TECH1502 Introduction to Community Media

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Module Description

This module introduces learners to the concept of community media. Community media gives voice to participants and citizens in grassroots and marginalised communities. By promoting alternative voices, community media puts social impact and the everyday life stories of people that it represents centre stage. In this way community media is distinct from commercial and public sector media. This module gives learners the opportunity to experience and develop skills as practitioners of community and collaborative media. There are four themes covered in this module:

Community Media Principles: This theme considers how community media is recognised as distinctive from other forms of media, and how issues such as: social impact, participation, representation and activism all help to define and shape community media. Learners will be encouraged to look at how people working in community media acquire a sense of identity as an alternative form of media that is formed at the grassroots, and thereby supporting alternative voices.

Community Media Practices: This theme considers how community media is defined through a set of practices and actions, such as citizen’s journalism, the local reporting of news stories, ethical reporting practices, sharing and collaborating in media production roles, and taking part in a community of practice.

Community Media Case Studies: This theme will look at community media groups as they are active in Leicester, and will encourage learners to take part in different events and group sessions. The aim with this theme is to encourage participation in different types of community media and to share experiences and stories about how they work in practice.

Community Media Social Impact: The main difference that community media offers is that it looks at media participation and representation as a process that serves alternative needs within society. Rather than simply being commercial or mass entertainment, this theme investigates the difference that community media makes in the lives of people living in local communities.

Module Tutor

John Coster

Queens Building, Q1.25

John's Website

Module Handbook

Download Module Handbook: Tech1502 Module Handbook

Lecture Notes

Notes are also available to download.


Term 1:

Week 1 Community Media is Different

Week 2 What is Community

Week 3 What is Community Reporting

Week 4 Tools of the Trade

Week 5 Community Media & Social Issues

Week 6 Be the Documentarian

Week 7 Community Media Cafes

Week 8 International Community Media

Week 9 Mainstream vs Community Media

Week 10 Most Important Thing

Week 11 The Story So Far

Term 2:

Week 15 Mental Health 'newsroom' - literature review with Pamela Hardaker, Associate Professor Student Experience

Week 16 Visit to Leicester Drawing Centre - talk by Lau Wai Kei Rosamond, Communication Arts BA (Hons) Alumnus (Graduated 2018)

Week 17 Visit to DMU Archive & Special Collections - talk & handling session with Dr Natalie Hayton, Assistant Archivist Special Collections, Directorate of Library and Learning Services

Week 18 FGM 'newsroom' - 1st Community Media Café experience at The Chapel Café, Zinthiya Trust - talk by charity CEO Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan

Week 19 World Radio Day visit to the Documentary Media Centre 6 week pop-up education space at Highcross Leicester (shopping centre)

Week 20 Visit to GraffWerks @The Mill - new multi-purpose community facility on Frog Island

Week 21 Visit to Creative Coffee - monthly networking event at Leicester's LCB Depot (Cultural Quarter) - hosted by Ross McMinn

Week 22 Enhancement Week

Week 23 Positive News magazine and the role of the nano-influencer in community media

Week 24 Review of themes for Component C 4 x blogs

Week 25 Review of Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing

Week 26 Review of Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing

Week 27 Review of Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing

Workshop Notes

Notes are also available to download.


Term 1:

Week 1: UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs

Week 2 SDG3 Mental Health & Well-Being Highcross Visit

Week 3 SDG1 No Poverty

Week 4 SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals

Week 5 SDG11 Sustainable Cities & Communities

Week 6 Be the Documentarian

Week 7 SDG2 Zero Hunger

Week 8 World Television Day

Week 9 SDG5 Gender Equality

Week 10 SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

Week 11 Quiz of the Year

Term 2:

Week 15 Mental Health 'newsroom' - literature review with Pamela Hardaker, Associate Professor Student Experience

Week 16 Visit to Leicester Drawing Centre - talk by Lau Wai Kei Rosamond, Communication Arts BA (Hons) Alumnus (Graduated 2018)

Week 17 Visit to DMU Archive & Special Collections - talk & handling session with Dr Natalie Hayton, Assistant Archivist Special Collections, Directorate of Library and Learning Services

Week 18 FGM 'newsroom' - 1st Community Media Café experience at The Chapel Café, Zinthiya Trust - talk by charity CEO Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan

Week 19 World Radio Day visit to the Documentary Media Centre 6 week pop-up education space at Highcross Leicester (shopping centre)

Week 20 Visit to GraffWerks @The Mill - new multi-purpose community facility on Frog Island

Week 21 Visit to Creative Coffee - monthly networking event at Leicester's LCB Depot (Cultural Quarter) - hosted by Ross McMinn

