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MFCO303 Critical Problems in Communication Studies

News media routine processes, mythologies, structural constraints, access and equity; discourses and social contexts of news production.

MFCO 303 offers a theoretical and practical study of communication in both the media and everyday life. Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of research methods, as well as practical skills for applying these research methods to a range of communication contexts.

Paper title Critical Problems in Communication Studies
Paper code MFCO303
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level COMS or MFCO points or GEND 205 or GEND 305
COMS 301
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Brett Nicholls

Paper Structure

We aim to develop theoretical understanding of communication as well as practical skills for analysing communicative contexts. The paper is organised around studies of a range of research methods and practical tasks.


  • Take-home test 30%
  • Hands-on assignment 30%
  • Research essay 40%
Teaching Arrangements

This paper is taught via lectures, tutorials and practical tasks.


Course reader.

Course outline

View a sample course outline for MFCO 303

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Acquire knowledge of communication networks that operate between multiple and various social and cultural communities
  • Discover, through research, the ways in which communicative encounters are enabled
  • Learn, through the readings, how to think through the ideological and political implications of everyday communication
  • Achieve competence in oral and written skills in order to effectively communicate knowledge and understanding of the main issues raised by the paper

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Friday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 10-14, 17-21
T2 Wednesday 15:00-15:50 10-14, 17-21
T3 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 10-14, 17-21