Manipulating Media: Social Media Develops Academic Literacy Skills (Abstract for #PELC11)

PELC11: Digital Futures: Learning in a Connected World
Dr Marcus Leaning and Dr Bex Lewis, University of Winchester
Strand: Higher Education // Web 2.0

“Sit still and listen!”

 Traditional learning approaches stress that the teacher is the source of all knowledge, that there is a fixed path to learning.

“Stand up and join in!”

Lifelong learning emphasises that educators are guides to sources of knowledge, which people learn by doing, in groups and from each other.

Manipulating media is a new course taken by all first year media studies students at the University of Winchester. Students taking the course work upon a number of live team briefs that present problems that require the use of academic literacy to be solved. The projects make extensive use of collaborative online learning. Students produce and deliver work using a number of web 2.0 applications and platforms, including reflective blogging. The course has proven very popular with students and there are clear indications of the development of academic literacy in students.

Previously, academic literacy, which comprises the core skills of critical thinking, evaluation of sources, referencing, analytic and critical writing and self directed learning has proven a difficult and often unpopular aspect of introductory years for students in higher education. At PELC10, there was much discussion of the contested notion of the ‘digital native’ , particularly as to the use of social technologies for learning. This paper explores one successful way in which a combination of social media and project based learning have been used to teach academic literacy to media studies undergraduate students at the University of Winchester, overcoming the sense of ‘disconnect’ between the substantive elements of a media studies degree and the ‘drier’ academic style and skills required.

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Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @MMUBS. Interested in digital Literacy in the third sector. Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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