Media Studies

Media studies students take hands-on classes in creative writing and visual art, while studying the social, cultural, and political impacts of media in courses on journalism, literature, and film.

This stream fulfills five of the six course requirements for the first year of the Bachelor of Media Studies. Students who have an affinity for making art, analyzing books and films, consuming and discussing contemporary media will find this stream a good fit.

When I came across the CAP Culture and Media stream, I took the risk in joining this program, with courses I had no intention in ever taking. I was exposed to such interesting courses like Film Studies or topics belonging to Gender, Race, and Social Justice, in which I immediately fell in love with.

Vivian C.
Sociology major

Courses: Term One

In the first term, students will enrol in CAP 100 (fulfills the academic writing requirement), Creative Writing, and Film Studies. Through the study of film and through their own academic research and creative writing projects, students will learn how to appreciate and contribute to scholarly conversations and contemporary media.

This course provides an interdisciplinary foundation for academic writing and related research communicative practices within an interactive learning environment. Students will choose the section that best suits their scheduling needs and academic interests.

As media changes form, writers must adapt. The new media landscape is perpetually evolving, and we all have a hand in creating, destroying and re-building it. What potential does it hold for writers, and what limitations? In this course, you will cultivate a nuanced understanding of contemporary new media that will inform your role in shaping its future as both a writer and a digital citizen. The class considers how writing and reading are changing alongside an evolving transmedia landscape, and how new norms of audience engagement impact the way narrative is produced and received, and how AI is impacting creative process. Through multi-media lectures, discussions, guest speakers from various new media niches, in-class creative work, and writing assignments across genres, this course equips you with the critical framework and writing skills to engage meaningfully and productively with the ever-evolving faces of media. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, podcasting, blogging, trans-media, collaborative, and interactive storytelling are all on the menu. Assignments will see you confronting the necessities of writing effectively in a public, multidisciplinary, interactive context while challenging you to connect your writing with matters close to your heart.

M 2-5:30

This course prepares first-year students to pursue a critical study in cinema. Through introduction to the core fundamentals of film analysis, this course will equip students to discuss films in a critical and informed way. Students will become fluent in the terminology for identifying and examining film form and types, as well as key concepts in the field of film studies. The course will also briefly introduce students to critical categories in film study such as authors, stars, and genres.


Courses: Term Two

In the second term, students transition from CAP 100 to CAP 101, while being introduced to the studies of Visual Arts and Journalism. In addition, technical lab/workshop hours in visual arts class will equip students with the technical skills to create and critique visual media, while journalism class will introduce students to various journalistic skills and ethics.

This course applies research and writing skills learned in CAP 100 to literary, cultural, and/or media analysis. The topics and readings integrate the stream focus on Media Studies. Students will stay with the same instructor and small group of students from CAP 100 and may develop projects started in that course.

M 2-3

This visual arts course on “Foundation Studio: Digital Media” covers historical, political, theoretical, and practical issues of art and image making with a focus on photography and moving images to digital media. Media literacy and the role of artistic practice will be emphasized through class work, consisting of readings, activities and discussions about the nature of images and image-making, as well as weekly lectures on historical to contemporary artists and artworks that have made significant contributions to the dialogue of the machine’s influence on representation. In this class, students will realize lens-based and digital visual art works in an informed and critical setting.

MWF 10-11

This is a first-year undergraduate course that looks at how shifts in the media landscape, the advent of new technologies, and changes in information flow are transforming the practice, profession and role of journalism. The social organization and communication features of our media-saturated world are being altered by economic, sociological and technological factors, and this course offers students an opportunity to have a better understanding of evolving media landscapes.


Sample Projects

Self-reflection paper/podcast
Students read stories from Legends of Vancouver, a collection of primarily Squamish stories retold by E. Pauline Johnson. They then visit the sites of selected stories in person to collect observations about the contemporary location, and compose either a written paper or a recorded podcast about the difference it makes to their understanding of this space to become aware of its Indigenous cultural significance. This assignment gives students the chance to practice the research method of autoethnography, as they learn how to frame their personal experience as a legitimate part of scholarly research in Indigenous studies and anthropology. They also have the option to add to skills they have already developed in their CRWR 213 course's podcast script assignment, by both scripting and recording a podcast which they may share with an audience of their peers.

Media object group discussion
Students write brief responses summarizing a contemporary media controversy or cultural object of their own choosing, and framing their critical response to it through Stuart Hall’s account of reception theory. These responses are uploaded to the course website and read by a group of their peers, to form the basis for a twenty-minute discussion in which only their fellow group members attend and participate. The assignment gives students a chance to apply course concepts to new contexts, to practice presenting their ideas in a low-stakes spoken format, and to build rapport with peers.

UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) project
The Media Studies stream will be working with a media-focused community organization and working on a related media project in one or more courses.

Appropriation Project
Starting with the dissection and analysis of a chosen moving image source from popular culture, students appropriate the footage into a new video artwork. Sources are obtained from already circulating artifacts such as film, television, talk shows, commercials, news, cartoons, video games or Vlogs, and are used to create a new artwork by new juxtapositions in editing, alterations, or other effects that reveal, expose or changes the way one understands the meaning of the original footage.

Tumblr Literary Project
Students will spend the last month of the semester working primarily on the Tumblr Literary Project that marks the third and final writing assignment in this class. Through a series of weekly collaborative Tumblr Literary workshops, students will build a multimedia Tumblr site showcasing three original pieces of postcard fiction or creative non-fiction of a similar length. Sampling work from across the web, students will furnish the site with images, video, animation, and text that works to shed new light on and assign new meaning to their writing.

Group presentations
Students will be assigned in groups to present the history and context behind major new media and journalism events.

Tweeting and Blogging
Students will be assigned in groups to use Twitter and an in-class blogging tool to report on class presentations.


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