University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Media Literacy for Pastoral Praxis

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Pastoral Theology, Liturgy and Canon Law

DESCRIPTION The study unit aims to offer media literacy skills that are essential for effective Christian pastoral ministry in the digital age. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of media in the task of “reading the signs of the times” as it serves the "New Evangelization."

The study-unit will consist of three parts:
First, an introduction to media ecology and the role of media to form culture. The three entry points for cultural hermeneutics--methods of communication, how the medium is the message, and the role of education in perpetuating culture--will be emphasized.

Second, the reasoning behind developing new "digital literacies" (and therefore forms of education) based on the humanistic "Literacy" techniques of grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.

Lastly, according to the two principles that (1) the medium is the message and (2) the content of a medium is another medium, media literacy skills will be applied to various contemporary communication technologies and specific artifacts to tease out key cultural "imaginaries" of the digital age.

In conclusion, these will then be discussed in the context of Christian anthropology and the challenges for Christian formation.

Study-unit Aims:

- To teach media literacy skills.
- To apply those skills with prudence in various pastoral contexts.
- Be familiar with the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on "social communications".

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Identify the basic principles of media literacy from a "media ecology" perspective.
- Learn to discern the best use of new media in specific pastoral situations; e.g. pastoral care, preaching, evangelization etc.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Apply media literacy skills across a variety of technologies and/or art forms.
- Evaluate the persuasiveness and effectiveness of various media as communication tools.
- Learn to use new media more discerningly and effectively.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Marshall McLuhan. Understanding Media. (Critical Ed.) Gingko Press, 2003.
- Walter Ong. Orality and Literacy: the Technologizing of the word. Routledge, 1988.
- Kelly Kieran et al. New Media: A Critical Introduction. (2nd ed.) Routledge, 2009.
- Art Silverblatt. Media Literacy: Keys to Interpreting Media Messages. (3rd Ed.) Praeger, 2007.
- Michael Hoechsmann and Stuart R. Poyntz. Media Literacies: A Critical Introduction. Wiley, 2012.
- David Buckingham. Media Education: Literacy, Learning and Contemporary Culture. Polity, 2003.
- Eugene Gan. Infinite Bandwidth: Encountering Christ in the Media. Emmaus Road: 2010.
- Selected texts from the Vatican website:

(Additional readings and media material will be made available.)


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Nadia Delicata

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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