TECH2503 Community Media Production

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Module Description

Community media serves a set of well-articulated social and civic purposes. As well as being a forum for personal expression, community media is also a way of encouraging and supporting social change.

Community media, it is argued, is a practical vehicle for enhanced participation in democratic and civic life. Community media is also argued to be a way to encourage social and economic development by widening access and skills in the marketplace.

Community media is also said to be a significant platform for social reform, as it gives people a voice in, and between, communities that are otherwise under represented.

This module gives learners the opportunity to advance their knowledge and understanding of community media by encouraging conversations and discussions about the role that community media plays in social and community development.

Learners will have the opportunity to put their skills and their knowledge in practice by setting-up and running a community media project for themselves, with the aim of meeting a social development objective and contributing towards social change and social cohesion.

Module Tutor

John Coster

Queens Building, Q1.25

John's Website

Module Handbook

Download Module Handbook: Tech2503 Module Handbook

Lecture Notes

Notes are also available to download.


Term 1:

Week 1: Community Media is Different

Week 2 Community Media Voices in Action

Week 3 Community Media Cafes

Week 4 Sustainable Development

Week 5 Be the Documentarian

Week 6 Enhancement Week Doc Media Festival

Week 7 Social Issues Leicester - Highcross Visit

Week 8 Community Spaces

Week 9 Community Engagement

Week 10 Voices & Self-Expression

Week 11 Plan The Work, Work The Plan

Term 2:

Week 15 Community Media Café Series - review / preparation

Week 16 Community Media Café Series 1 of 6 - Leicester Coffee House

Week 17 Community Media Café Series 2 of 6 - Haymarket Theatre

Week 18 Community Media Café Series 3 of 6 - GraffWeks @The Mill

Week 19 Community Media Café Series 4 of 6 - Prana Coffee

Week 20 Community Media Café Series 5 of 6 - Shaw Trust - transforming lives

Week 21 Community Media Café Series 6 of 6 - John Lewis 'The Place To Eat'

Week 22 Enhancement Week

Week 23 Community Media Cafes - Component C Blogs review

Week 24 Community Media Cafés - Component C blogs review

Week 25 Visit: 'Archive Introduction' by Dr Natalie Hayton, Assistant Archivist, Special Collections , Directorate of Library and Learning Services

Week 26 Community Media Cafes - Component D four questions

Week 27 Community Media Cafes - Component D four questions

Workshop Notes

Notes are also available to download.


Term 1:

Week 1: UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs

Week 2 SDG3

Week 3 SDG1 No Poverty

Week 4 SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals

Week 5 SDG11 Sustainable Cities & Communities

Week 6 Enhancement Week Doc Media Festival

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 Community Media Café Series - review / preparation

Week 16 Community Media Café Series 1 of 6 - Leicester Coffee House

Week 17 Community Media Café Series 2 of 6 - Haymarket Theatre

Week 18 Community Media Café Series 3 of 6 - GraffWeks @The Mill

Week 19 Community Media Café Series 4 of 6 - Prana Coffee

Week 20 Community Media Café Series 5 of 6 - Shaw Trust - transforming lives

Week 21 Community Media Café Series 6 of 6 - John Lewis 'The Place To Eat'

Week 22 Enhancement Week

Week 23 Community Media Cafes - Component C Blogs - self directed study

Week 24 Community Media Cafés - Component C blogs - self directed study

Week 25 Visit: 'Archive Introduction' by Dr Natalie Hayton, Assistant Archivist, Special Collections , Directorate of Library and Learning Services

Week 26 Community Media Cafes - Component D - self directed study

Week 27 Community Media Cafes - Component D - self directed study


  • 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 developer and content producer. Evaluating the primary content delivered in the lectures, this report will evaluate and synthesise key texts, reports and statements with secondary published texts about the status and value of community media services that are published online and through broadcast or printed sources.

The report will take the form of a formal report to DMU Local about why and how community media can be used as a sustainable platform for community development.

