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COM4131 - Contemporary Media and Communications Theory

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr David Holmes


Caulfield First semester 2007 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2007 (Off-campus)


The unit introduces key concepts and ideas in contemporary communications. The subject reviews the work of key theorists in communication and media studies, and outlines primary pathways in communication research such as representation theory, medium theory and network society studies. These modules provide resources for students to situate their own research and to contextualise contemporary communication practices. Students will also obtain skills to locate contemporary communications in an historical perspective.


Upon successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Contextualise contemporary communication practices in relation to recent perspectives in communication theory
  2. Utilise methodological resources in order to situate their own research in relation to communications and media theory
  3. Interpret the dynamic changes in contemporary communications and media from a historical standpoint
  4. Understand the media's changing role as an agent of representation in contemporary society
  5. Locate introductory approaches to the growth of new media within the context of critical and contemporary theory
  6. Examine the importance and implication of an image-dominated culture
  7. Engage with the crucial and key theorists that have shaped and influenced the discussions of new media, with emphasis on debated topics such as intertextuality, virtuality
  8. Individually assess the importance, significance and contribution of new media theory in relation to their research interests.


Assignment 1 - Research Essay (4000 words): 40% +
Assignment 2 - Research Essay (5000 words): 60%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week

Off Campus Attendance Requirements

Students will be expected to participate for a minimum of one hour per fortnight in on-line discussion.