Courses - Faculty of Arts


Communication

Stage I

COMMS 100
15 Points

Communication, Technology and Culture

Explores the past, present and future of communication media. Examines communication media within their social context, and provides a particular focus on the interplay between technology and culture. Key concepts in the study of communication are introduced and various communication media are studied via specific case studies, with particular emphasis placed on new digital platforms including social and mobile media as well as older forms such as television and cinema.

Restriction: FTVMS 100

COMMS 101
15 Points

Understanding Communication in Māori and Pacific Worlds

Introduces principles and practices of communication relevant to the unique cultural landscape of Aotearoa. Students will explore communication in the context of te ao Māori and Pacific cultures, ethical issues related to bicultural communication, and the significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi for communication practitioners.

COMMS 102
15 Points

Communication and Social Change

Examines how public communication shapes and is shaped by broader changes in society. Explores the evolution of language, media narratives and public understanding over time in relation to social issues such as: the representation of marginalised groups in society; environmental challenges; the changing nature of Aotearoa New Zealand society; and global societal trends.

COMMS 103
15 Points

Digital Communication and Practice

Offers a practical and creative approach to digital communication within the critical context of platform studies. Students will navigate the capacities, affordances and limitations of a variety of digital platforms by developing the skills to create platform-specific outputs, such as podcasts, gifs, vlogs, mobile films and digital storytelling shorts.

Restriction: COMMS 301

COMMS 104
15 Points

COMMS 104G
15 Points

Advertising and Society

A critical examination of advertising and advertisements focusing on the role advertising plays in consumer culture. Advertisements from a diverse range of media are studied in order to analyse how advertisements construct and disseminate meaning. The course investigates how advertising engages with the logic of wider cultural and global transformations with consideration given to both consumer and industry perspectives.

Restriction: FTVMS 110, 110G

COMMS 105
15 Points

Introduction to Communication and Leadership

Introduces key concepts and theories of leadership with an emphasis on the fundamental role of communication. Explores the diverse contexts in which leadership operates: from complex and hierarchical organisations to small start-up enterprises; and from large public institutions to community groups. Considers the strengths and weaknesses of different styles and practices of leadership communication in light of real-world examples.

Stage II

COMMS 200
15 Points

Writing in the Workplace

Addresses written communication in the workplace across a range of discourses, environments, strategies and audiences. Focusing on different kinds of writing used in contexts such as government, community organisations, consultancy, professions, NGOs and private business, students will analyse and produce key workplace text-types within a critical framework of workplace analysis and scholarship on labour and organisations.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 201
15 Points

Journalism Studies

Explores journalism and the news media, examining their histories and contemporary state. Students gain knowledge about how the news media influences culture and society and will examine how recent social, political, and technological shifts have impacted on journalism. This course is primarily theoretical but has a practical component that involves news writing.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

Restriction: FTVMS 225

COMMS 202
15 Points

Audiences and Users

Examines the ways that audiences have been conceived, addressed, measured and empowered in the context of the history and technologies of communication media. Theories of reception to be studied include uses and gratifications models, consumer behaviourism, passive versus active audiences, the rise of the ‘prosumer’, modes of engagement and fan discourses. Students will also learn about audience research methods.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 203
15 Points

Television Journalism

A practical course where students explore the production of current affairs journalism. Students learn to write, video, present and edit short news items in the field and integrate these into a multi-camera production recorded as live in the television studio. Studio skills include directing, production management, multi-cam scripting, vision switching, presenting and interviewing within a framework of current industry practice.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

Restriction: FTVMS 201

COMMS 205
15 Points

Writing: Concept and Craft

An exploration of written communication which connects writing as an object of analysis and critique to writing as a multi-faceted craft. Since writing systems, materials and tools create the worlds we live in, the course conceptualises the relation between world and word, image and text, technology and body, and addresses cultural, critical and digital literacies that organise lived experience.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

Restriction: ENGLISH 105, 257, 363

COMMS 206
15 Points

Special Topic: Persuasion and Power

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 207
15 Points

Communication Research Methods

Introduces students to a variety of research methods in communication studies. Students learn about the foundations of, and approaches to qualitative and quantitative methods and acquire an array of techniques to collect data, such as individual and focus group interviews, participant observation, and surveys, as well as different forms of data analysis.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA or BC courses

COMMS 208
15 Points

Digital Communication Ethics

Addresses applied ethical issues arising in digital journalism, social media, “big data” surveillance and privacy, algorithmic bias, and software design. As digital media expand beyond the personal computer, there is an increase of ethical issues pertaining to mobile devices, GPS navigation, biometric modelling, artificial intelligence, and the ever-expanding range of wired devices tracking us through the so-called ‘internet of things’.

