  • An awareness of the ethical issues that arise within community media practice and how these issues relate to students own understandings of ethical practice.

Overview of Learning Activities

A variety of activities will be available as part of the course in helping to achieve the learning outcomes, including:

  • Community based project(s) in partnership with identified community media groups.
  • Student-led discussion groups/tutorials to assist in framing students’ practical experience.
  • The preparation of a portfolio of evidence that records students’ experiences and learning as identified through the project and their critical engagement with key readings and research tasks.
  • Analytical discussions and critique of current critical readings, including policies, issues and trends in applied media and communication, within the context of community media locally, nationally and internationally.

Overview of Learning Resources

  • The course dossier can be purchased from the RMIT bookshop or borrowed from the reserve desk of the RMIT library.
  • Key identified texts, policy papers, research papers and online material.
  • General and specialised computer labs.
  • The broader resources of the library and the AFI Research Collection will be valuable for students in this course.
  • Students will be working on a range of projects and accessing resources specific to project work in their discipline.
  • Subject to approval from the course coordinator, AV equipment and facilities within the School may be available.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment will focus on the ways students integrate their understanding of and experience in community media, through their practice (project work) and their critical reflections, both verbal and written. Relevant issues include:

  • the framing and development of the project;
  • working in partnership with community media groups towards negotiated outcome(s);
  • understanding the context of the organisation or group with which students are working, through research, reading and discussion; and
  • reflecting on the learning that has occurred as it relates to
    • students’ professional and ethical practice.
    • students’ personal development and their wider understanding of the social and cultural significance of community media.

All assessed work will be contained in a portfolio of evidence that will include:
  • Field Notes, which include a record of students’ comments and questions arising from group discussions and tutorials.
  • Documentation and/or outcomes of  project work.
  • An analytical essay in which critical readings are analysed and explored in response to key questions, including discussions as to how students’ experiences and learning in community media relate to their discipline and broader professional practice.