Week 22 Enhancement Week

Week 23 Component C 4 x blogs - Self-directed study

Week 24 Component C 4 x blogs - Self-directed study

Week 25 Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing

Week 26 Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing

Week 27 Component D 4 x questions / Report Writing


  • Coursework Portfolio: 50% (formative, three components)
  • Academic Report: 50% (Summative, formative)

Portfolio: The coursework portfolio will comprise a range of media content in the form of reports, features, interviews and articles produced by learners using different examples of social media (such as podcasts, blogs, online video, micro-blogs, social media networks), broadcast media (such as contributions to community radio and television programmes), printed media (such as newspapers and magazine articles, photography and graphic designed images), digital learning badges, wiki articles, online forum discussions, presentations and formally delivered academic papers.

Report: The report will provide a systematic and reflexive assessment of the students’ academic experience as a community media content producer. Evaluating the primary content collated in the portfolio, this report will evaluate and synthesise key texts, reports and statements with secondary published texts about the status and value of community media products that are published online and through broadcast or printed sources.

Assessment Outline

Component A – Social Media Platform Set-Up (5%)

An assessment of your ability to: Set-up your blog site on the DMU Commons A set of instructions that will be given during the workshop session in week two that will show you how to set up your blog. You will be assessed on your ability to follow these instructions and to ensure that your blog is presented as specified. Some of the instructions might be vague and unclear, especially if the Wordpress system is new to you. This means that you also have to follow verbal instructions, ask questions, and learn from one another to get your blog set up as quickly as possible. As well as setting up your blog on the DMU Commons system, and personalising your blog site, you will also demonstrate that you can write and produce the following: • Blog One Topic: Describe how a specific issue of social concern has been covered on social media. • Blog Two Topic: Describe a social activist you think is interesting who is on social media. This is a blogging platform and social network that link together staff and students from across De Montfort University into one online community.

Set-up your personal profile page on the DMU Wiki After setting up your blog you will be asked to set up a personal profile page on the DMU Commons Wiki. A set of instructions will be given by your tutor in the workshop session, though some of these instructions might be unclear, especially if using a wiki is new to you. You should be ready to make notes, ask questions, follow verbal instructions, and help each other to set up your wiki page. When you have set up your wiki profile page you will demonstrate that you can write and produce the following: • Give a brief description of yourself in the form of a Wikipedia entry (but do not include personal information such as your date of birth or place of birth that hackers can use to rip off your bank account). • Include a suitable image on your page. • Include links and a description of your individual blog posts. You can follow the formatting and style of posts that other students have used in the past, though guidance notes and links to useful online guides will be flagged in the workshop sessions. Link your blog to your Twitter Account, Google, YouTube, Facebook accounts.

• Minimum Work: Two blogs – posted in Week 2 & 4, site personalization, adding social media accounts.

• Deadline: Week Six, 12 Midday Monday 5th November 2018.

• Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on your DMU Commons Wiki Profile.

• Marking & Feedback: 12 Midday Monday 3rd December 2018.

Component B - Community Reporter Investigation (15%)

There is a growing sense that community life is increasingly difficult to play a part in, and we often struggle to get to know who our neighbours are. Being a community reporter involves an approach to telling stories and discussing issues that are relevant to the neighbourhoods and communities that people live in and belong to. This can include a wide range of issues of interest and social concern that might seem insignificant on a national level, but which matter a great deal to the residents who live, work and interact with different types of people in their communities.

In your next assignment you will be researching, writing and producing a community newsletter based on a set of topics that you will be given by your tutor. For this assignment, you will be undertaking research about what a community newsletter is, what community reporters do, and how different types of stories can be shared using traditional and new forms of media. For this assignment, though, you will investigate a topic of social concern that is associated with communities in Leicester that you want to address, and what types of community activities other people have developed to alleviate some of the worst effects of these social problems.

This assignment consists of investigation and research into your chosen social topic for component C of your coursework. This means discussing ideas with members of your group, finding out if other people have undertaken similar community projects, and explaining how these projects work.

Assignment Requirements

For this assignment, you will research and write about these issues, as they are discussed and talked about in newspaper articles, in blog sites, in chat rooms, and so on. But particularly you will look at different types of community media.