Prerequisite: 60 points passed

COMMS 209
15 Points

Special Topic

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 210
15 Points

Practicing Communication in Māori and Pacific Worlds

Builds on COMMS 101 to develop students’ cultural competencies and understanding of tikanga Māori and Pacific cultures. Particular emphasis is given to the concept of whakawhanaungatanga and protocols surrounding engagement, consultation and partnership with Māori and Pacific communities.

Prerequisite: COMMS 101 and 45 points at Stage I in BA or BC courses

COMMS 212
15 Points

Narratives of Social Change

Investigates how the presentation of information shapes public attitudes and behaviours. Explores how public communication via news, social media and public awareness campaigns influence public understanding, engagement and behaviour. Key ideas explored in this course include: discourse; framing; rhetoric; and the interplay of words, images and sounds in multimodal communication.

Prerequisite: COMMS 102 and 45 points at Stage I in BA or BC courses

COMMS 213
15 Points

Communication and Persuasion

Explores theories and practices of persuasive communication. Students will develop competencies through practical exercises and case study investigations. The course will also emphasise the ethics of persuasive communication, exploring themes such as the difference between persuasion and manipulation, and the relationship between persuasion and power.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA or BC courses

COMMS 214
15 Points

Communication and Inclusive Leadership

Explores principles and practices of inclusive leadership and communication in the context of diverse organisations. The course investigates key causes and consequences of inequalities and barriers to inclusion within organisations, including overt and covert biases and forms of discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and disabilities. It also explores leadership strategies and best practices for building and sustaining inclusive organisations.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA or BC courses

Stage III

COMMS 302
15 Points

Visual Communication

Provides students the tools for communicating with various kinds of visual images and objects. These may include brands, logos, graphics, photographs, advertisements, promos, paintings, cartoons, maps, architecture and architectural diagrams. Students will interrogate their culturally specific visual competencies and refine their skills in visual literacy while addressing issues of textuality, identity, ethnicity, nation, class, gender, and communicative inter-relationships more generally.

Prerequisite: ARTHIST 115 and 30 points from BA courses, or 15 points from COMMS 200-208 and 15 points from BA courses

COMMS 303
15 Points

Sports Media

Examines the relationship between sport and the media. Topics include sports journalism; industry practice; the mediated game event; online communities of fandom; commentary; issues of race and gender; and sports law. Students have the opportunity to experience outside broadcast of televised sport and use the university television studio to engage with key media sport professionals.

Prerequisite: 15 points from COMMS 200-208 and 15 points in BA courses

Restriction: FTVMS 313

COMMS 304
15 Points

Gender, Politics and the Media

Addresses the theory, practice and representation of politics in the media from a gendered perspective. Analyses the relationship between the media and women and men in the public sphere.

Prerequisite: 15 points from COMMS 200-208, GENDER 208, and 15 points in BA courses

Restriction: FTVMS 213, 324

COMMS 306
15 Points

Special Topic: Documentary and Social Change

Documentary film has a close alignment with social change, reflecting or even producing political transformation. Explores strands of documentary associated with political movements from anti-fascism to LGBTI issues, examining how the history of screen technology and differing documentary modes engage with audiences. Students will produce a ‘mini-documentary'.

Prerequisite: 15 points from COMMS 200-208 and 15 points in BA courses

COMMS 307
15 Points

Communication Internship

Provides experiential learning opportunities in media, public relations, advertising, and corporate communication industries.

Prerequisite: Approval of Academic Head or nominee

Restriction: ARTSGEN 301, CAREER 300

COMMS 308
15 Points

Special Topic

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 309
15 Points

Communication, Writing and Design

Examines principles and practices of written communication in domains of culture and work. With an emphasis on signs, writing tools and systems, the course considers the relations between text, images and design in persuasive and provocative graphic works. Through project-based assignments, the course develops writing and design skills in common communication contexts, including PR, advertising and content for social media.

Prerequisite: 15 points from COMMS 200-208 and 15 points in BA courses

Restriction: COMMS 305

COMMS 310
15 Points

Special Topic

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage I in BA courses

COMMS 311
15 Points

Problems and Issues in Contemporary Communication

A seminar exploring a major theme or issue in contemporary communication to be determined by the convenor.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage II in BA or BC courses

COMMS 312
15 Points

Documentary and Social Change

Investigates the close alignment between documentary film and social and political transformation. The course will explore documentaries associated with political movements from anti-fascism to LGBTI issues. Students will produce a ‘mini-documentary’ as part of their coursework.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage II in BA or BC courses

COMMS 313
15 Points

Principles and Practices of Social Communication

Develops students’ skills in communicating effectively and ethically to promote positive social change. Students will produce communication relating to real-world social issues, where possible in partnership with an external organisation working to promote social change. The course also looks at processes for carrying out stakeholder consultation and audience testing.

