The primary focus of this course is on how people learn within multimodal environments and what the implications of that learning are for the construction of curriculum and instruction within formal academic contexts. A broad body of research suggests that the texts of mass media, both online and on television and radio, both affect and are the effect of our informal engagement with them. This is particularly true with respect to people’s formation of their identity as racial, gendered, classed, linguistic, and sexual beings. Specific questions to be asked are: How do people use multiple platforms to create identities and to learn? How do these identities and these platforms both teach and provide opportunities for people to learn, not only about themselves and the people around them, but about the world itself? And finally, what are the implications of these platforms and people’s social and cultural practices for teaching and learning within more formal “classroom” environments?
The course builds on but also moves well beyond students’ own experiences of the Internet and other forms of mass media. Readings and multimodal texts examine research- and case-based examples of the impact of online and electronic media on individuals’ and cultural groups’ lives, both domestically and internationally. Assignments focus on analysis of multimodal sites’ social and cultural messages from specified frameworks and on the production of media projecting particular cultural and social messages.
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