Your blogs will summarise the key issues of concern, and will use quotes, links and screengrabs to demonstrate what is being discussed in these articles and threads. The final blog post of this section of your coursework portfolio should be a three-minute reflective video, posted either to the blog directly, or embedded into your blog as a YouTube video. This vlog will give a basic overview of what you discovered in your investigation and in what way your group will take this information and use it in the next assignment, and turn this into a practical project. You should aim to incorporate a wide variety of content such as podcasts, videos, blogs and wikis, or whatever forms of media you are asked to experiment with and try out. We want you to experiment with creativity and innovation, so your media skills will be something you want to show off as you learn new skills and use new platforms. It is essential that you establish the habit of blogging regularly, so you will be expected to post a blog each week, with an updated link on your wiki profile page, and an explanation of what is distinctive and innovative about the blog post. Time will be put aside in the workshop sessions for this.

• You will make a social media production portfolio consisting of work posted to your blog site on the DMU Commons site

• You will provide a description of the portfolio and any appropriate links to your work on your Wiki Profile Page on the DMU wiki:

• Your work can consist of any combination of media and use of online tools, services and platforms.

• All of the production work must be available online and be capable of being linked-to or embedded on your portfolio page in the module wiki.

• You could make a series of photographs, videos, or podcasts, use sites such as Twitter, Paperli, Flipboard, Tumblr, YouTube or Pinterest, for example, alone or in combination.

• The media used in these posts must be made specifically for the module and be driven by the specific aims and objectives of the assignment.

Your blog posts must relate to the research you are undertaking, and the discussions that your group hold about the community media group project that will be undertaken after the Christmas break. The portfolio should consist of a significant body of work, showing that you have produced your posts regularly, and have actively researched issues that are related to your community media project topic. Your portfolio will also demonstrate that you are able to establish a regular routine throughout the period demonstrating digital literacies, creativity and production skills.

• Each blog should take no more than two hours to plan, write and post each week.

• Time will be given in the weekly lab sessions for you to write your blog posts.

In order to assess your work, your tutor will visit your DMU Wiki Profile Page and will only follow the links that you provide on the page. If you do not have any links to your individual blogs on your profile page you will be marked at zero.

• Minimum Work: Two blogs - posted Week 7 & 9 and three minute reflexive video – posted Week 11.

• Deadline: Week 11, 12 Midday Monday 10th December.

• Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on your DMU Commons Wiki Profile.

• Marking & Feedback by: 12 Midday Monday 21st January 2019.

Component C – Community Media Reporting Group Project (30%)

Community life in the United Kingdom is said to be divided and increasingly unequal. While the mainstream media is concerned with trying to satisfy customers, local people living in often marginalised areas don’t have a voice, and are unable to express their views in a way that is meaningfully recognised by the people who run our public services and businesses. Community media seeks to redress this imbalance by addressing issues of voice poverty and encouraging people to get involved in discussing and debating issues of civic concern.

Ordinary people’s voices are often excluded from public debates about the future of their local services and the development of their communities, and the mainstream media is regarded as biased by many people in those communities. Only telling certain kinds of stories, and discussing issues that are relevant to a small number of people, who are often unaware of the diverse interests and backgrounds that make community life vital.

Your task in this assignment is to take on the role of a community reporter, produce a newsletter, and tell stories that are relevant to a particular community in Leicester. Your tutor will guide you and help you to develop the skills that you need to do this, and will help you to identify the communities that you will be working with. Your newsletter will be produced for the Community Media EXPO, organized by the Tech3501 Community Media Leadership module students, at the end of Term 2.

You will be undertaking the following tasks:

• Planning, researching, and producing a community newsletter.

• Researching topics and issues of discussion to include in this newsletter.

• Interviewing people and finding out what they want to discuss, then writing these interviews as stories to be included in the newsletter.

• Writing about topics and issues that are important to the social and civic development of the identified communities.

• Formatting and presenting stories that are interesting and engaging, and which tell these stories in an engaging way.

• Using media to enhance these stories, such as producing video or audio, taking photographs, using social media, and so on.

• Using social media to share these stories, and as a way to promote your final newsletter.

What you will actually be marked on is your blog journal. You are expected to keep a journal that records your involvement and level of participation through the process of developing and putting into practice your Community Media Reporting Group Project.

Entries will be posted to your blog regularly and listed on your personal wiki profile page as done in the previous assignment.

The final blog post will consist of a video presentation lasting no longer than three minutes, that reflects on what you have personally learnt about this community media reporting project, how you have improved and developed your creative media skills, and how this relates to the content that you will have posted to your own blog site and the module wiki.

• Minimum Work: Four blogs - posted Weeks 17, 19, 21 & 23 and three minute reflexive video – posted Week 25.

• Deadline: Week 25, 12 Midday Monday18th March 2019.

• Submission: Individual Links clearly marked on DMU Commons Wiki Profile.

