A new course, Access Diploma to HE – Media Communication, was launched to develop progression opportunities to Media BA degrees – particularly those at LCC. The course introduces subjects of journalism, public relations and the theory of media communications and is very much based on the premise that these (and other) areas of media have been and continue to be shaped and developed by social media.
A key element of the course is the planning and writing of a blog. This enables students to present their ideas and assignments about course units and communicate their work for them on a blog. Anthony Parsons, lead tutor on this course, takes up the story.
“The students were introduced to the blog towards the end of term one. Whilst it was taught as a unit, several subjects / tutors used it both as an example of a method of communication and as a vehicle to present their work across the course. This required students becoming reasonably proficient in developing the blog including additional pages, header images, consideration of blog designs and layouts, hyperlinks, etc.
Initially it was quite controlled in order to establish an ‘academic’ rather than social blog, but as the course developed and more content became available, students took more ownership of its ‘personality’ and considered how it might present them to prospective (HE) course tutors.
As this was the first year of this course, how the blog worked was interesting as it became the main focus for coursework. Tutors could see student work across subjects and students gained experience in ‘seeing’ their work online as well as on paper. A number of assignments included hyperlinks to elements on the blog and in the latter part of the year, all work was presented and sent electronically to tutors. Unit reflection sheets showing how students had achieved assessment criteria became digital and hyperlinks to points in their blog or on-line report were live, allowing direct access to the evidence for assessment.
Most applicants for Media degree courses come from an ‘A’ level route and are made Offers based on predicted grades. When the Access course was validated last year the original intention of the blog was to use it to demonstrate Access Media students abilities to HE Media tutors, to match the traditional ‘A’ level applications after the UCAS application deadline in January.
The curriculum was planned to introduce key elements of the introductory units (Journals, PR, Media Communications) in three parts, such that there would be some visible evidence of work from across the main subject areas before the end of term one. Whilst this was reasonably successful, its purpose was overtaken by the new Internal Progression process, therefore the blog will be held back next year, to become a focal point for term 2, as well as a vehicle for coursework across subjects.
The features within myblog.arts were very helpful for the initial setting up of the blogs. Students were put into a Group, so it was easier to manage their development and communications were straightforward. Whilst the range of blog layouts is not large on myblog.arts, it is quite sufficient for an introduction to the subject and to enable a reasonable element of personalisation.
Several students already had their own blogs and it was very interesting to see how they treated these personal blogs, compared to their course one. Their personal blogs tended to be much more social and anecdotal rather than thoughtful and reflective.”
Media Communication blog – http://mediacommunication.myblog.arts.ac.uk/
Student course blogs: