ADDING MEDIA LITERACY TO THE HIGHER EDUCATOIN CURRICULUM: PROPOSITIONS FOR OFFICIAL CHANGES AND INFORMAL CLASSROOM ADDITIONS
Jayne Cubbage, Bowie State University (United States)
The 21st century has ushered in a new wave of technology and mediated communication, which places increased demands on the literacy skills of media consumers and information seekers. Media literacy, known as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, produce and act upon media messages, is seen as the essential skill set for today’s networked and interconnected world. While much of the world has access to media technology for various purposes, including texting, email, social media and other online tools, technology also serves to entertain, educate socialize and provide necessary information for daily living for millions worldwide. Much of the media-consuming world is lacking adequate media literacy skills to adeptly understanding the inner workings; the intention, purpose of media messages that are consumed. As such, UNESCO has implemented the Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy as a benchmark for media and information literacies around the world. In many regions of the world, efforts are underway to educate media audiences about the ways media producers design messages and how to navigate the labyrinth of media images and implications for audiences, particularly for young children, teens and young adults. Despite these successes many nations are taking a more halting approach to media literacy and its merits have not been fully realized in secondary or K-12 public education. While education officials debate the merits of adding media literacy to the existing curriculum in primary education, a logical and more streamlined implementation of media literacy into higher education curriculum is a logical step for many colleges and universities. New courses can be added with approval by university and department curriculum committees with little to no major overhaul of existing curriculum. Additionally, professors, lecturers and instructors across the university, and particularly those who teach in media related courses, can add individual lesson plans, which introduce the concept of media literacy to students on an class and lesson by lesson basis. This will serve two purposes; one to introduce media literacy to students as media concepts, skills and texts are used in class and will also bolster the media literacy aptitude of professors. This paper seeks to introduce various strategies and suggestions for adding media literacy to existing college curricula.