Give Yourself a Strong Foundation in Media Studies
This broad-based course of study is designed to appeal to people who are seeking employment in the media sector but have not yet decided on their specialism.
It covers a range of areas and allows some flexibility so you can choose modules that suit your specific goals
and learning needs.
Want to work in the print or electronic media industries?
This course is designed as a basis for a career in either electronic or print media / publishing.
The course aims to provide the necessary skills to work in a publishing organisation.
Research has shown that graduates with broad based knowledge such as this have enhanced career prospects.
This course sets you on a path that could take you in any direction you hope to go in the world of media, locally, nationally or internationally.
Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Media Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Skills gained in this course will make you more employable - not just in the media.
You will have improved writing, editing, photography and digital image manipulation skills.
You can branch out on your own as a freelance writer, publish your own blog and photography or apply for work with various media outlets.
What You Will Do
Publish work in our student e-zine
Get out and about and take photos
Make contacts in the industy
Learn about electronic and print media
Gain computer skills
What are the courses like?
Here are some course note samples from Photographic Practice and Advanced Freelance Writing:
DEPTH OF FIELD
A hypothetical photograph taken at F16 with the main subject at 3 metres from the camera, the effective depth of field could be 1.8m in front of the subject and 12m behind the subject. Anything within this range would be in focus.
If the same subject was photographed with the F stop on 2.8, the depth of field would be greatly reduced, with only about 0.7m in front of the subject to 2.5m behind the subject being in focus.
This phenomenon has both advantages and disadvantages.
• If we raise shutter speed and open aperture to get better camera stability, we loose depth of field.
• Focussing must be much more accurate on the main subject with a reduced depth of field. Focusing in dim light can be a problem. You may need to use a tape measure to check focus if it is difficult to see.
• We can choose to either retain the background or make it a blur if
it detracts from the picture.
DIGITAL VS CONVENTIONAL
Conventional and digital photography are in many ways very similar, but in just as many ways, quite different. Both have their advantages, so in the foreseeable future, there will remain applications for each.
Conventional photography using chemically photo-sensitive film is a well known and highly developed quantity – very close to a perfected technology.
We know how to use it, how to get the best out of it, and how its life span can be optimised because it has been around for so long, used so much and had so much effort and expense spent on its development.
Digital photography is, on the other hand, a relatively new and radically different technique which records images in the form of digital (ie. 2 digit or binary) codes. In simple terms digital codes are similar to Morse code. One number or digit is indicated by a pulse of electricity, a second digit is indicated by no electrical pulse. By combining these pulses and lack of pulses into codes, we can, for example, create representations for letters of the alphabet; allowing us to write language or text on a computer. When we combine these electrical "pulses" and "no pulses" (or ‘ones’ and ‘zeros’) in more complex combinations, we can create more complex representations. These can include the colour, and degree of darkness or brightness in a single spot on a picture. When huge quantities of such dots are combined together, into a grid or array, we can then create a digital picture. (This is basically how digital photography works!) Each dot is referred to as a pixel (PICTURE ELEMENT) and is represented by ‘bits’ of data – thus the digital image array is often referred to as a ‘bitmap’.
As time passes, digital photography is becoming better and better and its imagery now rivals that of traditional silver halide based photography. However, due to its nature, it is unclear at this point whether it will ever make traditional photography totally redundant, particularly in situations where extreme resolution or detail is required. Current levels of technology suggest digital will eventually become the technology we rely on for creating still images. However, in the shorter term silver image systems will actually be cheaper to use in many applications.
Digital Depth of Field
Digital cameras typically don’t have as wide a range of aperture settings as standard film based cameras, therefore you can not alter depth of field to the same degree as you can with an SLR film camera. However, it is still possible to produce a distinct shift in depth of field.
ADVANCED FREELANCE WRITING
Review basic writing skills and discuss theme development.
BASIC WRITING SKILLS
Freelance writing is a highly competitive field. Successful freelance writers not only have good writing skills, they have a ‘nose’ for a good story, a mastery of their chosen area of writing, the ability to write quickly and succinctly, good interpersonal skills and a wide range of useful contacts.
While all these career-building skills are important, they obviously take time to develop. As a starting point, it is important to have a thorough grounding in the basics of grammar and the English language. If you do not know how to write in the correct syntax, or understand how to use appropriate punctuation, your writing will appear amateurish and laboured. The following sections review these important basic writing skills.
Sentences and Phrases
Sentences and phrases are the basic building blocks for writers. As you will be aware, the sentence is an independent grammatical unit which expresses a complete thought, action or idea.
See the following basic sentences. Each is considered to be a complete and grammatically correct unit:
She went to the doctor’s surgery last Monday.
Every sentence is a building block.
My father fought in World War Two.
Grammatically correct sentences have a minimum basic structure of subject plus verb (plus object, depending on the nature of the verb used). For example: Elephants (subject) have (verb) trunks (object). The basic sentence is called an independent clause.
A sentence is formed by combining phrases. A phrase is not considered to be a sentence because it does not express a complete thought or action, and it lacks the basic subject, verb and object structure. See the following examples:
dogs and cats
running fast down the hill
irrespective of what you believe
Different types of phrases are combined to form a sentence. For example the following sentence has four types of phrases:
The children play sport on the oval every Friday afternoon, unless it is raining.
• Noun phrase (noun + verb + object): The children play sport
• Prepositional phrase (preposition + noun): on the oval
• Adverbial phrase (adverb or preposition + noun): every Friday afternoon
• Adjectival phrase (adjective + noun): unless it is raining
For most people, a basic sentence is not difficult to write – just follow the basic structure and you will have a grammatically correct sentence. The problem is that most writing is made up of a string of sentences, some of which are more complex in their structure than others.
As a writer, your goal is to produce a seamless flow of grammatically correct sentences. Each sentence must logically lead to the next, it must have a clearly understood meaning and it must engage the reader. If the reader has to puzzle over a word or reread a sentence to make sense of it, you have failed in your job to be an effective writer.
Writing Effective Sentences
The more complex a sentence, the more difficult it is to understand. This is especially true for readers unfamiliar with the topic. Some novice writers, especially those trained in academic writing; try to impress readers with long and complicated sentences.
If you find yourself falling into this trap, double check your sentences to see if there is a more direct way to write the same thing. Imagine how someone would actually say the sentence in conversation. For example, while a typical report might state “It was known by his supervisor that the equipment was faulty”, few people would say that it like that. Most would simply say “His supervisor knew the equipment was faulty” and so that is how the sentence should be written.
As you write, ask yourself the following questions:
• Is this sentence too long or too short? How can the length of the sentence be changed to improve it?
• What is the dominant thought or idea in this sentence and does the sentence convey that thought in the most appropriate way?
• Is the sentence written in an appropriate style and level of complexity for the intended readers? For most types of writing, it is better to pitch it at a lower level rather than a higher level.
• If there is more than one thought in the sentence? If so, are the thoughts arranged in an appropriate or logical order? A common mistake is to put the central or dominant thought at the end of a sentence. That can make it difficult for the reader to relate the prior thoughts or concepts to each other.
• Are the words chosen the shortest and simplest possible, without compromising the meaning of the sentence?
• Are there any ambiguities that need to be removed?
• Does the sentence begin with the same word as the previous or next sentence? This should be avoided where possible.
• Are words used in the sentence already repeated too many times in other sentences in the same passage?
• Does the sentence duplicate or conflict with anything written elsewhere in the passage?
For most styles of writing, use short (one line) or medium (two lines) sentences. You should also try to limit the word count to twenty to twenty-five words in each sentence.
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