Component A - Survey of Community Media Cafés (5%)

Community Media Cafés are an innovative and open format for engaging people and encouraging them to participate in community media activities. Cafés have been run for a broad range of purposes, sometimes to promote a particular social issue, such as homelessness, sometimes to promote an inclusive way to develop community media volunteers media skills and literacies, on some occasions they have been used for news gathering and a chance for community reporters to engage with people living in neighbourhoods and communities, while on other occasions they are a social opportunity that gives people the chance to network and share their experiences.

This assignment is a test of your ability to investigate and research different approaches to community media cafés, the purposes that they are used for, the formats that they follow, the activities that they include, and the people that they are based around. This means following instructions given in writing and verbally from your tutor in your workshop sessions. The result of your survey of different types of community media café will be presented as a short video presentation, lasting no longer than three minutes, and a short description must be included as part of a shared DMU Commons Wiki page about community media cafés.

Each student will identify a different example of a community media café, and will write about how that café works, what is involved, and what it is used for, before summarising this description in a short video presentation. The presentation can use creative media techniques, but will be uploaded to your DMU Commons Blog, either as a directly uploaded video, or as an embedded YouTube video. Assignment Requirements

Using the Community Media Café page on the DMU Commons Wiki you will each identify a separate example of Community Media Cafés, looking for articles, interviews, papers, social media posts, videos, and online discussions that illustrate how each of these cafés operate.

You will write a short description on the Community Media Café wiki page, identifying which café you are covering, with your name clearly identified as the author of this section.

You will research and identify individuals and organizations to invite to your 6 week Community Media Café Series, organized during January & February 2019.

Once you have investigated and summarised your research, you will then make a short video presentation that explains what the community media café you looked at is about.

This video should last no longer than three minutes and should include images, screen grabs, and other forms of media you think is appropriate. You must record a voiceover narration. Any video without a narration will automatically be marked at 0%.

• 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 - What is a Community Media Café? (15%)

There is a growing awareness that people struggle with a sense of participation and involvement in community life. We often struggle to get to know who are neighbours are or who we can turn to for support and assurance. Community media involves an approach to shared social experiences that tries to break down some of the barriers to social exclusion and marginalisation that exist in society. Community media does this by adopting an inclusive approach to its activities, one example of which is the community media café.

In your next assignment, you will be hosting and delivering a programme of activities in the form of a weekly community media café. For this assignment, you will be undertaking research, planning and development work so that you are able to practically host your community media café events. You will be working in a group, though your work will be marked individually.

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 events, activities and information you can include in your community media café events that will highlight and raise these topics of concern.

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 cafes and how they have been used to tackle some of these issues. Your blogs will summarize the key issues of concern, and will use quotes, links and screengrabs to demonstrate what is being discussed in these articles and threads.

This assignment consists of investigation and research into your chosen social topic for component C of your coursework, as well as the practical planning that you need to undertake in order to run a community media café successfully. 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. 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.

• 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 Cafe (30%)

Community life in the United Kingdom is said to be split 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 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.

Assignment Requirements

Your task in this assignment is to take on the role of a host for a Community Media Café which will be held over 6 weeks at a venue 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. You will be undertaking the following tasks:

• Planning, researching, and running a community media café.

• Researching topics and issues of discussion to include in the café programme.

• Engaging with people and finding out what they want to discuss, then promoting the café to encourage people to attend and participate.

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

• Hosting community media café events so that they are accessible and encourage people to get involved, learn something, and feel confident attending.

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 Café Group Project.

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 – Community Media Café Evaluative 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:

1. Can community media cafés enhance our sense of civic engagement and participation?

2. Can community media cafés address voice poverty?

3. Can community media cafés promote sustainable alternative and DIY forms of media?

4. Can community media cafés address specific social problems in Leicester?

Assessment 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.

• 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.

