Learning and Teaching in the Department
The Department of Media and Communication consists of a community of learners: both academics and students contribute to this community.
What part do media and cultural forms play in our lives?
How do they influence the way we think and act?
What are the limits to mass media influence?
These questions have important implications for many areas of social life. They highlight such things as: the nature of the social and political order; freedom and control in society; values and identities; and the nature of power structures within social order and cultural change. Questions about communications and media thus inevitably become questions about society itself. The study of communications therefore seeks to understand the institutions and processes of mass media within the broader context of the social world.
The study of mass media draws widely on a range of subjects such as Sociology, Politics, Psychology and Cultural Studies. As a Media and Communications student, you will be given an opportunity to pursue your own interests in communications and help shape the direction of this exciting area of study.
Our degree courses are structured to provide you with the opportunity to experience a wide range of subjects. The core modules will lead you towards specialist study in the areas that are of particular interest to you, such as audiences, advertising, media policy, film, new media or international communication. You will study communications in a stimulating learning environment, with scholars working at the forefront of this subject. At the end of the courses, not only will you have an in-depth understanding of the field of communications and media research, but you will also have gained the analytical and research skills necessary for living and working in today's media-saturated world.
Learning and Teaching Methods
Learning and Teaching in the Department of Media and Communication is centred upon module and programme appropriate teaching and learning. All members of the learning community are required to conduct a significant part of their learning outside of formal classes (for example preparatory reading for every module, writing essays or preparing podcasts) but this is supported through a network of potential teaching methods upon which the department can draw, including:
- Group Tutorials
- Individual Tutorials
- Online exercises and virtual learning environment engagement
Students at different levels experience different learning and teaching methods with some more appropriate at postgraduate level than undergraduate and some more fitted to non-assessed rather than assessed work but all are designed to enhance your learning experience.
Assessment also varies to ensure it is appropriate for the specific module or programme. The essay is still the best way in which to assess a student's deep learning upon a topic and is a predominant tool for learning at all levels (dissertation, after all, simply means 'long essay'). Other assessment methods include group work (for example presentations or, on the BSc Communications, Media and Society, the short film produced in Year 2), examination (of differing lengths and formats as relevant to the module and year) and individual presentations (in varying formats particular to the module's specific needs or requirements).
We believe that by assessing students in a variety of ways, which develop in their demands as you progress from Year 1 to PhD, that you will be encouraged towards achieving the best you can in terms of intellectual integrity and quality and develop skills which will transfer into your future careers.
Personal Development in the Department
The University of Leicester operates a Personal Development Planning scheme which encourages students to develop their personal and employability centred skills. Within the department, this is supported through mapping how your academic studies achieve particular transferable skills, by providing you with Study Skills Training and Careers support and through the Personal Tutors System, which means that every student, at every level, is assigned a Personal Tutor who will guide and advise you through your studies.
Learning in a UK University
Our students come from all over the world as well as the UK and sometimes the UK higher education system can seem very different from learning in other contexts. In addition to the specific teaching and learning methods we have cited above, here are some things which overseas students might find useful to know:
- seminars are smaller teaching groups in which student participation is central - students are expected to contribute to discussions and offer their own ideas and arguments
- learning is achieved through a combination of taught components and autonomous preparation and research based upon module handbooks' reading lists and we expect postgraduate students to be able to do basic things like search for appropriate reading in addition to suggested reading
- tutors do not seek to tell students what to do but rather to guide them towards good research and practice decisions
- it's a good idea to ensure you speak English every day and say something in every seminar - there's a direct correlation between speaking, reading, listening and writing on a regular basis and achieving the best grades in a foreign language
- term and examination date periods are announced months in advance and all students should be available for assessment during exam periods
- the department works closely with the English Language Teaching Unit to support the learning of those for whom English is not your first language
- the department requires 6.5 or equivalent at IELTS for entry onto its BSc, BA or MA programmes but 5.5 for entry onto the Pre-Masters Diploma (which is only open to post-graduates). If you have a 6.0, you should take IELTS again and attain a 6.5 - this will be a condition of any conditional offer for entry onto the BSc, BA or MA programmes.