(Awarding Body – OCR)
What is the course about?
Media Studies is the systematic study and analysis of the mass media through the Key Concepts of Narrative, Representation, Audience, Ideology, Media Language and Institutions. We aim to equip you with a critical understanding of the way that media texts communicate, studying anything from computer games, to broadsheet newspapers, to Postmodern cinema, to MTV. In addition to the theoretical element, the course is 50% practical and you will learn about print and film/video production, including lighting and composition in photography and cinematography, and editing using DTP and video editing software.
For whom is the course suitable?
Contrary to popular belief, Media Studies is a very dense and complex subject with a great deal of critical theory to absorb and use. To do well, you will need to be enthusiastic, motivated, thoughtful and well organised. It is not essential to have taken Media Studies GCSE, but a good grade in English Language (A* - B grade) is a strong indicator that you will be able to cope with the essay-writing requirements.
Teaching Methods and Homework commitment
The course is split up into practical work and theory. Theory lessons are conventionally teacher lead, but you may be called upon to make presentations and lead sessions when discussing your own research. Practical work will be taught through a series of shorter assigned tasks that build confidence in the use of equipment, giving you the independence to produce work either individually or in groups. You should expect at least one written assignment and one learning assignment per week unless you are working on practical assignments.
Method of Study and Assessment
Unit 1 – Foundation Portfolio in Media
This is a coursework unit where candidates produce a media artefact from a series of briefs. This process involves progression from a pre-production, preliminary exercise to a more fully realised piece. The briefs offered are: print, video, audio and website. Candidates present their research and planning in either paper-based or digital format and do an evaluation in digital format, based on seven required prompt questions. Internally Assessed/Externally Moderated – 50% of AS
Unit 2 – Key Media Concepts (TV Drama)
This paper covers the two areas of Textual Analysis and Representation alongside Institutions and Audiences. In Section A, candidates answer a question on an unseen moving image extract that is then linked to some aspect of the representation within the sequence. In Section B, candidates study a specific media industry from a choice of: film, music, newspapers, radio, magazines or video games. Externally Examined – 50% of AS
What could I go on to do at the end of the course?
Media Studies carries the same number of UCAS points as any other A Level subject and is accepted by all universities. The method of study lends itself to both practical/creative subjects and academic/research-based subjects. In addition to the more conventional university courses, many institutions now offer practical courses that provide a good springboard into media industries, and OCR Media Studies is well respected by these institutions.
Unit 3 – Advanced Portfolio in Media
This is a coursework unit where candidates engage with contemporary media technologies to produce a media portfolio through a combination of two or more media and then present their research, planning and evaluation in digital format. This is a development of the skills from Unit 1. Internally Assessed/Externally Moderated – 25% of A2
Unit 4 – Critical Perspective in Media
This paper covers the two areas of Theoretical Evaluation of Production alongside a study of Contemporary Media Issues. In Section A, candidates describe and evaluate their skills development in their production work and then select one production to evaluate in relation to a media concept. In Section B, candidates choose one topic and then demonstrate their understanding of a contemporary issue through a range of texts, institutions, audiences and debates.
Externally Examined – 25% of A2