Wellington College

Wellington College Belfast

Co-Educational Grammar School

Engage | Educate | Empower

Media Studies

Media Studies

Key Staff

  • Mr A King (HOD)
  • Ms. C. Williams

Media Studies is a popular and successful subject in the College, and is available at GCSE (Single Award and Double Award options) and AS/A2 level. The key skills at all levels include; Knowledge and understanding of the media, Analysis of media products, and Media Production. The department is well equipped, with a modern iMac suite and a range of digital cameras and video cameras to suit both beginners and more advanced users.

Results at all levels are consistently good, with most pupils genuinely enjoying the topics explored and therefore being more willing to “take ownership” of their own learning. By A2 a high degree of critical autonomy is expected.

Practical Production work is extremely popular with most Media Studies pupils as this provides opportunities to be creative, use cutting edge technology, and work collaboratively in groups. Practical Productions often include TV advertisements, music videos, film trailers and documentary work, as well as print options such as newspaper/magazine pages and billboards. Radio and eMedia options are also available.

Media Studies is not a vocational course, although several past pupils have gone on to pursue careers in this area. Essentially a study of the media is a study of the world around us. An understanding of the powerful force known as “the media” is essential for every citizen in the 21st century.

Single Award Media Studies consists of one Controlled Assessment unit (60%) and one Examination unit (40%). The exam board used by WCB for Media Studies is AQA.

What is "the Media"?

In GCSE Media Studies, "Media" is defined as:

  • Television
  • Film
  • Radio
  • Popular Music
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines and comics

Candidates will study a minimum of three media. 

Key Concepts

Our study of the media is undertaken using the following Key Concepts:

  • Media Language : forms and conventions
  • Audience
  • Institutions
  • Representation

Activities

For each media type, activities relating to the three Assessment Objectives are carried out:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Analysis and interpretation
  • Production skills

Unit 1 Examination: “Investigating the Media” (40% of Single Award)

The exam undertaken is based on a pre-released topic area with guidance and stimulus materials provided.  The topic changes from year to year. For June 2013 the topic is “The Music Press: Print and Online”. For June 2014 it is “Gaming: Promotion and Marketing of Video Games”. Four questions must be completed, testing pupils on their knowledge and understanding, plus their research, planning and presentation skills.

Written Paper: 1 hour 30mins

Unit 2 Controlled Assessment: “Understanding the Media” (60% of Single Award)

Three assignments must be completed, with 90 marks available in total  :

  1. Introductory Assignment (Print Media: magazine front covers). 15 marks.
  2. Cross Media Assignment (Film Promotion: trailers and posters). 30 marks.
  3. Practical Production (Promotion of Music: music video). 45 marks.

Pupils can work in groups for the Practical Production, and are encouraged to work in the medium of moving image so that the school's DV cameras and Apple Mac editing equipment can be used.

Double Award Media Studies consists of one the two Single Award units (units 1 and 2) plus an additional two Double Award units (units 3 and 4). The overall weighting is the same as Single Award: 60% Controlled Assessment (units 2 and 4), 40% Examination (units 1 and 3). All units will be entered at the end of year 12. The exam board used by WCB for Media Studies is AQA.

Unit 1 Examination: “Investigating the Media” (20% of Double Award)

The exam (1 hr 30 minutes) is based on a pre-released topic area with guidance and stimulus materials provided.  The topic changes from year to year. For June 2013 the topic is “The Music Press: Print and Online”. For June 2014 it is “Gaming: Promotion and Marketing of Video Games”. Four questions must be completed, testing pupils on their knowledge and understanding, plus their research, planning and presentation skills.

Unit 2 Controlled Assessment: “Understanding the Media” (30% of Double Award)

Three assignments must be completed, with 90 marks available in total  :

  • Introductory Assignment (Print Media: magazine front covers). 15 marks.
  • Cross Media Assignment (Film Promotion: trailers and posters). 30 marks.
  • Practical Production (Promotion of Music: music video). 45 marks.

