Analyzing Mode, Medium, and Message

Analyzing Mode, Medium, and Message

This activity combines an initial asynchronous step with a follow-up engagement in real-time during class.  It asks students to consider how different media aggregate their global development content in order to consider the rhetorical relationship between mode, (internet, printed paper, etc.) medium (publication) and message (content of the story). By considering this relationship, the students get a better grasp of the landscape of how information (in this case, global development) is communicated to the public. 

Activity title: Analyzing Mode, Medium, and Message: Exploring the “conversation” around global development and social change via current media

Author: Emily Polk

Course: PWR 1

Activity length and schedule: Early in the quarter, as students are thinking about research topics.  Students should spend no more than an half hour on this activity outside of class time.

Activity goals: In general, Emily uses it  to introduce her students to the popular (media) texts that define their course theme while also helping them to think through research topics they might want to pursue.  Some more detailed goals include:

  • Explore current conversations around a theme (in this case, global development and social change) in a range of global media
  • Consider topics that might be interesting for the students to pursue as a writing project during the quarter
  • Analyze the relationship between mode (internet), medium (publication platform) and message (content of the story)
  • Increase their understanding of how a public conversation about development is always about more than the content of the story itself.  The story must be situated in the context in which it appears, the audience it was intended for, the time it was published, along with the other stories that contribute to the conversation.

Activity details: Students perform a guided analysis of a text that has been assigned to them in groups.  They take notes on their analysis in preparation for an in-class conversation; this second step could be moved to an asynchronous platform, such as a discussion board. 

See the student-facing instructions here.