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“Sit still and listen!”
Traditional learning approaches stress that the teacher is the source of all knowledge, that there is a fixed path to learning.
“Stand up and join in!”
Lifelong learning emphasises that educators are guides to sources of knowledge, which people learn by doing, in groups and from each other.
Manipulating Media was a new course taken by all first year media studies students at the University of Winchester from 2011. After an intensive period of front-loaded teaching, students taking the course worked upon a number of live team briefs that presented problems that required the use of academic literacy to be solved. The projects made extensive use of collaborative online learning. Students produced and delivered work using a number of web 2.0 applications and platforms, including reflective blogging. The course proved very popular with students and there were clear indications of the development of academic literacy in students.
Previously, academic literacy, which comprises the core skills of critical thinking, evaluation of sources, referencing, analytic and critical writing and self directed learning has proven a difficult and often unpopular aspect of introductory years for students in higher education. This paper explores one successful way in which a combination of social media and project based learning have been used to teach academic literacy to media studies undergraduate students at the University of Winchester, overcoming the sense of ‘disconnect’ between the substantive elements of a media studies degree and the ‘drier’ academic style and skills required.