OCR Media Studies Conference 2012 G235: Critical Perspectives in Media Theoretical Evaluation of Production: Q 1a and Q 1b
Victoria Allen Head of Media Studies at Thomas Rotherham Sixth Form College Examiner for A2 Media Studies
Rubric for 1a) Evaluate skills development across media production work over two years of ‘A’ Level or any other media production within the areas of: • Digital Technology • Creativity • Research and Planning • Post Production • Use of Real Media Texts Question can be based on one or two of the areas.
Rubric for 1b) Evaluate one production piece (AS or A2 main project or either of the A2 ancillaries) against one of the below theoretical concepts: • Genre • Narrative • Representation • Audience • Media Language Answers can demonstrate how work supports or challenges ideas within the areas.
What do students find difficult? In groups from your own experience, write down what you think the students find/might find difficult about Section A in general.
In my experience as a teacher... - Students don’t like evaluating their own work. - They find it difficult to identify what skills they have developed over two years (and any outside work for 1a). -They think they already know many aspects (particularly for 1a). - They don’t like learning or applying the theory (for 1b). - Timing their answers.
In my experience as an examiner... - They have misunderstood what is required for 1a) – only discuss one product. - They are vague for 1b) – either no ‘real’ theory/terms or just a textual analysis of their product. - Students haven’t applied any kind of structure to either of the questions - Timing their answers – they run out of time and only do one OR don’t write enough to gain marks.
Question 1a) What we can do to help the students structure their thoughts and learning?
In groups, write down which numbers are true or false. 1. For 1a) students don’t have to explain what they made 2. For 1a) have a different structure for each option 3. For 1a) options can’t be taught to a structure 4. For 1a) we shouldn’t teach theory 5. For 1a) options must teach theory 6. 1a) options need less time spent teaching them than 1b) options 7. 1a) options are all covered in the A2 coursework evaluations
Q1a) Structure... It is possible to teach some essay structure for these options if we structure a plan to the three elements of the production process (which is what the whole question is essentially asking the students to evaluate). - Pre-Production - Production - Post-Production
The three options that can be taught to this easy structure are: - Digital Technology - Creativity - Use of Real Media Texts An ‘affect on/effects of’ structure can be applied that takes into account the stages of production to more difficult options: - Research and Planning - Post Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital Technology • Starter • Begin by asking students to define digital technology and re-call digital technologies across the course. • This generally brings up blogs, cameras, tripods (!!), Photoshop, Premiere... Discuss with them the difference between hardware and software (and explain why tripods aren’t digital...)
Applying a simple structure:Digital Technology AS A2 Pre-Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital Technology AS A2 Production
Applying a simple structure:Digital Technology AS A2 Post-Production
Marks and Timing • All that does seem a lot for the students to write in 30 minutes. • But to get the marks the students need examples from their work. • So – could limit the examples to 3 per section (e.g. 3 digital technologies at AS at pre-production stage and at A2 3 development examples)
Marks and Timing • Try to always stick to PDQ format – this helps for the two option questions... • In terms of essay introductions for 1a), use a three part structure • 1. Answer or give point of view to question. • 2. Outline briefly what they made across both years. • 3. Explain to the examiner how they are going to structure their essay.
Q1a) Theory and Terminology... It is possible to remind students of basic theory or references to ideas and key terms that they can put into their essays. (magazines = preferred meaning, star persona, ideal self/partner) It isn’t vital that there is theory but if it helps support their answer then their application of it and understanding can be credited.
Q1a) Theory and Terminology... Hard one for teachers – Creativity? We use a basic definition: ‘making of the old, re-arranging of the new’, ‘something new that communicates something to someone’, ‘something original’. This can be used to support points of view in introduction and throughout.
Any Questions about Q1a)??(happy to go through structure for any other questions etc...)
Question 1b) What we can do to help the students structure their essays?
Q1b) Guidance on Teaching The students need to be equipped to take one of their Productions and apply it to ideas/theory about one of the five concepts. The key way to help them do this is not to give them too much and make the theoretical ideas as generic as possible (particularly for centres like mine that complete a variety of coursework options). It is possible to get them to pick one of their productions and work through all the options in the syllabus early on.
Q1b) Guidance on Teaching • Introductions - could follow 3 part structure: 1. Define the concept 2. Outline the production they will evaluate. 3. Tell the examiner they are going to discuss (X number of ideas about the concept in the essay). • Again the students should try to follow a PDQ format, but the emphasis is on examples (D) from their work to support or challenge a theory/idea about the concept.
Q1b) Breakdown of the Options? • Genre • Generally, this should cover not just generic conventions of the particular sub-genre of their product but should include ideas about how genres develop/evolve (in relation to their particular product (e.g. Changing sub-genres of music video, magazines) and how institutions use genre to target audiences.