Pupils can work in groups for the Practical Production, and are encouraged to work in the medium of moving image so that the school's DV cameras and Apple Mac editing equipment can be used.

Unit 3 Examination: “Exploring Media Industries” (20% of Double Award)

The exam (1 hr 30 minutes) has two sections. Section A consists of short answer questions, while Section B requires five longer responses to a stimulus. Candidates are expected to develop an understanding of the work and impact of media organisations in their local area in preparation for this exam.

Unit 4: Controlled Assessment “Responding to a Media Brief” (30% of Double Award)

The aim of this unit is for candidates to produce a campaign across two media platforms in response to an industry-related brief. Candidates will simulate industry practice by following the production process from the ‘ideas stage’ through to production and post-production work. They will need to gather and respond to audience feedback, and will need to show an awareness of the importance of research, planning, working to deadlines and audience needs.

AS and A2 Media Studies each consist of one coursework unit (50%) and one examination unit (50%). The exam board used by WCB for Media Studies is AQA.

Introduction

Media literacy is an essential skill for the 21st century. The AS and A2 Media Studies course provides an engaging, challenging and enjoyable opportunity for candidates to explore the rapidly changing media landscape. Students will gain a solid understanding of the purposes, principles, concepts, techniques and systems of media products in print, audio-visual and new/emerging media platforms. They will study contemporary media to look at the changing ways and contexts in which media texts are produced and consumed.

Assessment objectives

  • AO1 - Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of media concepts contexts and critical debates
  • AO2 - Apply knowledge and understanding when analysing media products and processes and evaluating their own practical work, to show how meanings and responses are created
  • AO3 - Demonstrate the ability to plan and construct media products using appropriate technical and creative skills
  • AO4 - Demonstrate the ability to undertake, apply and present appropriate research

AS outline

Media Studies AS has 2 units, each worth 50% of AS/25% of A2:

Unit 1: Investigating Media

This unit is assessed by a 2 hour written examination.

Section A: Four compulsory short answer questions based on one unseen piece of stimulus material (moving image, digital/web-based (e-media) or print). (48 marks; 1 hr 15 minutes, including 15 minutes reading/viewing time).

Section B: One essay question from a choice of two. Candidates must answer with detailed reference to their own prepared Cross-Media study. (32 marks; 45 minutes).

Unit 2: Creating Media

Candidates must respond to an externally set coursework brief, and produce two linked production pieces (60 marks) plus an evaluation (20 marks; 1500 words). Research and Planning documentation must also be submitted.

A2 outline

At A2, candidates are encouraged to examine the media in a less formulaic way and demonstrate, develop and formulate an independent understanding of the media and its influential role in today's society, as well as debating major contemporary media issues.

Media Studies A2 has 2 units, each worth 25% of A2:

Unit 3: Media: Critical Perspectives

This unit is assessed by a 2 hour written examination.

Section A: Three compulsory questions on unseen stimulus materials (32 marks; 1 hr including 15 minutes reading/viewing time).

Section B: One essay from a choice of four (48 marks; 1 hr). Current pre-set topics are “Representation” and “The Impact of New Technology”. Each candidate is expected to prepare an individual case-study of their own choice for each pre-set topic selected.

Unit 4: Media Research and Production

This coursework unit requires candidates to produce a detailed Critical Investigation (2000 words), exploring a topic of their own choice (48 marks). This must be accompanied by a Linked Production piece, which can be completed in groups of up to 4 (32 marks).  Production work in this unit is expected to be of a higher standard than that produced at AS level, with the best work expected to be nearing professional standards.

Success in the competitive media industry often depends on your determination and motivation, but skills from a media degree can be used in many jobs

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

  • Media planner
  • Multimedia specialist
  • Program researcher, broadcasting/film/video
  • Public relations officer
  • Runner, broadcasting/film/video
  • Television/film/video producer

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

  • Advertising account executive
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Editorial assistant
  • Event organizer
  • Information officer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Market researcher
  • Writer

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