media studies www.ss sfcmedi astudies .blogsp ot.com a-level 2012/2014 course handbook 50% coursework, 50% examination examining board: wjec nick saward & matt o‟reganname: ___________________________block: ___________________________ brilliant
aims of the department.the media department shares the same aims as every other department at South Sefton Sixth FormCollege: to help you achieve the best possible grade in your A level and provide you with the guidance andsupport you need to make any relevant choices after you have finished the course.that is our reason for being here, that is the most important aim. There are other aims they include:• for students to become confident and independent „readers‟ of the media• for students to use expert skills of analysis• for students to experience and appreciate a range of media they would never usually engage with• for students to formulate their own ideas not just those that have been written before• for students to build confidence in presenting work, finding ways to articulate their ideas clearly, both written and spoken• for students to become expert researchers• for students to increase their enjoyment of the media they consumethat‟s probably enough for now, but remember this is your course - if you think that we should have moreaims for your experience of media studies, let us know.objectives of this handbook.one thing you cannot underestimate as you start your A level courses is the difference between the workethic, determination and independence needed to succeed in comparison with any courses you have donebefore. it is believed that A levels are the most difficult qualifications you can take because the leap from GCSE to A-level is greater than that from A-level to degree. this does not mean that A-levels are impossible – it just means that you need to take responsibility for your own work and ask for help when you need it. this handbook will go some way to provide a safety harness for this leap, or at least prepare you for what lies ahead. the game is always much easier to play if you know the rules!
your expectations - our commitment.• your teacher will be working hard to plan, write and deliver a course that ensures you have the opportunity to achieve your potential.s• your teacher will make sure you have the opportunity to improve your knowledge of the media and practise your exam technique through regular homework assignments.• your teacher will provide feedback on work that will help you improve.• your teacher will support you and help you if you are finding the subject or skills difficult.• your teacher will challenge you if you are finding the work too easy.• your teacher will ensure open communication throughout the course, whether• that is via email or even a conversation outside of lessons.• your teacher will provide resources and work for the subject VLE to enable you to work and revise independently.• your teacher will motivate you and help your individual needs - not just tell you to „get on with it‟.our expectations - your commitment.• most of all we expect you to want to work hard and achieve your potential in this course, otherwise, why did you take it and why are you here?• we expect you to attend all lessons, and be on time every lesson, fully equipped.• we expect you to make notes during every lesson.• we expect you to ask questions if you do not understand or need help.• we expect you to consume the media and read about the subject outside of the lessons.• we expect you to complete homework and coursework to the best of your ability and on time. At the end of the day, this is your course and your adventure. Our job is to guide you through it in a way that will ensure that you get the most of it and become an informed independent learner. We are not here to harass you or cajole you for an essay you should be interesting and beneficial for you to complete.
who is Michael Gove? (and does it matter?)the Rt Hon Michael Gove is an MP and member of the Conservative Party. Apart from all the things he hasto do to look after the people that live in his constituency, he also acts as the schools minister, whichmeans that he is the spokesperson for the coalition government on educational matters and that essentiallyhe is in charge of schools and education. he is also quite an outspoken politician who has views that some people have agreed with and made other people angry, either way he has enjoyed some press coverage and a little fame as a result, which was possibly his aim in the first place. A couple of years ago he caused controversy by claiming that some A levels should be worth more university points than others because, in his opinion, some subjects are more difficult than others which he described as: „soft subjects‟.Gove‟s example of a „soft subject‟ was Media Studies.he does not have a Media Studies A-level, nor does he have a Media Studies degree - what he is basing thisassumption on, or what criteria makes a subject „soft‟ (or „hard‟ for that matter) is not at all clear becausehe failed to mention this at all.he is 100% wrong about his assumptions of Media Studies just as he would be if he had made the sameclaims about any other A level subject. But let‟s look at a few reasons why he has been so shortsighted...• the media is possibly the fastest growing industry in the Western World.• the media is becoming a more dominant and controlling influence in our lives.• the media actually allows us to understand people through what they consume and what they produce (you would think that a politician would be aware of this!).• Media Studies uses detailed skills of analysis, research and production equal to any other A-level course.• a lot of things have changed since Michael Gove was in full time education!• Michael Gove‟s attention seeking comments would not be so widespread if it weren‟t for the media (maybe that‟s why he is so worried about us deconstructing it?). so to answer the question: who is Michael Gove? he may a powerful influence on your education, but for now... ...he is the least important person in your Media Studies course.
