Media Literacy is about learning how to critically engage and make sense of the media all around us. In addition to introducing students to the history and use of media, this course will help develop analytical tools that students can use to examine media content, intent, context, and subtext.
Media literacy, or media education, is also a global movement to make better, more critical, sense of the media. We will be focusing on what and how we learn from the media: How and why do media texts target young people? How do media fit into our lives? How do media shape our perceptions in regard to race/ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, and education? As students explore how the media operates in society, they will gain the tools of media literacy, allowing them to make more informed choices as an active audience.
Finally, media literacy is about social activism—it is inherently an activist method of study. When we study our media critically, we are compelled to make change. That change may be within ourselves, as our personal viewing, reading, and listening habits may change once we begin paying closer attention to media. Or it may be within our family and community, fueled by our discussions with family and friends. Or the change may be within the context of the wider world as we support media that carries a proactive message and boycott media that spreads negative, overly violent, or otherwise harmful messages. By learning to be critical scholars, students can develop a sense of objectivity about media and become more active audiences and independent thinkers. Note: Internet access is required for this course.