Q1b) Breakdown of the Options? • Narrative • Essentially, the basic and familiar narrative theories can be applied to many video pieces the students have undertaken. • This is a harder one to apply to print products but can be done in terms of looking a narratives behind the ideologies that are apparent within the text. • Ideas about juxtaposition of elements are useful in helping to explain how design work and layout in print products creates a logical ‘story’ for the reader.
Q1b) Breakdown of the Options? • Representation • There are numerous theories about representation of gender, age, ethnicity, regional identity etc. which may have already been covered at AS. • Students may evaluate how their product has mediated certain representations about social groups/artists/characters. • They can also evaluate how certain subcultures have been represented within the product.
Q1b) Breakdown of the Options? • Audience • Again, there are numerous ways to tackle this and an idea about each allows the students to fully show they understand the concept. • How the audience is represented, how the product can be applied to audience effects/reception/pleasures theories, how the product is a reflection of ideas about changing audience consumption habits, how the audience for the text was constructed and researched.
Q1b) Breakdown of the Options? • Media Language • This is all about the specific medium and how the language of the medium has been used to create meaning for the audience. The meanings generally are a synoptic round up of other options covered (genre, narrative/stories, representations). • As part of this it is important to include terminology about how signs work in the media. • Essentially, however, this is one where a generic approach is more difficult and the language of the medium needs careful revision to encourage students to textually analyse their own essay against medium specific theory (e.g. Goodwin and music videos).
G235: Critical Perspectives in Media Theoretical Evaluation of Production 1b) Genre Sample Basic Lesson Structure
Aims/Objectives • To introduce the concept of genre theory and key genre theorists. • To have a basic understanding of how to categorise evaluate your coursework against genre theory.
Definition • ‘Genre’ is a critical tool that helps us study texts and audience responses to texts by dividing them into categories based on common elements. • Daniel Chandler (2001)details that the word genre comes from the word for 'kind' or 'class'. The term is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory, media theory to refer to a “distinctive type of ‘text’”.
All genres have sub genres (genre within a genre). • This means that they are divided up into more specific categories. Barry Keith Grant (1995) suggests that this allows audiences to identify them specifically by their familiar and what become recognisable characteristics.
Task –Chandler’s and Grant’s theories. • You have 5 minutes to write down how the production you are writing about for Q1b) fits into a specific genre/sub-genre/hybrid genre. • Back this up with at least 5 specific elements/examples from this production that show how you have replicated genre conventions. • Must be specific – headlines, photogaphs, fonts, editing techniques.
Jason Mittell (2001) argues that industries use genre to sell products to audiences. Media producers use familiar codes and conventions that very often make references to their audience knowledge of society, other texts.
Task – Jason Mittel’s theory. • You have 5 minutes to write down how you used real media products in your chosen industry to help you construct your product. How, for example, does the local newspaper provide familiar expectations? • Back this up with at least 5 specific elements/examples from this industry that show how you have replicated/challenged genre conventions. • Finally, write a sentence about how these choices would make sure your product appealed to your demographic.
Genre also allows audiences to make choices about what products they want to consume through acceptance in order to fulfil a particular pleasure. • Theorist Rick Altman (1999) argues that genre offers audiences ‘a set of pleasures’. • This can also be linked to Denis McQuail’s (1972) theory on ‘uses and gratifications’ of media texts for audiences. • Basically, the genre of your text will have provided your demographic/subculture with some satisfaction upon their consumption.
Task – Rick Altman’s and Denis McQuail’s theories. • You have 5 minutes to write down: • Altman’s three pleasures. Decide which one might relate to your product and write down in detail 5 examples from your product which offer this for your audience. • McQuail’s four uses and gratifications. Decide which ones might relate to your product and write down in detail 5 examples from your product which offer this for your audience
Genres are not fixed. They constantly change and evolve over time – your coursework productions, as we have discussed, are postmodern pieces and/or adapt to changes to advances in technology. Christian Metz (1974)argued that genres go through a typical cycle of changes during their lifetime. David Buckingham (1993) argues that 'genre is not... Simply "given" by the culture: rather, it is in a constant process of negotiation and change’. Steve Neale (1995) “genres are processes of systemisation” – they change over time.
Task – ‘Evolving’ genre theories. • You have 5 minutes to write down: • How your product is part of a genre that has changed over time. • Give 3 examples of texts that were part of ‘experimental’ or ‘classic’ ideas of your product within the genre and 5 examples that show your text as a ‘classic’ or as an ‘evolving’ piece.
Certain genres are also said to have certain themes. David Bordwell (1989) notes, 'any theme may appear in any genre‘.
Task – genre themes. • You have 5 minutes to write down: • 5 themes that appear within your product that are part of your genre. • Back each one up with examples from your work.
Plenary • Write down 3 genre theorists (not including Chandler or Grant) that you have learnt today and what they have said. • Write down 2 pieces of medium specific theory and relate it to your sub genre.
Homework “Analyse one of your coursework productions in relation to genre”.
Any Questions about Q1b)??(happy to go through theory for any other questions etc...)