the most important person in media studies.you.that‟s right - you are the most important person in your media studies course. This is not an attempt toinflate your ego or even apply any pressure. It is simply to draw your attention to the fact that withoutyoung people taking an interest in the media and wanting to add to its growing importance in society therewould be no media studies course.whilst every student is unique and you will all be able to bring something new to the course, there areseveral characteristics that media students will share. So how do you know if you are going to be a goodmedia student?these are some of the qualities that will stand you in good stead throughout the course:• you enjoy discussion• you are analytical - that is you like to „read between the lines‟• you are enthusiastic• you „consume‟ lots of media• you don‟t take things that you see or read in the media for granted• you enjoy using technology• you are not afraid of giving your own opinion whilst also listening to the views of others• you are not afraid to ask for help if you need it!you may not have all of these qualities, and some of them may seem difficult right now, however, eventuallyyou will find yourself with all of these characteristics. You will find that they are useful for your othercourses as well as in higher education or even in work!it is important to remember though, that your uniqueness will also make the course interesting, somepeople are in music, whilst others are film buffs, some can‟t go anywhere without their head in a magazinewhilst others can spend days fixated on a single computer game until it is completed.the great thing about media studies is that we will all learn from each other, that is why it is so importantyou are prepared to share your experiences of the media with others, whilst remembering that everyonehas something to offer.
classwork. …mmm… sorry homer. Media Studies … one of the reasons media studies has been described as a „soft‟ We just have subject in the past is because there are certain misconceptions to watch TV, about what media studies is and more often what you need to do to right? get a good grade. compared to other subjects media studies actually requires you to be able to use a lot of different skills and disciplines. Some are practical skills, some are thinking skills. You will work in groups and you will work independently. All of these skills should not be underestimated. in addition to this, both the AS and the A2 courses have a lot of content to cover and often you will be required to research different aspects of the media as well as keep a journal of your own media consumption so that you can use your own examples in the examination. sometimes lessons may involve research on the internet, group presentations or discussions or practising exam style answers. Lessons may also take the form ofuniversity style lectures where you will be introduced to new concepts and keywords.the lessons should give you the information you need to be successful in your exam and you should beprepared to also use your own examples of the media not just those we study in class.during coursework lessons you will have more control and responsibility over how you use your time. Thiswill mostly be planning the production of a media text either in a group or by yourself.the „h‟ word.as aforementioned, you will be expected to complete workat home - this is entirely to support your learning andimprove your grade at the end of the course. Homeworkin media studies is important because... it will enable you to practise skills of analysis it gives you the chance to find lots of your own of examples to use in your exam you can improve your exam technique your coursework will be unique to you and you will have to take responsibility for how you plan your project it gives you experience of working to deadlines that must be kept.
how to work.the fact that you are attending college means that you have definitely achieved success in other coursesand therefore know how to work - these points are not meant to be condescending - neither should theybe ignored. They are there to help you prepare for the differences between the A level and GCSE courses. make notes in class - these will be your main source of information for essay writing and revision re-read these notes at home and re-write them if they are difficult to read, or could be organised better. This process won‟t take long if done regularly and will actually help you remember the things that you have learned in class. keep your folders organised - they will be checked throughout the year. always remember that you are a student - this means that you should be reading around the subject, the students that achieve the most have always been those that use their initiative. always remember that you are a media student - you should always be prepared to engage with the media outside of lessons - not just the things you always do, but things that might seem out of the ordinary - whether that is picking up a newspaper or magazine, going to the cinema or playing a video game - it is all useful, all relevant. use the college VLE to catch up on work missed and find useful websites to visit or books to read. use your notes to write essays and revise. That‟s why you will be making them in the first place! how not to work. don‟t leave things to the last possible moment. don‟t spend more time making excuses for not doing work than actually working. don‟t assume that you know everything already. if you stuck – don‟t do nothing – ask for help! don‟t get fixated on what other people have or haven‟t done – they will not be sitting your exam. don‟t try to blag it - eventually you will always get caught out!
a closer look at the AS. Consists of 2 units: MS1: Media Representations and Responses MS2: Media Production Processes MS1: Media Representations and Responses June Exam 2 and a half hrs - 50% of AS markwe look at these types of media: to understand these concepts: Advertising images Sign and Code systems Newspapers Selection and construction Magazine covers Modes of address and point of view Radio sequences Narrative construction Film extracts Genre Television sequences Representation and stereotypes Music Videos Audience categorisationComputer Game Extracts Models of audience reception Preferred readings Websites Effects debates CD and DVD Covers Moral panics Realism MS2: Media Production Processes – Autumn/Spring term Coursework- 50% of AS markA series of 3 linked pieces of work: Pre-Production Production Evaluative reporta more detailed breakdown of the exam paper and coursework briefs can be found on the VLE
assessment objectives.the examination board - in our case wjec - devises a set of assessment objectives that are used as aguideline for marking the exam and coursework elements of the A-level. They are basically a set of criteriathat informs everything we will do throughout the two years.AO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of media concepts, contexts and critical debates.A02 Apply knowledge and understanding when analysing mediaproducts and processes, and when evaluating their own practicalwork, to show how meanings and responses are created.AO3 Demonstrate the ability to plan and construct media productsusing appropriate technical and creative skills.A04 Demonstrate the ability to undertake, apply and presentappropriate research.roughly speaking the first two assessment objectives are looked at in the exam and the second two in thecoursework - however there is some cross over. For example, you will be expected to provide your ownexamples of media texts in the exam that relate to the questions, therefore this will be an example ofAO4. Similarly you will have to give a written report of your coursework which will include an analysis andthis falls under AO2.you will learn how to write quality exam responses and what to include in your coursework so theassessment objectives will not be something you refer to explicitly in your work. However, you should bemindful that they are the aims that underpin the learning throughout the A level course.virtual learning environment.as a department we are committed to giving you the opportunity to accessingresources and information wherever you are and whenever you need.whilst the phrase „virtual learning environment‟ might seem a like an outdatedand elaborate way of saying „website‟ – in our case it‟s actually more accurate. here‟s the url: www.sssfcmediastudies.blogspot.comthe reason that our site might be considered more of a VLE is because you willcontribute both in lessons and from home, in fact the site will be one of the main ways inwhich you will submit work throughout the year.it also offers opportunities for you to share ideas, discuss, argue and debate!it is also important to note that whilst comprehensive, the VLE is definitely not asubstitute for attending lessons – it is a supplement.