Prerequisite: COMMS 212 and 45 points at Stage II in BA or BC courses

COMMS 314
15 Points

Risk, Crisis and Disaster Communication

Explores how governmental and non-governmental organisations communicate in the context of social risks such as environmental hazards and public health emergencies. The course also investigates communication in the wake of disasters. Concepts explored in the course include: mis- and disinformation; public engagement and risk perceptions; framings and narratives of disaster and risk.

Prerequisite: 60 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 315
15 Points

Environmental Communication

Investigates how environmental challenges and policies are communicated in contemporary society. Particular emphasis is given to the relationship between science communication and popular media narratives.

Prerequisite: 60 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 316
15 Points

Decolonising Technology and Data

Explores Indigenous perspectives on technology and data. Policy, activism and design are explored in relation to decolonisation, equity and rangatiratanga (sovereignty).

Prerequisite: 60 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 317
15 Points

Design for Equity, Accessibility and Justice

Examines principles and practices of inclusive technology design. Considers how technologies can be designed to empower rather than disadvantage members of socially marginalised communities.

Prerequisite: COMMS 208 and 45 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 318
15 Points

Technology Futures

Considers the place of digital technologies in diverse and contested visions of the future, from Silicon Valley futurism to surveillance dystopias, and from ecological critiques of high-technology to projects for building a digital commons.

Prerequisite: 60 points passed at Stage II

Restriction: COMMS 300

COMMS 319
15 Points

Communication Strategies in the Workplace

Addresses principles and best practices for effective communication within workplaces and organisations. Focuses on students’ skills in key areas including: professionalism in communication; listening skills; conflict resolution; and negotiation skills. Particular emphasis is given to the skills required for developing coherent and consistent communication strategies.

Prerequisite: COMMS 214 and 45 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 320
15 Points

Communication Project

Students complete a practical or academic project, involving individual or group-based work.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage II in BC courses

COMMS 321
15 Points

News and Journalism in the Digital Age

Examines the changing nature of news and journalism in the digital age. Themes covered include: news values and news cycles; journalistic principles and practices; the interface between journalism and news sources, including public relations industries; journalism’s ‘fourth estate’ role and the evolving relationship between news and public opinion in the digital age; and the political economy of contemporary journalism.

Prerequisite: 60 points passed at Stage II

COMMS 322
15 Points

Designing Visual Communication

Examines the core principles and skills for effective visual communication. Explores the role of visual design in engaging diverse audiences across a variety of communicative contexts.

Prerequisite: 60 points at Stage II in BC courses

Postgraduate 700 Level Courses

COMMS 700
30 Points

Digital Futures

Considers emerging communication and media technologies and potential future consequences for individuals, societies, and the world at large. Key areas of interest include robotics and AI; ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things (IoT); 3D printing; virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies. Issues examined include automation; future of employment; surveillance; new modes of experience; transformed human relationships; and ecological consequences.

Restriction: MEDIA 717

COMMS 701
30 Points

Communication and Data

Explores the implications for communication in an age of big data, where code and algorithms curate, evaluate, and profile users’ data. The course addresses issues such as archives, clouds, privacy, identity, algorithmic bias and discrimination, complexity, informational capitalism, and affective labour, while also considering possibilities for rethinking the past and predicting the future through the analysis and visualisation of data.

COMMS 702
30 Points

Communication Excess and Avoidance

Silences and absences make communication possible. Each medium, whether spoken or printed, projected or computed, has peculiar silences ranging from elegant to tragic, comic to painful, fleeting to eternal. Superabundant digital media raise acute questions about communicative excess and possible needs to disconnect. Such questions will be addressed alongside the cultural and technological history of communication excess and absence.

Restriction: MEDIA 745

COMMS 703
30 Points

Popular Communication and Politics

Explores popular communication across a range of media, genres, texts and technologies to consider the political nature of the cultures, patterns of use, and modes of interpretation that emerge around them. The course will examine the cultural appropriation, adoption, adaptation and distribution of communicative media as well as the political economy of communication, consumer culture and varying forms of fandom.

COMMS 704
30 Points

Communication and Culture

Explores the mutually constitutive relationship between communication and culture through analyses of the cultural forms and meanings of social interaction. Acquaints students with classic and contemporary readings and introduces students to ways in which they can adopt a cultural approach toward communication phenomena in interpersonal, organisational, and intercultural settings.

COMMS 710
30 Points

Special Topic

COMMS 748
30 Points

Special Topic

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