This subject offers the opportunity to explore all aspects of contemporary Media: how media products are created and who makes them, how they are used and consumed by audiences, how media represents the world around us and what impact and influence that might have.
Through a variety of approaches, candidates are able to develop their enjoyment and critical understanding of a range of media texts and those who produce them. The core areas of study involve demonstrating knowledge and understanding of media concepts, contexts and critical debates and then being able to apply that knowledge when analysing media products.
Finally, with this understanding, students can go on to produce their own media products using appropriate technical and creative skills. Students leave us skilled in all aspects of production; a real advantage when applying for University or Apprenticeships.
Media Language– the analysis of media products and how they produce meanings, using the “language” of media. For example how lighting, camera work, editing, colour, costume, music and sound effects are used to evoke an emotional response or create a particular mood or meaning.
Representation– how media products are used to portray and represent the world around us. How are places, people, groups or issues presented to us? How does this effect our understanding of these things and what potential impact might it have?
Industry– how does the media industry work and who owns and controls the media? How is it funded, how is it marketed and what are the opportunities for employment? How do these aspects of the industry effect the messages, audiences receive through the media?
Audience– who are media audiences? How and why do they consume certain media products? What impact or effect might the media have on different audiences?
Alternative / Historical Media– an important and interesting element of the new A-level specification is looking at alternatives to mainstream media and media texts from the past. This may include looking at non-English language media, media created for or by niche or minority audiences and historical media texts. These provide a vital context for understanding how contemporary media has developed.
Component 1 – Media Products, Industries and Audiences. 1 exam 30%
- Advertising and Marketing: Set Texts: Tide, Kiss of the Vampire, Water Aid
- Film (Cross-media study including film marketing): Black Panther and I Daniel Blake
- Music Video: Beyoncé Formation and Vance Joy Riptide
- Video Games: Assassins Creed 3 Liberation
- Newspapers (In-depth study): The Mirror and The Times
- Radio: Late Night Women’s Hour
Component 2 – Media Forms and Products in Depth. 1 exam 30%
- Television in the Global Age: Humans C4 and The Returned C4
- Magazines: Mainstream and Alternative Media: Huck and Women’s Realm
- Media in the Online Age: Zoella and Attitude
Component 3 – Cross Media Production Coursework 30%
You will create 2 media products from a choice of set briefs.
- Advertising and Marketing: Film or Music
- Online and participatory media
Across platforms: Print, Online Media, Audio Visual
Methods of Teaching and Learning
The approach to this subject is active and practical. You are encouraged to develop critical thinking and autonomy by exploring theoretical approaches to Media, the contemporary media landscape and wider contextual issues.
There is opportunity for both individual and group work and you are encouraged to take responsibility for your own learning. Tutorials and workshops may be offered to support the development of practical and written skills.
You will develop your skills in Communication, IT and working with others as an integral part of your studies.
Methods of Assessment
The course will be assessed through examinations accounting for 70% of the overall grade and 30% through Non-Examined Assessment (coursework), marked internally and externally moderated. All formal, external assessment takes place in the second year.
The coursework will be all practical production work, allowing us to maintain our unique position of giving you the opportunity to develop advanced production skills. Outside of the practical elements, much of the course emphasis will revolve around the theoretical concepts you are required to understand for your exams.
Resources and Enrichment Opportunities
Practical production equipment including DSLR cameras and digital editing facilities are available. You will also have access to a computer suite and dedicated editing suite with Premiere Pro editing software and a photographic/film studio, with green-screen. You are encouraged to make full use of the well-stocked Learning Resource Centre. We also have an extensive collection of DVDs and videos to borrow.
We have links to a range of Media and Film organisations in the area and regularly enter students for Film festivals; students have had their work featured on DVD compilations, and recent projects have won national competitions.
We have run a successful trip to New York for 2 years and are hoping to continue this every year.
As a practical subject, there are extra costs incurred for the purchase of equipment. We strongly recommend you get a memory stick to save large files. There is a compulsory insurance requirement for borrowing practical film-making equipment outside of college.
The A-level in Media Studies provides a sound basis if you wish to follow a career in the Media and other related areas, or to proceed to Higher Education/Apprenticeships. The skills acquired through studying media are invaluable in careers involving all forms of communication. Research has consistently shown media students do very well at finding good employment past degree level.