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This course contains practical work in the community and groupwork. The course prepares students to do public communication in a rapidly changing media environment. The first half of the course explores how a range of social media platforms work and how professional communicators are attempting to use it. Topics include networks, convergence culture, privacy and new forms of public life. In the second half of the course students apply these ideas in small-group projects for a community organisation or company.
This course has two sides to it. In the first half, it gives you a critical understanding of how social media are used by companies and non-profit organisations to inform and connect with the public. It also gives you a chance to apply those ideas by helping organisations whose social media needs a boost or a rethink. We talk about key theoretical ideas such as networks and online community so you can reflect on and critique how public life is mediated through these channels. We also prepare you to work in project and team-based ways on social media. You then apply these ideas and skills in the second half, working in groups of three students to carry out a small project for an organisation related to their social media. In the past these have included companies, public sector and non-profit organisations, educational organisations and event organisers. The projects have ranged from producing a video or other content to surveying audiences to doing a social media audit or producing a campaign plan. You learn how to apply the principles of social media as a tool of public communication – and so learn more deeply and actively. You also develop your skills in managing a project, managing a client, working with others and writing in professional genres. Students have found they’ve gained professional contacts, as well as some of the dynamics of professional communication, but above all gained self-confidence about what they’re able to achieve.
By the end of the course you should be able to- describe trends and practices in public social media communication- understand and apply key concepts of digital media studies- discuss arguments around the impact of digital media on public organisations- combine theory and practical work- apply academic arguments through analysis of media texts- develop writing, group work, oral presentation and discovery learning skills
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Engaged with the community
Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Any 15 points at 100 level from COMS orDIGI, orany 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
COMS222 (2008-2012), DIGI207
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Detailed information about assessments can be found on Learn.
Social media : enduring principles;
Oxford University Press, 2016.
Other readings are provided via Learn.
Domestic fee $777.00
International fee $3,375.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences.