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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL2250 Digital Communications Across Cultures

20 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Elisabetta Adami
Email: e.adami@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

This module is approved as a skills discovery module

Module summary

This module will prepare you to become “communication experts”, as required in today’s digitally-connected world. It will help you to assess critically and use effectively the resources of digital environments to communicate with a culturally-diverse and international audience, by means of videos, podcasts, and websites/blogs. The module combines lectures with hands-on activities in seminars and practicals. Semester 1 lectures and seminars will lead you to map your own digital intercultural practices, to achieve an in-depth awareness of the visual and linguistic resources and media you use in relation to the specificities of the intercultural encounters you have. Semester 2 will prepare you to design and create audio documentaries, short videos and websites/blogs that address a multicultural and international audience. The module will conclude in a digital production project. In the project you will work (1) in group to create an audio or video documentary on the communicative practices mapped in semester 1, and (2) individually to create a website/blog that embeds your group’s creation and presents it to a multicultural and international audience. The module will help you to (1) understand how communication works in digital environments, (2) observe and assess the requirements of intercultural contexts and (3) produce digital texts, including short films, audio documentaries and websites/blogs to communicate with an international audience. The work and abilities developed in this module will prepare you towards your Final Year Project and will provide you with practical skills that you will be able to include in your CV. No prior technological skills are required to take this module, as they will be developed in the practicals.

Objectives

The module aims to develop students’ intercultural digital literacy, needed to become “communication experts” in today’s multicultural digital landscape. Taught and hands-on activities will provide students with:

1) The key concepts in the three intertwined areas of digital production, multimodality, and intercultural communication
2) An in-depth critical awareness of and self-reflection onto their own daily communicative practices in digital environments, through the mapping of their media, semiotic, intercultural and linguistic landscapes
3) The abilities to design and produce digital artefacts, including videos, audio documentaries and websites apt to address a multicultural and international audience
4) The abilities both in collaborative and individual work to design a project that can exploit the potential of digital production as a tool for exploring intercultural communication.

The activities in the first semester will be aimed to develop knowledge, awareness and self-reflection on the three intertwined areas of digital production, multimodality and intercultural communication (including how to adapt linguistic resources in English for international contexts). It will do so by alternating lectures in each area with task-based seminars. After the lectures in each area, students will be asked to produce reflective logs that apply the lecture concepts to their daily communicative practices, to be presented and discussed in the seminar the week after. At the end of the first semester students will have applied scholarly notions to their own digital practices in terms of (i) the media and semiotic modes used, (ii) the intercultural encounters and exchanges they have, and (iii) the linguistic repertoires they use. The first semester class activities will achieve the objectives 1) and 2) above through knowledge applied to self-reflection on their own communicative practices.

The activities in the second semester will be hands-on, aimed to support students in preparing their projects. These will combine lectures on digital practices in different spaces, media and platforms, and by/across different sociocultural communities, paired with practicals on how to design and produce audio documentaries, videos and short films, and websites suitable for a multicultural and international audience. The second semester class activities will achieve the objectives 3) and 4) above by ‘translating’ the learning done in semester 1 into digital artefacts, both through group and individual work.

For their assessment, students will:

1) work in groups to produce a video or audio documentary that presents their collective story resulting from the digital intercultural landscapes mapped through their reflective logs in the first semester
2) work individually to embed their group digital artefact into a website that each of them will design to present their group project, report on the process of working on the project, and discuss the aptness of their design choices for intercultural and international contexts.

To further support students in their project, semester two will conclude with a seminar on ethics and dedicated tutorials on guidance on the project.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module you will be able to:

1) assess the resources, media and conventions that you use to communicate in digital environments, and make informed choices to improve your communicative practices
2) self-reflect onto and assess the character of your intercultural encounters and exchanges, as well as the specificities of their communicative requirements, including linguistic, visual and audio resources that are best apt for each context
3) work in group to produce an audio and/or short film-documentary that presents your group’s digital intercultural landscape
4) work individually to create a website/blog that presents your group’s story to a multicultural and international audience.

This will include your knowledge, critical awareness and experience of:

5) the resources and media used in digital communication
6) the key issues involved in intercultural communication and strategies to communicate meaning successfully
7) the ethical issues involved in producing a digital project
8) the processes involved in audio documentary and film-making
9) the resources involved in the design of a website/blog

The work and abilities developed in this module will prepare you towards your Final Year Project.

Skills outcomes
The module will help you to (1) understand how communication works in digital environments, (2) observe and assess the communicative requirements of intercultural contexts and (3) produce digital texts, including short films, audio documentaries and websites/blogs to communicate with an international audience. The module activities will help you to reflect on your own digital communicative practices and to improve them through informed-choices on the basis of the communicative needs in specific contexts.

You will develop knowledge, awareness and direct experience of:

- the resources used in web-based communication, digital video and online interaction
- the issues involved in intercultural communication and strategies to communicate meaning successfully to an international audience
- the linguistic resources and strategies needed for intercultural and international communication
- how to produce digital artefacts including websites, short films and audio documentaries


Syllabus

Areas taught will include:

- Multimodality (i.e., the combination of different audio-visual resources to make meaning), particularly in the relation between digital media platforms, the semiotic resources that they afford, and the individuals’ agency in the uses of both
- The specificities of digital environments, with a focus on communicative practices in different spaces and communities, considering issues of power, creativity and manipulation
- Intercultural communication, through questioning homogenising and ‘othering’ views of culture, with a focus on the mutually transformative dynamics of intercultural encounters
- Linguistic repertoires, multilingualism and identity, and how linguistic resources (including English for International Communication) need to be adapted for intercultural communication in digital environments

Hands-on activities will include seminars and practicals on the design and production of digital artefacts, such as videos, audio documentaries and websites, and related issues (including ethics and copyrights).

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture111.0011.00
Practical33.009.00
Seminar42.008.00
Tutorial21.002.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be expected to prepare for each lecture and seminar by undertaking private study of set texts and appropriate secondary material. For the seminars students will be asked to produce reflective logs on their communicative practices, by applying the notions introduced in each lecture. More in-depth preparation, combining mixed private and group work, will be necessary to design the group project and to produce the individual project website.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring of student progress will be done:

- during the first semester through informal formative assessment during the seminars, in which students will be asked to present and discuss the mapping of their digital intercultural landscape as resulting from their self-reflective logs
- throughout the second semester through the hands-on practicals and the tutorials preparing for the group and individual projects, which will monitor also the group working dynamics
- monitoring of attendance and active participation in class.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportWebsite embedding , presenting and reporting on the group project50.00
Group ProjectDigital video or audio documentary on the landscape resulting from the reflective logs in Semester 150.00
Reflective log1 week long logs on: media and resources: intercultural encounters; linguistic landscape0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

1-week-long log - media and resources set week 2 due week 4 1 week long log - intercultural encounters set week 5 due week 8 1 week lon log - linguistic landscape set week 9 due week 11 Resit will be done in the next available exam session. In the resit the group project will be carried out individually.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019

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