Module code: SOC1061

Module Overview

This compulsory Year 1 module will introduce students to the study of media and communication though an exploration of central theoretical and conceptual debates in the field of media and communications as a social science and consideration of a range of contemporary topics, themes and examples.

The module integrates this introduction to key conceptual concepts and themes with the development of key study skills.

The substantive components of the module locate media and communication as an interdisciplinary field, introducing students to sociological, cultural, political-economic theories which shape the way we have approached media and communications, paying attention to changing communication environments and the transforming role of media and mediation in contemporary media and data-saturated societies. Students on the module will examine technological, institutional, textual and user-related approaches to the relationship between media and societies/cultures. The module will critically evaluate different theoretical and empirical approaches to this relationship, and students will examine the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches in relation to a variety of contemporary themes and topics.

Module provider


Module Leader

HODKINSON Paul (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 49

Independent Learning Hours: 207

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Key elements in the study of media: technologies, institutions, texts, and users

  • Media representations and construction of social relations and divisions

  • Theories of ideology and hegemony in relation to media

  • Contrasting perspectives on the role of media users, audiences and consumers

  • Notions of mediation and mediatisation – and arguments about the colonisation of society by media

  • The political economy of media and communication

  • Critical cultural theories in media and communication

  • Media, news and democracy

  • The role of advertising and consumer culture

  • Understandings of surveillance, datafication, algorithms and AI

  • Examination and discussion of key study skills in media and communication as part of media literacy skills development, including (but not limited to): Preparing for lectures & taking lecture notes; searching for and approaching academic reading; using and acknowledging reading and other resources in your work; understanding referencing and how to avoid plagiarism; the distinction between description and criticism; organising and writing essays and related assessments

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Critical Reading Diary 20
Coursework Extended Essay Plan 30
Coursework Essay 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to allow students to demonstrate:

The assessment strategy is designed to support and build up, in relation to feedback, the development of study skills and critical engagement with the theories and concepts learned on the module. A deliberate emphasis on academic reading and writing pervades the assessment strategy, enabling students to develop their approach through practice, alongside development of learning in class. 


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment 1 – Critical Reading Diary (20%)

The first assignment is a critical reading diary, in which students critically reflect on both core readings discussed on the module, and readings they researched independently. Students are encouraged to consider their potential essay topic early on, and use the critical reading diary to engage with scholarship relevant to their essay to build knowledge and research skills consistently. (addresses learning outcomes 1, 5 and 6)


Assessment 2 – Extended Essay Plan (30%)

The second assignment is an essay plan that will give students the opportunity to demonstrate subject knowledge and analytical skills. The plan will encourage them to consider the core components required for an essay discussion and the kinds of structure and organisation that are needed to set out and develop appropriate description, analysis and argument. The plan also will encourage a particular emphasis on identification and deployment of appropriate reading. (addresses learning outcomes 1, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment 3 – Essay (50%)

The final assessment enables students to put the skills and feedback from their earlier assignments into practice through development of a full academic essay centred upon examination of core substantive topics and concepts introduced as part of classes, reading and other activities. (addresses learning outcomes 1-6)



Formative assessment and Feedback

Students gain formative feedback in class throughout the semester via the interaction of their ideas with peers and the tutor. Assignment preparation will be embedded in weekly class discussions and students will be able to get feedback on ideas. All students are encouraged to ask questions and test ideas in relation to the assignments during the weeks preceding their submission in class and in feedback and consultation hours. Summative feedback will be provided in writing for each assessment, and clear feedforward will be included that supports students to succeed in the next assignment as part of the assessment strategy. The structure of classes and assessment enables formative and summative feedback to work together as students build towards their final essay.

Module aims

  • Provide a broad overview of key theories and debates about the relationships between media, culture and society
  • Encourage students to compare, contrast and critically engage with these theories and concepts
  • Enable students to apply concepts and theories to a range of topics and themes in media and communication
  • Support students in developing key academic and critical thinking skills, integrating these with the module¿s substantive media content
  • Begin to develop students¿ transferable skills including communication and research skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of core perspectives, theories and concepts in the study and critical analysis of media and communication CK
002 Compare, contrast and evaluate a range of theories and concepts relating to the role of media and communications in society CKT
003 Apply theoretical ideas to past and present themes, cases and examples in the study of mediated societies CK
004 Recognise and articulate the rationale behind different approaches to the analysis of media CK
005 Demonstrate academic skills and knowledge in media and communication required for study at undergraduate level CKT
006 Draw on reading and resources in developing and articulating (verbally and in writing) ideas and arguments relating to the role of media in society CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

  The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Develop relevant study skills, from note-taking to literature searching, to essay writing, integrated with the study of relevant theories and concepts in media and communication. This will be done through a series of practical work-shop style classes that run alongside substantive sessions during the first five weeks of the semester.

  • Offer students integrated classes that combine the features and benefits of lecture and seminar to enable students to engage interactively with substantive content, building on engagement with weekly reading.

a) Lecture segments will provide a critical overview of key theories, concepts and topics in media and communication theories in contemporary mediated societies, supported with video, audio and other forms of captured content.

b) Students expand on this knowledge base through a weekly programme of essential readings supplemented by their choice of background reading.

c) Discussion, seminar and workshop exercises will give students the chance to actively engage with themes through the testing out of examples, arguments and solutions. Such exercises often will focus on case studies that bring more abstract facets of the module’s content to life in relation to contemporary or historical examples.


The learning and teaching methods include:

44 hours of workshops (2 2hour sessions per week for 11 weeks) and 5 further workshops centred on study skills.

Captured content and indicative reading (as well as broader reading lists for each week) to support independent study.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1061

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:



The module explores the ways in which a range of inequalities, including those relating to class, gender and race, are mediated in contemporary societies. A critical engagement with media industries and infrastructures is central to the module, and case studies discussed explore questions of climate change and sustainability more broadly. The media literacy skills developed on this module will help students develop key analytical and problem-solving skills in relation to these issues.


Digital Capabilities

The module centres on a wide range of key concepts and themes in media and communication, interrogating the significance of digital technologies in contemporary societies. Students are encouraged to question different understandings of this significance and consider the ways in which media technologies might be rendered more socially useful.


Resourcefulness and Resilience

The module supports students in the transition from school to university by developing key academic skills, developing the confidence to succeed. In-class discussions support building confidence discussing new ideas. Integrated study skills sessions will offer a range of skills but also encourage students to reflect on their approaches to learning and development. Assessment has been designed in such a way that feedback on each exercise builds towards the final essay.


Global and Cultural Capabilities

At various points in the module, media are considered with respect to their global impact. Examples include examination of the global operation of media organisations and industries, contrasting approaches to the regulation of media in different parts of the world, and consideration of ideas about the globalisation of different forms of media culture.



The module enables the development of a range of transferable skills of importance to employers, including research skills, oral and written communication skills,  evaluative and critical skills that students will continue to build on throughout their degree.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.