Course syllabus



SEMESTER 1, 2018

15 points


Luke Goode 
Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86030

Semester 1 office hours: Mondays 2-4pm
Office: Room 539, Human Sciences Building (201E)

Emma Blackett: (office hour: Friday 2-3pm, Room 656, HSB)
Astrid Crosland: (office hour: Thurs 1-2pm, Room 643, HSB)
Ania Grant: (office hour: Thurs 2-3pm, Room 643, HSB)
Nahyeon Lee: (office hour: Thurs 12-1pm, Room 643, HSB)
Susan Nemec: (office hour: Thurs 3-4pm, Room 643, HSB)
Canan Ezel Sertkaya: (office hour: Friday 2-3pm, Room 643, HSB)

Kerira Tapene: 
For information about Tuākana click here.

Ella Gibb: 
Lilly Harper:
Jack Chen: 
Max Collins:
Xavier Garneau-Roughan:  

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial
Lectures: Wednesdays 2-4pm, Room 098 in the Owen G. Glenn Building (Building number 260)
Tutorials: check Student Services Online for details (tutorials begin in Week 2) 

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

We know that media and communications are big business and we know that in the 21st century they have become a massive presence in our daily lives.  But arguments rage about what role and impact they actually have. Do they substantially influence our beliefs and behaviours or are we mostly just entertained or distracted by the media? Do we now live in a more informed and transparent society thanks to the proliferation of communication tools in recent times? Or do we live in a more 'dumbed-down' and trivialised culture as a result?

This course explores the past, present and future of communications media. In particular, it highlights the radical changes brought about by the recent development and diffusion of digital technologies. It explores the impact these changes have had upon communications and media industries, the content they produce and the audiences and users they serve.

Key concepts and theories of communication, technology and culture are introduced via a range of current controversies that serve as case studies in media culture. 

The course is designed for anyone with an interest in media and communication, regardless of whether you have studied these subjects previously.



Week 1 — February 28
Introduction to the course


Week 2 — March 7
Meanings and messages
Case study: the myth of Donald Trump

Week 3 — March 14
Producers, industries and markets
Case study: sport as media spectacle [Guest lecturer Dr Margaret Henley]

Week 4 — March 21
Audiences and users
Case study: remix culture and user generated content [Guest lecturer Dr Ethan Plaut]

Week 5 — March 28
Case study: the age of 'smart' media

{Mid-semester break / Easter}


Week 6 — April 18
Case study: TV in the Netflix era

Week 7— April 25

Week 8 — May 2
The internet
Case study: the power of social media


Week 9 — May 9

Case study: representation of Māori [Guest lecturer: Dr Stephen Turner]

Week 10 — May 16
Music [Guest lecturer: Associate Professor Nabeel Zuberi]
Case study: digital piracy

Week 11 — May 23
Celebrity culture [Guest lecturer: Associate Professor Misha Kavka]
Case study: YouTube celebrity Zoella

Week 12 — May 30
Conclusion / Revision 

Tutorial Participation: 10%

Media Analysis: 20%
Research Exercise: 10%
Essay: 20%
Exam: 40%
Your overall course mark is the sum of your assignments, tutorial participation and exam marks. There is no plussage on this paper. A total of 50% (C-) is the minimum pass mark for the course and you MUST sit the exam to pass this course. Details of assignments and deadlines will be posted under Assignments.


Most of the compulsory readings in this course will come from:
Jonathan Laurie and Oullette Gray (eds), Keywords for Media Studies, New York: 2017.

Because this book is available to access as an e-book via the University library (follow the above link), it is not essential to purchase your own copy. However, if you prefer to have the convenience of access to your own copy, the title is available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon, making it significantly cheaper than most hard copy textbooks.

Other readings (compulsory or recommended) beyond this text will be listed on a week-to-week basis.

A general reading list can be accessed through TALIS via the 'Reading Lists' link in the navigation menu.

You will also be required to undertake independent academic research and reading for coursework (beyond the references provided by teaching staff), and we will be offering guidance on this during the course.

The University of Auckland's expectation on 15-point courses, is that students spend 10 hours per week on the course. Students manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Students attend two hours of lectures each week and participate in a one-hour tutorial from week 2 of semester. This leaves seven hours per week outside the classroom to prepare for tutorials, assignments and the exam.

All coursework will be submitted online via Canvas (uploading to Canvas will also submit the work to See individual assignments for submission requirements and deadlines. We cannot accept and will not mark work submitted in hard copy.

Deadlines for coursework are non-negotiable. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you will require a doctor’s certificate. In such cases, extensions must be personally negotiated with your Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) before the assignment is due. Extensions must be approved in writing (e.g. via email) by your GTA. You should write "Extension approved by [GTA's name]" at the top of your assignment. All late assignments without a pre-approved extension will be penalised one mark per day late. An assignment submitted after the marked assignments have been returned to students, but before the end of the teaching semester will not be marked. However, it may be used for consideration of final marks. It is better to hand in a late assignment by the end of the teaching semester (Friday 9 June) than no assignment at all.

You must sit the final exam in order to pass this course. You will be given guidance on the exam and how to prepare in the final lecture of the course. It's essential you attend this exam preparation lecture (it may not be recorded). Exam timetables are published nearer the time. You will need to visit Student Services Online to get this information. Information about exam regulations, what to do if you are late for or miss and exam, how to apply for aegrotat or compassionate consideration etc. can all be found at the Examinations website.

This University (and the staff teaching this course) take any form of academic dishonesty (e.g. plagiarism) extremely seriously and it is compulsory for all incoming students to complete a short academic integrity module — see here for details [NB It is essential that you read this: ignorance of the requirements will not be considered a defence in cases of academic misconduct].

While we will post lecture recordings on Canvas, this is never a substitute for lecture attendance. We cannot guarantee that the recording technology will work smoothly each week or that recordings will be made available before the relevant tutorial (at which you will be required to discuss issues raised in the lecture). We may also edit material out for copyright reasons. International research has shown that students learn more effectively by using recordings to supplement in-class learning e.g. for clarifying or revising specific material, rather than relying on them as an alternative to attendance.

Course summary:

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