Singapore University of Social Sciences

Visual Texts and Communication (COM203)

Synopsis

COM203 aims to provide students with a theoretical and practical knowledge of the way that contemporary media texts ‘work’ – from news reports and photographs to film, television programmes and advertisements – with a special emphasis on the visual element. Students will acquire the ability to use critical tools such as semiotics, genre and narrative analysis that will enable them to unpack the range of possible meanings/interpretations embedded in a wide range of visual texts. This will allow them to understand how meanings really emerge, not from objects themselves, but the way they are represented in the mediated world of today. This course will enable students to decode, analyse and evaluate media messages and explore the role played by media texts in shaping and constructing our sense of self, our understanding of others and the world we live in.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.

Topics

  • Why analyse media texts
  • Early concepts of signification
  • Syntagms and paradigms
  • Deconstructing different levels of meaning
  • Meanings and Contexts
  • Representations in media –stereotype and countertype
  • Photographic ‘truth’?
  • Theories of ideology
  • Ideological analysis
  • Defining genres
  • Hybridity & intertextuality
  • Why analyse narratives?
  • Process of narration

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss media, visual and digital literacy.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the basic theoretical frameworks for analysing media texts, viz. semiotics, genres, narratives, ideology and representation.
  • Use critical tools viz. semiotics, genre and narrative analysis to interpret and evaluate a wide variety of media texts.
  • Apply semiotic concepts to derive different meanings in different contexts.
  • Examine how these theories can be used to deconstruct visual texts and explain the creation of meaning.
  • Analyse information, formulate independent judgments and articulate rational and logical arguments about media texts.
  • Evaluate the impact of visual media texts on our sense of identity and society.
  • Construct ideas and arguments in the interpretation of visual texts concisely and cogently in both oral and written form.
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