This subpage was formerly titled Media Literacy. It was moved here in lieu of merging it with the main article and kept for historical reference.

Welcome to the Media Literacy module. This module is all about critical thinking (an online definition)[1] - to enable students to read the media critically, particularly through facilitating discussion about issues of truth and representation in the media. This module will build on and complement the skills developed in other modules in the School of Media Studies - all of which engage the student in a critical appraisal of the media.

What is Media Literacy? Edit

Media literacy is defined by Ofcom, the UK media regulatory body, as:

"the ability to access, understand and create communications in a variety of contexts". [2]

Media literacy is defined by American educators as the "ability to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate in a wide variety of forms." (Aufderheide 1994, p. 8).

Some people consider media literacy to be an expansion of traditional conceptualizations of literacy. Media literacy takes into account more variables (ie. not just text, but audio, visual and spoken media), and positions literacy within a whole range of socio-cultural, economic and political frameworks which shape the way the media is produced, accessed and understood.

Why is it important? Edit

Howard Rheingold (often called the "first netizen") wrote in OhMyNews:

"People need to know how to use the Internet to think for themselves instead of swallowing ideas fed to them by others. That won't happen without a deliberate education campaign in the application of critical thinking to online research." Rheingold, 2004

We can already see these issues emerging in Wikipedia, where sources have to be continually scrutinised for accuracy and relevancy. This should make us aware of the responsibility that any media participant plays, whether they are a journalist, a TV viewer, a radio host, or the owner of a media empire.

Media literacy should also help raise the debate of ideas in society. With information comes power and with power comes responsibility. Rheingold (2004) continued:

"People need to learn how to argue rationally and civilly online. It's a skill that is easily drowned out by legions of the rude. It's not a matter of manners. It's a matter of the basic respect the citizens of any democracy must offer one another, whether or not they agree."

What will I get out of this course? Edit

This course should enhance your understanding of the intellectual history of the media literacy movement in the United States, Canada and England.

Course sessions & activities Edit

This section needs to be developed

  • Comparing texts
  • Key concepts of media literacy
  • Media literacy around the world
  • Media composition: creating media
  • Great debates among media literacy practitioners
  • Enduring themes in media literacy
  • :Technical Paper on Collaborative Learning in Small Groups [3]

Resources Edit

Readings Edit

(I am just adding these as I find them - I hope to add more core readings, and to categorise them into separate projects/courses in time --Cormaggio 18:01, 13 January 2006 (UTC))

  • World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (2003) "Shaping information societies for human needs": civil society declaration to the World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS Civil Society Plenary, Geneva, 8th December 2003 [4]
  • Stark, Elisabeth (2006) Free culture and the internet: a new semiotic democracy. Open Democracy, 20th June 2006, online at:

Semi-related readings Edit

  • Forte, Andrea and Guzdial, Mark. (2005) "Motivation and Non-Majors in CS1: Identifying Discrete Audiences for Introductory Computer Science" IEEE Transactions on Education. 48(2), 248-253. Retrieved from
  • Imai, Yasuo (2003) Walter Benjamin and John Dewey: The Structure of Difference Between Their Thoughts on Education, Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2003, pp. 109-125