COMM11108 - Communication and Politics
Term 2 - 2017


All details in this unit profile for COMM11108 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student). The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.

Overview

This unit examines and explains the process of communication within the political context of Australia. It will identify elements of a contemporary political environment. You will be able to recognise key communication forms of the political process, such as identifying stakeholders, lobbying and political issues, and will present an analysis of a contemporary political issue.

Details

Career Level Undergraduate
Unit Level Level 1
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Offerings

Term 2 - 2017
  • Distance
  • Perth
  • Rockhampton

Website

This unit has a website, within the Moodle system, which is available two weeks before the start of term. It is important that you visit your Moodle site throughout the term. Go to Moodle

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Assessment Overview

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Presentation and Written Assessment 40%
2. Written Assessment 35%
3. Written Assessment 25%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades.

All University policies are available on the IMPortal.

You may wish to view these policies:

  • Grades and Results Procedure
  • Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework)
  • Review of Grade Procedure
  • Academic Misconduct Procedure
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – Domestic Students
  • Monitoring Academic Progress (MAP) Policy and Procedure – International Students
  • Refund and Excess Payments (Credit Balances) Policy and Procedure
  • Student Feedback – Compliments and Complaints Policy and Procedure
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communications Technology Facilities and Devices Policy and Procedure

This list is not an exhaustive list of all University policies. The full list of University policies are available on the IMPortal.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback Source Recommendation
The textbook was dull/irrelevant. Student evaluation. The unit text will be replaced before Term 1, 2017.
The unit assessment was far too vague. Student evaluation. Unit assessment items will be reviewed for clarity of expression and requirement.
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Discuss the overall structure of communication within the Australian political context.
  2. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between communication in the Australian political process and an international model.
  3. Identify and discuss key elements of communication inherent to a contemporary political issue.
  4. Analyse and differentiate the key aspects of a contemporary political issue.

n/a

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Presentation and Written Assessment
2 - Written Assessment    
3 - Written Assessment

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1. Communication
2. Problem Solving    
3. Critical Thinking
4. Information Literacy  
5. Team Work    
6. Information Technology Competence    
7. Cross Cultural Competence  
8. Ethical practice        

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

  • Introductory Level
  • Intermediate Level
  • Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 - Presentation and Written Assessment    
2 - Written Assessment      
3 - Written Assessment  

Prescribed Textbooks

Politics, Media and Democracy in Australia
Author/s: Brian McNair, Terry Flew, Stephen Harrington, Adam Swift Year: 2017
Edition: 1st Publisher: Routledge
City: Oxford
Country: USA and UK
View textbooks at the CQUniversity Bookshop
Note:

A link to the Kindle edition of this text will be located on the unit's Moodle site. However, if you prefer a paper copy, you can purchase one at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
All submissions for this unit must use the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style (details can be obtained here). For further information, see the Assessment Tasks below.
Unit CoordinatorTris Kerslake (t.kerslake@cqu.edu.au)
Note: Check the Term-Specific section for any additional contact information provided by the teaching team
Week Begin Date Module/Topic Chapter Events and Submissions
Week 1 10-07-2017

Module 1:

This first week, we examine the central role of journalistic media in the construction of an informed citizenry and deliberative democracy. The liberal media’s functions of reportage, analysis, commentary, representation and advocacy are recognised to underpin genuinely democratic political systems.

Chapter 1:

Introduction to Politics, Media and Democracy in Australia

Unit text:

Prescribed:

Politics, Media and Democracy in Australia (2017) Brian McNair, Terry Flew, Stephen Harrington, Adam Swift, Routledge

Optional:

A Dictionary of Australian Politics, Dickenson & Corcoran (2010)


Week 2 17-07-2017

Module 2:

In week 2, we look at the growth of political communication linked to the emergence of democratic polities, the rise of mass communication media and the development of techniques for the management of public opinion – public relations.

Chapter 2:

The Politics–Media Relationship in Australia: Spin, Political Communication and the Mediatization of Politics

Week 3 24-07-2017

Module 3:

The rise of minor parties and populist movements also signals a growing dissatisfaction with the mainstream political parties and politics-as-usual. This week, we consider critics of the political class.

Chapter 3:

The Insiders and their Critics

Week 4 31-07-2017

Module 4:

Not so long ago the Australian public sphere comprised a relatively small number of outlets on three media platforms: print, TV and radio. Today, Australia is a strategically important player in the globalised public sphere. We consider the immensity of the online sector which surrounds and encloses us all.

Chapter 4:

Mapping the Australian Political Public Sphere

Week 5 07-08-2017

Module 5:

This week we consider the structure of political press coverage. Has the standard of political reportage fallen as a function of reduced newsrooms? We examine three of Australia's newspapers: The Australian; The Sydney Morning Herald and The Courier-Mail.

