Executive Summary


We are presenting this proposal as a strategic project that involves/integrates students, academic technologists, the Students Union, Careers and Skills, and Welfare in reflecting upon the pedagogic potential of the new cultural and technological literacies that a successful self-representing and self-documenting learner increasingly employs but are not currently well integrated into curriculum development or easily assessed. This project will contribute, in the short term, to thinking through the content and assessment for the new option module The Mediated Self Project within the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies designed, initially, to appeal to MA students across our four MA programmes: MA International Cultural Policy and Management, MA Global Media and Communication, MA Creative and Media Enterprises and MA Arts, Enterprise and Development. Over the longer term, the development of this proposal could build on existing expertise in the digital humanities, contributing to the development of alternative and more flexible modes of delivery and developing rigorous forms of academic assessment which better reflect student experience and expertise; forms of digital literacy and the personal and skill requirements of professional life in the digital world.

The Mediated Self Project module would be ground-breaking in its delivery (over two intensive weekends, bookending a period of tutorial & VLE supported reflection and netnographic analysis), through its assessment (on multiple platforms through a digital, portable and mobile portfolio and theoretically informed critical reflection on the processes of its production) and through its content (entrepreneurial speakers, learners as self-representing and self-documenting entrepreneurs, critical reflection on the historical and theoretical understanding of the emergence of the mediated self). This presents a challenge, as there is no established precedent or focus for using the mediation of the learner's selfhood (through images, video, online and social media) as a research and assessment method. It also represents a substantive opportunity as no other set of courses (as in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies) comes with a significant cohort of digitally literate and aware students who can act as stakeholder experts in developing this approach.

As individual colleagues are already experimenting with alternative methods and approaches within the developing digital humanities paradigm at Warwick (e.g. Amber Thomas, David Beck, Rob Batterbee, Ruth Leary, Nate Tkacz), we envisage the project will offer a space in which we can exchange ideas and build on current practices. Therefore, this IATL Strategic Project seeks to lay the groundwork for a new approach to teaching not with or about media but through the mediated self, which will be transferrable to other subjects, extendable across levels of UG & PG and sharable and transportable to Warwick's international partners (particularly in Melbourne and Sao Paulo).

Project Aims

  1. To develop the content - Support is requested to enhance our expertise in the substance of the module and to investigate how we can best deliver the topics we have identified. These topics include the quantified self; digital/print/cultural literacy and its relation to the production of knowledge/expertise; reputational economies and self & search engine optimisation; living the ethical mediated life; the social media entrepreneur and life/livelihood as an online campaign. These topics connect with our established expertise (in media studies and cultural sociology) at the level of theory, but our contention is that a practical understanding of them requires being attuned to both their technical infrastructure and how they are lived and experienced. The project will engage postgraduate taught students across four MAs in the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies. This international mix of postgraduates, and their established expertise in living with technologies, will be critical for understanding the personal, local, national and global identities that underpin the content of the future module.
  2. To develop the delivery - we aim to explore a new model of delivery: a bookended day-school, VLE and tutorial model that will require us to work with academic technologists and invite external speakers to advise us on platforms and processes that can assist in delivering this module. Working with the President of the Students' Union and stakeholders such as the Academic Technology team ensures that a wider set of student voices and forms of technological expertise are integrated into the project. Opportunities for developing the legacy of the project including a contribution to pastoral support and skills development and potential future applications (e.g. a transferable model of 'bookended' VLE supported delivery or even a MOOG) can be explored along the way.
  3. To develop the assessment - we aim to develop exercises and methods that assess the skills we are hoping to refine in students, through a workshop that will focus on students and colleagues with interests and expertise in teaching and learning quality issues advising us on issues of authoritativeness, rigour, transparency and portability. Our contention is that conventional methods of assessment in the Arts and Humanities are wedded to a vision of print literacy, whereas both our students, and the world of work for which they are being prepared, increasingly display, depend on and require a more multi-modal digital literacy.