  • Howley, K. (Ed.) (2010). Understanding Community Media. London: Sage
  • Isaacs, S. (et al). (2015) Social Problems in the UK – An Introduction, London, Routledge
  • Monbiot, G. (2016) How Did We Get into This Mess? Verso, London.
  • Moore, S. (Ed.) (2016) Pragmatic Sustainability – Dispositions for Critical Adaptation (2nd Ed.). Routledge, London.
  • Philips, R. & Pittman, R.H. (eds) (2015) An Introduction to Community Development, 2nd Edition, Routledge, London.
  • Atton, C. (2002). Alternative Media. London: Sage.
  • Howley, K. (2005). Community Media - People, Places and Communication Technologies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 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.
  • Rennie, E. (2006). Community Media - A Global Introduction. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Use key terms and concepts associated with community and collaborative media.
  • Develop, produce and share - responsibly and ethically - content and media products within a community media group or network.
  • Evaluate key terms and concepts associated with community and collaborative media to undertake critical assessments and interventions in debates associated with community media practices, organisation and policy.

You will do this by showing that you have:

  • An awareness and knowledge of the underlying concepts associated with community media development.
  • An ability to interpret and evaluate terms and concepts associated with community media development.
  • An ability to present data and evidence about community media development 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 community 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 development and 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.

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. Note taking 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.

Enhancement Weeks

Your programme team are committed to support you through your studies and as you develop your learning through each module that you study. As part of your programme, we are dedicated to helping you to plan for your future after leaving university, and ‘Enhancement weeks’ are a central concept to help you achieve your future goal. As part of the university calendar, week 6 and week 22 are designated ‘Enhancement weeks’ in which you will find timetabled activities focused around your personal and professional development. Enhancement weeks are not simply about getting a job after you graduate, but a method used within career education comprising activities to support your development in areas such as decision making, employment opportunity awareness, the transition to work and self-awareness skills.

As well as activities organised at the university, there are other events taking place in Leicester that you can participate in.

The Doc Media Festival takes place between 6th-10th November.

Useful Links

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Media Source Material

After Cathy, 17:00 20/11/2016, BBC Radio 4, 40 mins. (Accessed 16 Nov 2016).

An Inconvenient Truth, 21:20 04/04/2009, Channel 4, 110 mins. (Accessed 22 Nov 2016)

Before the Flood [film, online], National Geographic, 30/10/2016, National Geographic YouTube, 135mins. (accessed 01/11/2016).

The Black Lesbian Handbook, [television programme, online] More 4, Prd. country U.K.] (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Bob and Roberta’s Excellent Protest Adventure, 21:00 17/11/2016, BBC4, 60 mins. (Accessed 04 Dec 2016)

Cathy Come Home, 22:30 13/11/2016, BBC4, 80 mins. (Accessed 16 Nov 2016)

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

CMA vox pops v1 rough cut no VO, [Online Video] Community Media Association 19/09/2016 [YouTube] (Accessed 27/06/16).

Dispatches: Immigrants - The Inconvenient Truth, 20:00 01/10/2007, Channel 4, 60 mins. (Accessed 22 Nov 2016).

Eastern Europeans in Brexitland, 11:00 14/09/2016, BBC Radio 4, 30 mins. (Accessed 07 Dec 2016).

Generation Screwed?, 00:25 08/11/2017, BBC1 Scotland, 40 mins. (Accessed 29 Oct 2017)

HARDtalk, Mohamed Diab, Film Director, 04:30 19/10/2016, BBC News 24, 30 mins. (Accessed 02 Feb 2017)

It's a Wonderful Life, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 16:15 20/12/2014, More 4, 155mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service , With documentary film-maker Adam Curtis, 16:00 16/10/2016, BBC 6 Music, 120 mins. (Accessed 18 Oct 2016)

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

Milk, [film, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 22:00 9/10/2011, BBC TWO, 128mins., (Accessed 14/12/2015).

No Place to Call Home, 23:45 24/10/2016, BBC2 Scotland, 60 mins. (Accessed 16 Nov 2016).

Thinking Allowed, The English Defence League; ‘Real’ immigrants, 00:15 18/07/2016, BBC Radio 4, 30 mins. (Accessed 07 Dec 2016)

This Is Braunstone, 05/11/2013 This Is Braunstone YouTube 25 mins (Accessed 30th November 2016).

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.