Chapter 4 (cont/d.):

Mapping the Australian Political Public Sphere

Vacation Week 14-08-2017

Break week

Have a break!


Week 6 21-08-2017

Module 6:

The Australian political public sphere covers a broad spectrum of genres and formats, from traditionally ‘serious’ analysis, through a range of magazine television formats to more popular infotainment. This week we examine politics in the audio-visual sphere.

Chapter 5

The Audio-Visual Public Sphere
Assessment Item 1: Political Blog and Forum Discussion Due Friday (25 Aug 17) 06:00 PM AEST
Week 7 28-08-2017

Module 7:

What is a 'political issue'? How do we know when we are discussing one? What is 'democratic participation'? This week, we consider live political discussion in television and talk-back radio.

Chapter 7:

More questions than answers

Week 8 04-09-2017

Module 8:

This week we consider similarities and differences in international media outlets when discussing political topics. Specific focus will be on The BBC World News; The Times of India and the US television news channel, CNN.
Refer to Week 8 Module for a list of readings and links.
Assessment Item 2: Political Issue Analysis Due Friday (08 Sep 17) 06:00 PM AEST
Week 9 11-09-2017

Module 9:

This week, we will look specifically at three examples of popular televisual political discourse – forms of infotainment, as such styles are often described as “unorthodox news”. We consider the role these forms play in the political public sphere in Australia.

Chapter 8:

Infotainment and Hybridization in the Australian Political Public Sphere – The Project, Kitchen Cabinet, Gruen Nation
Week 10 18-09-2017

Module 10:

How are political discussions shaped online? This week we will look at the new forces changing the way we learn about politics and how ordinary people may raise their voice in pursuit of a political goal. Social media has a great deal to say about contemporary politics, especially Twitter and Facebook.

Refer to Week 10 Module for a list of readings and links

Week 11 25-09-2017

Module 11:

Is legacy media becoming redundant in the digital age? We consider the impact of overseas media brands with local editions on Australian perspectives. We also examine hybridity in political discussion in the blogosphere.

Chapter 9:

An Evaluation of The Political Public Sphere in Australia Conclusions and Key Findings
Week 12 02-10-2017

Module 12:

Review week in which we revisit the key elements of politics in the media. There is no new information this week.

Refer to Week 12 Module for a list of revisionary links and activities.

Assessment Item 3: Media Report Presentation Due Friday (06 Oct 17) 06:00 PM AEST
Review/Exam Week 09-10-2017
Exam Week 16-10-2017

1 Presentation and Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment Item 1: Political Blog and Forum Discussion
Task Description

Political Blog and Forum Discussion - Five posts, approx 1500 words total (40 marks)

This task specifically requires you to:

1. Set up a blog via WORDPRESS (via https://signup.wordpress.com/signup/ ) or you may use a pre-existing blog if you wish, ensuring it is suitable for academic work.

2. Select five (5) current political issues to research and discuss each one in a separate blog post:

  • Two Australian issues - focus on the media source of the information you use. What does this tell you about the issue under discussion? In both posts, discuss how Agenda Setting Theory is used to direct the implied audience. 250-300 words for each post.
  • Two international issues - focus on the similarities and differences of the reporting of international political news to domestic Australian political news. In both posts, discuss how Framing Theory is used to direct the implied audience. 250-300 words for each post.
  • One issue that is both Australian and International - focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the reporting of the issue. Is either Agenda Setting and/or Framing Theory used in the discussion? 250-300 words.

3. Post all five of these discussions between week 1 and week 6. Each post must be illustrated with a variety of media, (e.g. written text, images, video, sound bites, hyperlinks to other sources, stats, etc.) Remember, all external sources must be referenced in each post in-text and in a Reference list.

4. Each post should contain a minimum of two (2) formal APA references.

Note: The original upload dates of each blog post will be visible. Your first post must be available on the discussion forum by the end of week 2. Do not upload multiple posts in the same week or the same day, although you may edit your posts based on feedback prior to submission for marking.

5. Upload the URL link of each of your posts to the Moodle Blog Discussion Forum and invite the group to review your analysis. This enables other students to read your ideas and offer their own opinion of your discussion. Posts will be monitored by the Unit Coordinator.

6. While not compulsory, it is expected that you will offer your own feedback on at least 3 other student blog posts. This activity will also enable you to improve the quality of your own work.

7. To submit this completed assignment for marking, upload a copy of the assignment marking sheet with your name and a URL link to your blog as a WORD document via Moodle.

Further details of this assignment are available on the Moodle website.