• Marking & Feedback: 12 Midday Monday 15th April 2019.

Component D – Report (50%)

Assignment Overview

This assignment tests your ability to plan, research and write an academic report that answers a specific question of concern related to community media, and which draws on the academic reading recommended for the module. Therefore, you will:

• Relate your answer to the specific reading material listed as essential or recommended in the module reading list.

• Use evidence gathered from legitimate sources.

• Use academic language and analysis conventions.

• Structure your report according to academic standards and conventions.

• Provide suitable objective and verifiable examples that illustrate your points.

• Use suitable academic arguments that will explain your points.

Choose one of the following questions:

• Can community reporting enhance our sense of neighbourliness?

• Can community reporting give all people a recognized voice?

• Is promoting alternative and DIY forms of media socially beneficial?

• Are Leicester’s community media groups doing a good job?

Assignment Requirements

You will be assessed according to the extent that you answer these questions using verifiable and objective evidence, use supporting academic arguments and observations taken from the recommended module reading resources, and are able to organise this information in a clear and logical progression, according to academic report writing conventions.

While guidance and tips for effective report writing will be given in the lectures and the workshop sessions, this assignment depends on a high level of independent work and the use of initiative to research the topic, to undertake the appropriate reading, and to manage the process of compiling and writing your report.

You will have the opportunity to discuss effective techniques for investigation, research and report writing with your tutors. You will be expected to make notes at these sessions, and to bring with you any planning notes that you are developing in preparation for producing your report.

Online resources and guides to effective academic study will be signposted throughout the lecture and workshop sessions, and will be included in the notes that accompany these sessions. It is each learner’s responsibility to collate and assimilate these notes, and thereby demonstrate that you are capable of independent planning, research, organisation and writing.

• Minimum Work: 1,000 Word Report.

• Deadline: 12 Midday Monday 29th April 2019.

• Submission: Turnitin via TECH1502 Blackboard.

• Marking & Feedback: 12 Midday Friday 24th May 2019.

Key Texts

It is expected that learners will read all of the material from the key texts list, to broaden and deepen understanding of the subject beyond the basic, and thus enhance performance in assessments.

  • Cohen, J. & Kenny, T. (2016) Producing New and Digital Media. Abingdon, Focal Press.
  • Monbiot, G. (2016) How Did We Get into This Mess? Verso, London.
  • Philips, R. & Pittman, R.H. (eds) (2015) An Introduction to Community Development, 2nd Edition, Routledge, London.
  • Rennie, E. (2006). Community Media - A Global Introduction. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Atton, C. (2002). Alternative Media. London: Sage.
  • Howley, K. (2005). Community Media - People, Places and Communication Technologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Howley, K. (Ed.) (2010). Understanding Community Media. London: Sage.
  • Lewis, P. M. (2008). Promoting Social Cohesion: The Role of Community Media (F-67075). Retrieved from Brussels:
  • Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Study Skills

  • Cottrell, S., & Morris, N. (2012). Study Skills Connected - Using Technology to Support Your Studies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • McMillan, K. & Weyers, J. (2012) How to Improve Your Critical Thinking & Reflective Skills (Smarter Study Skills), Harlow, Pearson.

DMU Library Resource List

The list of learning resources can be accessed at the DMU Library, which has links to any additional electroinc resources associated with these books. TECH1502 DMU Library Resource List.

Learning Skills

If you want to share and discuss the topics and ideas explored in the module on social media, please use the hashtag #tech1502

Social Learning

In this module emphasis will be placed on collaboration, sharing, discussion and participation. The idea is that learning is enhanced if it is shared and collectively developed. Each person has a responsibility to play their part in the activities and the tasks, and to encourage and support other learners as the module unfolds.

As a community of learners and practitioners this approach recognises that there is more to be gained from a non-hierarchical approach and by spreading-out the tasks using social media tools that encourage everyone to participate and to share their ideas, thoughts and observations in a constructive, non-judgemental, and practical way.

Face-to-Face Interaction

While the subject of this module is community media, the primary approach of the learning activities will be based on face-to-face interaction. This takes places in lectures, labs and arranged tutorials. A typical workshop session will consist of a short introduction presentation, the distribution of instructions via the module page on the DMU Commons Wiki, and then short discussions with individuals and small groups throughout the remainder of the session. This takes an informal approach to interaction between the learner and the tutor.

Verbal Instructions

While many of the tasks and coursework assignments are specified in detail in this handbook, learners are encouraged to listen to the verbal instructions of the tutor, and to ask questions based on the notes that they take. Any questions that relate to the practical work, the reading work, or the assignments associated with this module should be noted by learners and asked during the practical sessions. This is why attendance is essential, and why good listening skills and a distraction-free environment are important. The assignments described here are starting points and are not prescriptive. Learners are encouraged to go-beyond the tasks and activities that are set here, and to investigate for themselves different ways that social media might be used.


