Media Studies

Aims

 The media play a central role in contemporary society and culture. They shape our perceptions of the world through the representations, viewpoints and messages they offer. The media have real relevance and importance in our lives today, providing us with ways to communicate, with forms of cultural expression and the ability to participate in key aspects of society. The economic importance of the media is also unquestionable. The media industries employ large numbers of people worldwide and operate as commercial industries on a global scale. The global nature of the contemporary media, coupled with ongoing technological developments and more opportunities to interact with the media, suggest that their centrality in contemporary life can only increase.

Media Studies is an interesting and exciting subject; one that will allow students to develop and demonstrate their own technical and creative skills.

The knowledge and skills that will be developed through the study of Media Studies are increasingly important to the UK and global economy: it is estimated that 20% of careers in London are now media related. The creative industries are a growing sector of employment in the UK. Analytical skills are key to this subject, as are discussion skills: we explore and debate key issues surrounding the media industry. Students will learn the key concepts of representation, audience, institutions, and language, which form the basis of the course.

Equipment

At both KS4 and KS5, Students use Apple Macs throughout the course.

Teaching and Learning

The Theoretical Framework

The Media Studies specification is based on the theoretical framework for analysing and creating media, which provides learners with the tools to develop a critical understanding and appreciation of the media. The framework consists of four inter-related areas:

  • Media language: how the media through their forms, codes, conventions and techniques communicate meanings;
  • Representation: how the media portray events, issues, individuals and social groups;
  • Media industries: how the media industries’ processes of production, distribution and circulation affect media forms and platforms;
  • Audiences: how media forms target, reach and address audiences, how audiences interpret and respond to them, and how members of audiences become producers themselves.

Theories

Learners will study a wide range of theoretical approaches and theories, including advanced approaches, to inform and support their analysis of media products and processes. Those listed below must be studied at A Level; appropriate additional theories may be studied. At GCSE, we aim to cover the theories listed below, as well as Propp’s narrative theory and the Uses and Gratifications theory.

Media Language

  • Semiotics, including Roland Barthes
  • Narratology, including Tzvetan Todorov
  • Genre theory, including Steve Neale
  • Structuralism, including Claude Lévi-Strauss
  • Postmodernism, including Jean Baudrillard

Representation

  • Theories of representation, including Stuart Hall
  • Theories of identity, including David Gauntlett
  • Feminist theory, including Liesbet van Zoonen
  • Feminist theory, including bell hooks
  • Theories of gender performativity, including Judith Butler
  • Theories around ethnicity and postcolonial theory, including Paul Gilroy

Media Industries

  • Power and media industries, including Curran and Seaton
  • Regulation, including Livingstone and Lunt
  • Cultural industries, including David Hesmondhalgh

Audiences

  • Media effects, including Albert Bandura
  • Cultivation theory, including George Gerbner
  • Reception theory, including Stuart Hall
  • Fandom, including Henry Jenkins
  • ‘End of audience’ theories – Clay Shirky.

Contexts of Media

In order to inform their study of the media, learners will develop knowledge and understanding of media products in relation to relevant key social, cultural, economic, political and historical contexts.

Historical Contexts

  • how genre conventions are historically relative and dynamic;
  • the effect of historical context on representations;
  • the relationship of recent technological change and media production, distribution and circulation;
  • the way in which different audience interpretations reflect historical circumstances.

Social and Cultural Contexts

  • how genre conventions are socially relative;
  • the effect of social and cultural context on representations;
  • how and why particular social groups, in a national and global context, may be underrepresented or misrepresented;
  • how audience responses to and interpretations of media products reflect social and cultural circumstances.

Economic Context

How media products relate to their economic contexts in terms of:

  • production, distribution and circulation in a global context;
    • the significance of patterns of ownership and control;
    • the significance of economic factors, including funding.

Political Context

  • how media products reflect the political contexts in which they are made through their representations, themes, values, messages and ideologies;
  • how media products reflect the political contexts in which they are made through aspects of their ownership and political orientation, production, distribution, marketing, regulation, circulation and audience consumption.

Skills developed

At GCSE, students will:

  • demonstrate skills of enquiry, critical thinking, decision-making and analysis;
  • acquire knowledge and understanding of a range of important media issues;
  • develop appreciation and critical understanding of the media and their role both historically and currently in society, culture and politics;
  •  understand and apply specialist subject-specific terminology to analyse and compare media products and the contexts in which they are produced and consumed in order to;
  • make informed arguments, reach substantiated judgements and draw conclusions about media issues;
  • appreciate how theoretical understanding supports practice and practice supports theoretical understanding;
  • develop practical skills by providing opportunities for creative media production.