Assessment Due Date Week 6 Friday (25-Aug-2017) 06:00 PM AEST
Online submission of a written assignment in week 12.
Return Date to Students Week 8 Friday (08-Sep-2017)
Marks and feeback will normally be returned within two weeks of assignment submission
Weighting 40%
Assessment Criteria

1. using an appropriate presentation format
2. quality and accuracy of referencing
3. standard of presentation including expression
4. relevance to the unit concepts and textbook
5. depth of analysis rather than the description
6. argument and appropriate use of examples

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Submit assignment to Moodle online via Turnitin

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Discuss the overall structure of communication within the Australian political context.

2. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between communication in the Australian political process and an international model.

3. Identify and discuss key elements of communication inherent to a contemporary political issue.

4. Analyse and differentiate the key aspects of a contemporary political issue.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence

7. Cross Cultural Competence



2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment Item 2: Political Issue Analysis
Task Description

Political Issue Analysis 1450 - 1550 words (35 marks)

This task specifically asks you to:

1. Select one of the international blog posts you have submitted for Assignment #1.

2. Expand the post into a 1500 word analysis for a 17-year old Australian reader.

Include an explanation of:

  • Why the international event is important to Australians. Use additional examples to illustrate your argument if necessary.
  • What level of Australian politics might get involved here and why? - Federal, State or Local? (or all three?)
  • How this event links to other recent events.
  • Where this situation might lead if not properly addressed.


Also include the following where possible:

  • Images/photographs
  • A relevant You Tube/video link
  • Links to connected discussions on social media (e.g.. Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr etc.)
  • A relevant Tweet or Tweet thread (or on Mastodon, Snapchat, etc.)

3. All external sources must be referenced in the APA style. The inclusion of journal articles and other academic materials would be highly regarded.

4. The written assignment should be submitted to Moodle via the normal assignment submission process by or before the submission deadline.

Further details on this assignment task are available on the Moodle website.

Assessment Due Date Week 8 Friday (08-Sep-2017) 06:00 PM AEST
Online assignment via Moodle.
Return Date to Students Week 10 Friday (22-Sep-2017)
Marks and feeback will normally be returned within two weeks of assignment submission
Weighting 35%
Assessment Criteria

1. the number and relevance of explanatory material
2. accuracy of referencing
3. standard of presentation
4. relevance to the unit concepts and textbook
5. quality of analysis
6. argument and appropriate use of examples.

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

To be submitted to Moodle via Turnitin process

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Discuss the overall structure of communication within the Australian political context.

3. Identify and discuss key elements of communication inherent to a contemporary political issue.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

6. Information Technology Competence



3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title Assessment Item 3: Media Report Presentation
Task Description

Media Report (Powerpoint) Presentation with voiceover (25 marks)

This task specifically asks you to:

1. Choose one of the following topics in this unit:

  • The role of journalistic media in the construction of democracy.
  • Australian politics in ‘serious’ analysis and popular infotainment.
  • How do different media treat political discussions differently?
  • Social media and contemporary Australian politics.
  • The impact of overseas media brands with local editions on Australian perspectives.

2. Create a PowerPoint presentation with a 7 minute voiceover on one of the above options, incorporating two recent political issues to illustrate your argument.

Note: Instead of PowerPoint, you may use Prezi, Haiku Deck, Keynote or any similar presentation software.

3. In the presentation, consider the following points to help focus your discussion:

  • How your selected issues have been treated in the media.
  • Examine similarities and differences. Is the issue reported in the same way in each instance?
  • Is the tone or formality of the writing different?
  • Is difference in coverage connected to the medium being used?
  • Is there evidence of Agenda setting or Framing theory?

4. The presentation should be produced with the following structure:

  • Title page
  • Introduction
  • Analysis
  • Summary
  • References

Note: All external sources must be referenced in the APA style.

Further information on this assignment is available on the Moodle unit website.

Assessment Due Date Week 12 Friday (06-Oct-2017) 06:00 PM AEST
The assignment marking sheet is to be uploaded to Moodle with the blog URL
Return Date to Students Exam Week Friday (20-Oct-2017)
Marks and feeback will normally be returned within two weeks of assignment submission
Weighting 25%
Assessment Criteria


1. the relevance and accuracy of the sourced material
2. quality and accuracy of referencing
3. appropriateness of the presentation
4. relevance to the unit concepts and textbook
5. depth of analysis rather than the description
6. argument and appropriate use of examples and media

Referencing Style American Psychological Association (APA)
Submission Online

Upload the assignment marking sheet together with the URL of your blog.

Learning Outcomes Assessed
This section can be expanded to view the assessed learning outcomes

1. Discuss the overall structure of communication within the Australian political context.

2. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between communication in the Australian political process and an international model.

3. Identify and discuss key elements of communication inherent to a contemporary political issue.

4. Analyse and differentiate the key aspects of a contemporary political issue.

Graduate Attributes
This section can be expanded to view the assessed graduate attributes

1. Communication

2. Problem Solving

3. Critical Thinking

4. Information Literacy

5. Team Work

6. Information Technology Competence

8. Ethical practice




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