Lecture notes and lab worksheets will be provided as PDF documents, with any essential information, links, diagrams, references and source material. However, learners are expected to keep notes for themselves, and to record information that is not given in the handouts. Notetaking is an essential skill and it is important to develop the habit and routine practice of writing notes, sketching diagrams, doodling and so on. You never know when these notes might be useful.


A register will be kept of attendance at labs and attendance will be monitored. Non-attendance without good reason can often lead to failure of the module.

If you are ill or are away from the university due to an unavoidable or urgent matter please email FOTAC who will inform your tutors, who will mark you as absent. The university may require you to provide evidence to corroborate your absence at some point in the future.

Study Hours

Lecture: One Hour

The lecture will consist of an examination of ideas and concepts associated with the use and development of community media platforms and practices. The lectures run for no more than fifty minutes, and will start promptly on the hour and finish at ten minutes to the hour.

Media examples will be given, along with suggested reading and links to other media. It is expected that learners take notes during the lecture to supplement any notes that are made available by the lecturer. Learners are expected to adhere to the norms of academic practice during lectures, and not disturb or distract other students.

Lab: Two Hours

Labs will take the form of a workshop in which you will actively explore and produce content for your blog, experimenting with different types of community media, and applying problem solving and creative thinking techniques in order to get the best from them.

The lab will cover:

  • Discussions of issues covered in lectures.
  • Experimenting with different forms of community media.
  • Setting up blogs and wiki pages.
  • Writing blogs and wiki entries.
  • Sharing content and ideas.
  • Reflecting on feedback.
  • Planning for future work.
  • Sharing media content.

The workshop will take the form of a mixed session that will use different learning techniques and blended learning practices. Short-bursts of lecture-style presentations will be intermixed with discussions, online searches, practical production and project work. Some sessions will take place in different locations and away from the campus.

Self-directed Study: Eight Hours

As well as attending your classes you are expected to spend time each week working on coursework, background reading, independent investigation, group work and getting to know different social media platforms. Typically, this might be divided into:

  • Weekly blog planning & writing - One Hour
  • Weekly wiki planning & writing - One Hour
  • Media investigation - One Hour
  • Personal Journal - One Hour
  • Group Work - One Hour
  • Academic Reading - Three Hours
  • Total Minimum Study Time - Eight Hours

Tutor Contact

Your tutors will not answer queries and questions about coursework, the lectures or the workshops by email or any other forms of electronic communication.

Instead, you are expected to make a note of your questions in your notebook and bring them to your weekly lab session, where time will always be given to answer any ESSENTIAL questions that you have.

Your tutor has allocated time each week to see students for personal tutorials if required. These are listed at the front of this handbook, on your tutor’s wiki profile, and on the door of your tutor’s office.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this module you will be able to demonstrate that you can:

  1. Use and evaluate key terms and concepts associated with community and collaborative me-dia, and to use these terms and concepts to undertake critical assessments and interventions in debates associated with of community media practices, organisation and policy.
  2. Plan, produce and share - responsibly and ethically - content and media products within a community media group or network.

This will require that you demonstrate:

  • An awareness and knowledge of the underlying concepts associated with community media.
  • An ability to interpret and evaluate terms and concepts associated with community media.
  • An ability to present data and evidence about community media principles and practices and to interpret that evidence using academic concepts.
  • An ability to produce media content (images, sound, text) using media production technologies which can then be distributed using broadcast, social or interactive community media.
  • An ability to evaluate different problem solving approaches related to social media production techniques and the media used by participants in community media networks.
  • An ability to relay information and communicate observations and findings from investigation into community media production practices.
  • An ability to try new learning practices and ideas, and to develop new skills for reflexive and self-evaluative learning.
  • An ability to manage and organise individual and group projects and to exercise personal responsibility in the completion of individual and group tasks and objectives.

Useful Links

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Media Source Material

Close to Home: The Story of Local Radio, 20:00 10/11/2007, BBC Radio 4, 60 mins. (Accessed 27 Nov 2017)

Local News: What Are We Missing?, 11:00 22/11/2017, BBC Radio 4, 30 mins. (Accessed 27 Nov 2017)

Key Words

Community, social impact, convergence, participation, collaboration, attention, critical consumption, social media, community development, DIY-Media, Web 2.0, technology, media, culture, mediation, media technology, new media, digital literacies.