assessment policies & proceduresThroughout the course your development will be assessed. This takes place not only in formal situationssuch as examinations, class tests, and homework assignments but also in group discussions, presentationsto the class and individual research. It is clear that to succeed at "A” level you need a high level ofcommitment and a good level of organisational ability. In general these are indicated by your attendance,punctuality, work submission rates and note-making. All these aspects will be recorded by your tutor andwill be commented upon regularly, at least during Subject Reviews, which occur three times in your firstyear and twice in your second year. As part of the College Review System, reviews from each of yoursubjects will be amalgamated several times during your programme of study, to give everyone who needs it a clear view of your overall performance. Assessment is about measuring the development of your skills. Each piece of work set, task given or activity arranged is an opportunity for you to identify: areas in which you have skills of a high level skills which need to be developed what you should do to develop your skillsassessed homeworkYou will be set specific homework, usually once a week. This is normally concerned with questions basedon stimulus material. At “A” level work is expected to be well researched and detailed in content. Youshould also build up a file of notes. As far as set pieces of work are concerned the onus is on you to seethat you adhere to the following requirements: a) that you hand work in on time. Staff will specify when they want a piece of work completed and it is up to you to see that you comply with this. Meeting deadlines is one of the organisational skills you need, to be fully successful. b) that you put in more than just the minimum amount of effort to your work. Certainly, tutors may require you to resubmit work that is below you‟re the standards and efforts expected. c) that you do not plagiarise work. You should never copy word-for-word from a published source. If you want to use someone else‟s words, you must put them in quotation marks. If you use ideas from a publication put the source in brackets (where you have used it). It is a disciplinary offence to copy any other student‟s work. d) that you take care with the presentation of your homework and that you submit it in the correct format. Again, there are minimum standards of presentation which you are expected to meet. REMEMBER – SPECIFIC HOMEWORK IS SET FOR YOUR BENEFIT.
work policy for AS media studiesthe amount of work you need to put into an A level course is much greater than that for previous courses.You will be given advice early on in the course on how to structure your workload. You will be givenseveral „personal study‟ periods on your timetable. This time is not free. It is to be used constructively forindividual research, reading and widening your knowledge of your subjects. We suggest that you should bespending a minimum of five hours a week in personal study in media related issues.The main tasks you are expected to undertake during this time are listed below: reading over and checking work that has been carried out in class. This needs to be done on a regular basis in order to consolidate understanding. It should certainly be done at least once per week. It is important that you identify points on which you need help – ask your teacher. reading around the subject and making notes. This is something that is always emphasised at A level and your performance will be that much better if you do this regularly, at least once per week, you should regularly check the media VLE to see if there are any particular TV shows, new films or magazines that you should look out for or watch. you may be asked to create a presentation for part of a seminar or as a revision guide for the rest of the group or for the media studies VLE keep a media diary of the different media texts you consume. This doesn‟t have to be all of the texts you are an audience to – it is more important to record a variety. The media diary will be vital to your success in this course as the exam insists that you provide your own examples of texts that relate to the question. You should spend at least one hour a week writing your media diary. each week you will post your media diary as a blog to the media VLE.in areas such as reading around the subject, revising class notes and keeping up to date with developmentsin media studies, a lot of the responsibility for doing the work is yours. It is a matter of having a matureapproach and developing sound learning habits.we are confident you can achieve these, and you should be too! you don‟t have to be Bridget Jones to write a media diary, but you should be thorough in your account of the media that you encounter. be sure to describe where the text came from, i.e. which institution produced the text. you should also make sure that you have described who the target audience are and why the text might appeal to them – as well as giving your own opinion of course! the diary will also be used as a way for you to explore and revise the different theories and debates that are studied in class.