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2020/21 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

COMM5695M Communication and Development

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Katharina Schmoll

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module addresses the theory and practice of using mass media and other communications approaches to support development, human rights, and social change, with a focus on the global South. The first half of the module addresses the historical context of international development and efforts to use communications to facilitate it. The second half allows students to explore specific forms of effective development communications and learn to design, implement, and evaluate communications in support of development and social change.


Communications and Development provides postgraduate students with a detailed understanding of the role of mass communications in supporting human development, poverty alleviation, human rights and positive social change, especially in the world’s poorest regions, and to provide students with an ability to critically evaluate and contextualize development communications efforts and to use theory and examples of good practice to contribute to such efforts.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. demonstrate knowledge of the history of international development and evolution of, and competing approaches to development communication and social change
2. demonstrate understanding of theories of communication for social change and development communication
3. design and evaluate communications efforts in support of development


Initial lectures frame contextual issues including the relationship between communications processes and social change, structures of international development, and the colonial contexts of development.
They will address theorizing poverty and development and access to knowledge as a component of development. Dominant approaches to development communication will be assessed including the modernization paradigm; the dependency model; the participatory communications paradigm; folk media and traditional communications; and the impacts of ICTs, social media and mobile telephony. Emphasis will be placed on sustainability and indigenaity in communication efforts. Journalism and structures of mass media in the developing world will be detailed as the module moves in the second half toward a more applied direction and examines the construction and evaluation of change campaigns; international advocacy, emergency communication, and human rights. Strategies in communication design and researching development communication and its effects are discussed.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours278.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Independent learning will consist of assigned readings complemented by additional library research. Additionally, students will research and evaluate case studies of development and human rights communication projects using both print and online resources such as, PANOS, the British Library for Development Studies, Reuters Alertnet. Critical summaries of these will be submitted in the form of one or more short essays via the VLE for feedback from the tutor and peers. The viewing of several films, followed by online forum discussion, will also be a required part of independent learning.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored by means of mid-term (assessed) essay and additional formative work through the semester including written summaries of case study research. Students will meet regularly with the instructor in informal tutorials.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,500-3,000 words40.00
ProjectProject Report 3,000-3,500 words consisting of a hypothetical communications plan: a proposal will be due in week 660.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 03/09/2020


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