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Media Literacy Minor

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate minor

The Media Literacy minor prepares students to be critical consumers of the wide range of media that envelops them every day.

Students also learn about audience, media globalization, emergence and convergence of media trends, media and education, and learn theory appropriate for critical analysis. Electives in the program also offer students opportunities to learn creative skills that will help sift through or create the messages/content that informs, educates, or entertains.

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Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

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Program eligibility requirements

Any admitted student may declare a Media Literacy minor. However, a Media Literacy minor may not be paired with a major in the Media Studies track of the Professional Communication degree.

20 credits

Course requirements

Requirements (20 credits)

Required (8 credits)

MDST 361 Visual Communication

4 credits

Designed as an introduction to visual literacy, this course surveys many of the media formats that define today's image-dominant culture. Various examples of print advertising, photography, film, television and multimedia are explored; the focus is equally on principles and concepts from both the fine and applied arts, and draws from history as well as the present day.

Full course description for Visual Communication

MDST 363 Children, Adolescents and the Media

4 credits

This course examines the influence of television, radio, film and new media on children and the family. Students discuss the unique production considerations involved when producing a media program for children and explore the research on media literacy, media violence, advertising, education, online privacy, gender roles, new technology and the child's response to programming. Includes critical viewing of media programs produced for children on broadcast and cable television, video, radio, computer, feature films, video games as well as international programs for children.

Full course description for Children, Adolescents and the Media

Electives (12 credits)

INFS 315 Searching for Information

4 credits

A student completing this course understands the process of finding, synthesizing, evaluating, and documenting sufficient and reliable information appropriate to a variety of purposes including upper division coursework, senior capstone papers or professional writing, and communication tasks. Students also explore a number of the contemporary issues surrounding information in society, have opportunities to use and/or visit primary resource collections and learn a variety of research techniques. Specific sections of the course will structure assignments around a course theme identified in the class schedule. Prior themes have included Civil Rights, Holocaust and Genocide, Crime and Punishment, Food, Immigration, and Health Care. Both themed and non-themed sections are offered every semester as are online and in-class sections.

Full course description for Searching for Information

INFS 338 The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

4 credits

This course considers books, like universities and libraries, part of "the knowledge industry," and emphasizes the gatekeepers who decide matters of a book's authorship, publishing, and readership. By tracking the evolution of the book pre-Gutenberg to the current e-book environment, we will explore the evolving publishing industry in society. In our exploration of the field of publishing, we will combine readings and discussion with field experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of guest speakers who work in various aspects of the publishing industry.

Full course description for The Craft and Commerce of Book Publishing

INFS 340 Research in Special Collections and Archives

4 credits

Students will explore the history of libraries and special research collections around the world and be introduced to field research in local special library/archive collections at the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis Central Library (Hennepin County) and the St. Paul Public Library. Online research with digital special collections from around the United States will also be a part of the course, including virtual discussions with curators. Students will have an opportunity to develop individual research projects, work as interns or explore other special projects using these unique special collections. All students welcome and supplemental instructional units will be provided for students who have not had library database instruction.

Full course description for Research in Special Collections and Archives

MDST 330 Topics in Film Studies

1-4 credits

Subject matter for this course varies, as it is designed to allow in-depth analysis of unique topics relating to films and their audiences. Topics could include a analysis of a specific film genre, periods of historical film development, the productions of a unified group of film authors or films focusing on a subject matter. Students should consult the Class Schedule for particular topics and descriptions. Some of the courses are cross-listed with other departments.

Full course description for Topics in Film Studies

MDST 370 Contemporary Cinema

4 credits

This course uses currently playing films as entry points into a study of wider issues around film as an art form, cultural phenomenon and industry. Students attend various screenings of Hollywood blockbusters, low-budget art films and experimental works, and then analyze them and their significance relative to topics in film theory and aesthetics.

Full course description for Contemporary Cinema

MDST 371 American Film: Tradition and Trends

4 credits

This course surveys the development and growth of American popular film from the silent movies at the turn of the century through Hollywood's studio system to the modern age of the multiplex theater, home video and cable television productions. Using a variety of feature films, historical sources and critical essays, students explore how film recreates, reflects and influences American culture. Also, students gain a basic knowledge of the technology and language of film, and critical approaches to film study.

Full course description for American Film: Tradition and Trends

MDST 378 World Cinema

4 credits

An opportunity for students to explore the world, world cultures and film traditions, and world issues through films from around the globe. The goal is to enrich students' film and cultural understanding of selected parts of the contemporary world.

Full course description for World Cinema

MDST 484 Media and the Enterprise

4 credits

This course examines how online delivery of content has shaped intra-organizational communication. Students are provided with the information and theories to implement use of online media within an organization. As businesses, schools and institutions come to rely on media products and tools, the ability to craft appropriate scripts for these applications is more important than ever. This course also targets the need to serve and address distinctive audiences and provides career and management guidance for media writers and producers.

Full course description for Media and the Enterprise

MDST 487 Podcasting: Writing and Producing for Audio/Radio

4 credits

This course explores radio/audio and you learn about podcast creation, international radio programs for development and digital storytelling. Students learn the craft of writing for the ear which can be translated to professional work in broadcast media, advertising, speechwriting or work as an independent artist. Through work as writers, directors and voice talent, students produce projects that range from short dialogue pieces and storytelling to news documentaries, podcast and radio plays.

Full course description for Podcasting: Writing and Producing for Audio/Radio

MDST 520 Digital Storytelling

4 credits

Digital storytelling is a growing area of multimodal communication that is part of a larger movement to empower communities and voices through the use of digital tools and platforms. Digital stories are short videos that combine narration, images (still and moving), sound effects, and music to tell a compelling story. Students will create two digital stories: a personal story and a story that promotes a cause or organization (e.g., a Kickstarter-style video). The process will include multiple rough cuts and a final version of each video, as well as extensive instructor and peer feedback.

Full course description for Digital Storytelling

MDST 561 Advanced Television Writing

4 credits

This independent study course further develops the techniques of writing for television with an emphasis on creating professional quality scripts that are ready to submit for artist fellowships, industry opportunities, agents and/or graduate school. All students must write at least two industry standard scripts for a current scripted television program (genre will be selected by the instructor). Familiarity with script software is required. Students will work independently with the instructor but will be able to utilize an active and engaging D2L site including opportunities for real time critiques and industry opportunities.

Full course description for Advanced Television Writing

MDST 580 Impacts of Mediated Communication

4 credits

This course is concerned with the impact communication technologies have had and continue to have on human societies. The course begins with a brief examination of two technologies that have had a profound impact on how people think about communication. It looks at the background and impact of current technologies. And it also looks at new and emerging technologies - such as hypermedia, neural nets, virtual reality - speculating about how these technologies will change people in the near future and later in the twenty-first century.

Full course description for Impacts of Mediated Communication

TCID 381 Video Game Culture

4 credits

This course focuses on the myriad of cultures that surround video games, the largest entertainment industry and a powerful, influential social medium. Because of games' role in both reflecting and creating cultural norms, they are a rich source for investigating the ways interactive and immersive technologies influence cultural and social perspectives. In this course, students will learn the history and evolution of video games, explore values in play, analyze gaming communities, and discover ways to think and interrogate the games industry through a critical lens. This course is part of the Game Studies Minor core.

Full course description for Video Game Culture