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MFCO202 Theory of Communication Studies

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

Communication theory as it applies to cultural, media, and technological contexts and processes.

All forms of media communication are social and shaped by our cultural and political environment. This is why we communicate in some ways and not others. MFCO 202 provides a critical overview of forms and theories of mediated communications in order to explain how we communicate differently to different audiences and publics. The paper investigates the centrality of communication to the formation of ideologies/citizenship, popular culture, audiences, and institutions of power.

Paper title Theory of Communication Studies
Paper code MFCO202
Subject Media, Film and Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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18 MFCO or COMS points
COMS 201
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Davinia Thornley
Paper Structure

The paper covers three key themes in communication studies and debates:

  • The centrality of communication to social relations
  • The role of media technologies in the establishment and contestation of public opinion
  • The role of communication as an expression of power


Note: This is subject to change before the class commences.

  • 80% Attendance (8 tutorials) and discussion 'starter' activity - 20%
  • Essay (1500 - 2000 words) - 30%
  • Journal (equivalent 1000 words) - 20%
  • Test (approximately 2000 words) - 30%


Teaching Arrangements

Two 1-hour lectures per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week


Required readings via Blackboard/course pack.

Course outline

View a sample course outline for MFCO 202

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete this paper will
  • Be able to evaluate the social and political assumptions informing theories of communication
  • Explain how space and culture influence our public identity and public forms of communication
  • Develop the capacity to critically analyse a range of contemporary media texts and their public effects

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 29-33, 36-40
T2 Thursday 11:00-11:50 29-33, 36-40
T3 Thursday 15:00-15:50 29-33, 36-40
T4 Thursday 16:00-16:50 29-33, 36-40