At A Level, students will:

  • demonstrate skills of enquiry, critical thinking, decision-making and analysis;
  • demonstrate a critical approach to media issues;
  • demonstrate appreciation and critical understanding of the media and their role both historically and currently in society, culture, politics and the economy ;
  • develop an understanding of the dynamic and changing relationships between media forms, products, industries and audiences;
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the global nature of the media;
  • apply theoretical knowledge and specialist subject specific terminology to analyse and compare media products and the contexts in which they are produced and consumed;
  • make informed arguments, reach substantiated judgements and draw conclusions about media issues  use and reflect critically upon a range of complex theories of media studies and use specialist subject-specific terminology appropriately in a developed way;
  • engage in critical debate about academic theories used in media studies;
  • appreciate how theoretical understanding supports practice and practice supports theoretical understanding;
  • analyse critically and compare how media products, including products outside the commercial mainstream, construct and communicate meanings through the interaction of media language and audience response;
  • debate critically key questions relating to the social, cultural, political and economic role of the media through discursive writing.

In creating media products, learners will:

  • demonstrate sophisticated practical skills by providing opportunities for creative media production;
  •  apply knowledge and understanding of media language, representation, media industries and audiences to a cross-media production;
  •  apply knowledge and understanding of the digitally convergent nature of contemporary media;
  • use media language across media forms to express and communicate meaning to an intended audience.

Assessment for Learning                 

Assessment in Media Studies combines a variety of formative and summative assessment methods, including:

  • Independent research
  • Quizzes
  • Detailed note-taking and annotations
  • Written essays
  • Plans, drafts, and sketches
  • Short and long examination questions
  • Practical work, e.g. creating audio visual and print texts.

Students will be assessed through one piece of work every six lessons, culminating in end of unit assessments and examinations. Students’ work is graded using success criteria to secure their understanding before completing an assignment.

Students are set therapy tasks, extension tasks, and challenge tasks after end of unit assessments and examinations, in order to develop, and stretch, students’ knowledge and understanding.

Home Learning

  • Students will be set a variety of tasks throughout the course to deepen their understanding and develop their skills;
  • The process of taking photographs, or filming for the non-exam assessment is often completed outside of school;
  • Show my Homework is used to provide more detail to support students with their homework tasks. The homework set will often be differentiated to stretch and challenge students. Details of assessment are recorded on Show my Homework, also.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Media Studies

Programme of Study

Students follow the Eduqas (formally WJEC) GCSE Media syllabus (first examination 2019).

Year 9 Year 9 is a foundation year, which introduces students to the key concepts, knowledge and skills required for the course. Students complete mock non-exam assessments, GCSE assignments, and GCSE style assessments and an examination.
Year 10 & 11 The Eduqas specification is designed to introduce learners to the key areas of the theoretical framework for studying media – media language, representation, media industries and audiences – in relation to diverse examples from a wide range of media forms: advertising and marketing, film, magazines, music video, newspapers, online media, radio, television and video games. Through this study, learners gain an understanding of the foundations of the subject, enabling them to question and explore aspects of the media that may seem familiar and straightforward from their existing experience in a critical way. This extends learners’ engagement with the media to the less familiar, including products from different historical periods or those aimed at different audiences, providing rich and challenging opportunities for interpretation and analysis. The study of relevant social, cultural, political and historical contexts further enhances and deepens learners’ understanding of the media, as they explore key influences on the products studied.

Accreditation Structure

ComponentAssessmentLengthWeighting
1Exploring the Media
80 Marks

An in-depth study covering all areas of the theoretical framework:
Media Language (Section A)
Representation (Section A)
Media Industries (Section B)
Audiences (Section B)
Media Contexts (Section A)

Students study 10 set products in the following forms, in which 4 are tested for in the examination:
– Magazines
– Marketing (Film Posters)
– Newspapers
– Print Advertisements
– Film
– Radio
– Video Games
Written examination:
1 hour 30 minutes
40% of qualification
2Understanding Media Forms and Products
60 Marks

An in-depth study covering all areas of the theoretical framework:
– Media Language
– Representation
– Media Industries
– Audiences
– Media contexts

Students study two television products and three music videos, alongside the band/artists’ online participatory media use.
Written examination:
1 hour 30 minutes
30% of qualification
3Non-exam Assessment
Internally assessed and externally moderated by Equdas
60 Marks

The following media forms and framework will form the basis of all set briefs. Students complete one of the following:

Television
Create a sequence from a television programme or a website* to promote a new television programme

Advertising and Marketing: Music
Create a music video or a website* to promote a new artist/band.

Advertising and Marketing: Film
Print-based marketing material for a new film.

Magazines
Create a new print or online magazine.

Students will complete research and planning, which is assessed by the teacher only.

The marks are distributed by:

10 marks for the statement of aims
20 marks for creating the media product that meets the requirements of the set brief
30 marks for creating a media product which uses media language to communicate meanings and construct representations
12 weeks30% of qualification
Additional Information
Revision classes will run in the period before the examination. Students are provided with a wealth of resources to support their learning. Clinics after school are held and often students stay after school to complete editing.
How Parents/ Carers can help
HTTP://WWW.TRINMEDIASTUDIESREVISION.BLOGSPOT.COM
WWW.MEDIAKNOWALL.COM
Taking your daughter to see a free TV or radio production would be a great insight into the industry. HTTP://WWW.BBC.CO.UK/SHOWSANDTOURS/SHOWS/
HTTP://WWW.ITV.COM/BEONTV/JOIN-THE-AUDIENCE
HTTP://WWW.CHANNEL4.COM/PROGRAMMES/TAKE-PART/ARTICLES/ALL/GET-TICKETS
-Newspapers and magazines are a key feature of the media, so taking an interest in how different papers present different ideas and events is a great starting point.
-Watching a variety of films, TV and internet adverts, film trailers, TV programmes, news reports;
-Listening to a variety of music and listening to the radio;
-Outings to the cinema.
If I have any further questions about this course, to whom do I speak?
Miss C Venis – cvenis@fbaok.co.uk

Key Stage 5

A Level Media Studies

Programme of Study

Students follow the Eduqas (formally WJEC) A Level Media Studies syllabus (first examination 2019).

The WJEC Eduqas specification offers learners the opportunity to develop a thorough and in depth understanding of these key issues, using a comprehensive theoretical framework and a variety of advanced theoretical approaches and theories to support critical exploration and reflection, analysis and debate. The study of a wide range of rich and stimulating media products is central to the specification, offering opportunities for detailed analysis of how the media communicate meanings in a variety of forms. Learners will work from the product outwards to debate key critical questions related to the social, cultural, political and economic role of the media. Through studying media products holistically in relation to all areas of the theoretical framework, learners will engage with the dynamic relationships between media products, media industries and audiences. Learners will also consider established media forms alongside more contemporary forms, developing an awareness of emerging and evolving media.

Although the primary emphasis in this specification is on contemporary media, learners will explore how the products relate to their wider historical contexts. Learners will also extend their experience of the media through the study of products with which they may be less familiar, including those produced by or for a minority group, non-mainstream and non-English language products. This specification aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the transnational nature of the media, considering the effect of different national contexts on representations in media products, the global reach of media industries, and the targeting of audiences on a national and global scale.

Accreditation Structure

ComponentAssessmentLengthWeighting
1Media Products, Industries, and Audiences
90 Marks

The examination assesses media language, representation, media industries, audiences and media contexts.

Students study set products in the following forms:
advertising, marketing, music video or newspaper, film, radio, video games, and media contexts.

Students complete questions of varying lengths.
Written examination:
2 hour 15 minutes
35% of qualification
2Media Forms and Products in Depth
90 Marks

The examination assesses media language, representation, media industries, audiences and media contexts.

It consists of three sections. students study set products in the following form:

Section A – Television in the global age
There will be one two-part question or one extended response question.

Section B – Magazines: Mainstream and alternative media
There will be one two-part question or one response question

Section C – Media in the Online age
There will be one two-part question or one response question
Written examination:
2 hour 30 minutes
35% of qualification
3Cross-Media Production
60 Marks

Non-Exam assessment: internally assessed and externally moderated by Eduqas

The following media form will always be set:

Television
Create a cross-media production to include a sequence from a new television programme and related print or online* products.

Advertising and marketing: Music
Create a cross-media production to include an original music video for a new or local/unsigned artist or band and related print or online* products.

Advertising and marketing: Film
Create a cross-media production to include a print marketing campaign for a new film, and related audio-visual or online* products. the cross-media production must not include a complete short film, film sequence, or trailer.

Magazines
Create a cross-media production to include a new print magazine and related audio-visual or online* products.

*Website Production
Learners are not required to create websites through programming languages such as HTML. It is acceptable for learners to use web design software or templates in the online options. However, learners must be responsible for the design of the website and all content (such as language, images, audio-visual material) must be original.

Research and Planning
Learners will undertake a substantial amount of preparatory work for their intended production that must be guided, monitored and authenticated by the teacher. the cross-media production must be conceptualised s a complete package of interrelated products in two forms, reflecting the nature of the contemporary media and the importance of different platforms in distributing, and enabling audiences to access the media.

Assessment
The total number of marks available is 60:
10 marks for the statement of aims and intentions
20 marks for creating a cross-media production that meets the requirements of the set brief, including suitability for the chosen form, genre, industry context, and audience
30 marks for creating a cross-media production which uses media language to communicate meanings and construct representations
16 weeks30% of qualification
Additional Information
Revision classes will run in the period before the examination. Students are provided with a wealth of resources to support their learning. Clinics after school are held and often students stay after school to complete editing. Students are welcome to use the media facilities before and after school to edit production work.
How Parents/ Carers can help
HTTP://WWW.TRINMEDIASTUDIESREVISION.BLOGSPOT.COM
WWW.MEDIAKNOWALL.COM
Taking your daughter to see a free TV or radio production would be a great insight into the industry.
HTTP://WWW.BBC.CO.UK/SHOWSANDTOURS/SHOWS/
HTTP://WWW.ITV.COM/BEONTV/JOIN-THE-AUDIENCE
HTTP://WWW.CHANNEL4.COM/PROGRAMMES/TAKE-PART/ARTICLES/ALL/GET-TICKETS
If you have any further questions about this course, to whom do I speak?
Miss C Venis – cvenis@fbaok.co.uk

Well done to our 2019 students for FBA's best A Level results ever!

A*-B - 55%
A*-C - 85%
A*-D - 97%
100% Pass Rate

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