MP4023 - Media, Communication and History

What will I learn on this module?

This module sketches the evolution of the modern media from its early origins through to the development of modern ‘mass’ media communications, and considers the significance each innovation has for its contemporaneous society. Topics for coverage might include pre-renaissance methods of communication and the importance of inscriptions to public communication; the nature and function of early manuscripts and the significance of these to society; the practice and social consequences of, for example, printing in the fifteenth century, and the print news media in the nineteenth; radio, cinema, television and advertising in the twentieth century; the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and video games.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, or as workshops, depending on the preference of the Module Tutor. Each week, students will be given the opportunity to discuss relevant issues pertaining the topic under scrutiny. In addition, the classes will be complemented by online quizzes which will enable you to revisit some of the content raised in class, and reinforce your understanding. The lectures/workshops will mainly be concerned with introducing the key theoretical contentions, historical/political/social contexts, and issues and are designed for the tutor to: a) introduce theoretical, industrial and practical ideas; b) demonstrate the ways in which these examples can be understood in relation to the broader history of media and communication; and c) delineate areas of contention raised by the examples. The connections between the historical developments and the issues at hand will be explored further in class discussion. The module includes a significant time allowance for self-directed study. You will be expected to attend classes having prepared (i.e. having attended previous session and having conducted independent preparatory reading). The major theoretical texts are available from the campus library and electronic library, thereby ensuring that you can access the literature required for seminar work and assessment preparation. You are encouraged to read extensively beyond the taught components of the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Your module tutor has weekly office hours during which you can arrange academic support. All students are provided with an academic tutor who also has hours to support student learning. Where appropriate, students will be directed to the specialist support services offered by the library.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• KU1: Gain an introductory knowledge of the main historical developments in the creation of the contemporary media, showing the significance of technological development
• KU2: Gain an understanding of how historical and technological developments have led to societal change

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• IPSA1: you gain experience of critical review by engaging with the research of scholars and practitioners
• IPSA2: you will enhance your practical communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as improving your critical reflective skills and developing problem-solving and independent learning

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• PVA: you will reflect on professional and ethical approaches to work, focusing on your position as a global citizen

How will I be assessed?

To prepare you successfully to undertake the summative assessment(s) on this module, formative assessments will be set by the module team. These may take the form of in-class tasks or projects, developmental activities undertaken between classes, or learning exercises/activities set over a longer period. Feedback (written and/or oral) will be provided to help you learn from, reflect on, and develop in light of these formative assessments.

Summative assessment comprises two components:

1 (40%) 4 x fortnightly multiple choice quizzes corresponding with the topics covered in across the module. Quizzes will be completed online.. You will be offered instruction and advice in the early sessions of the module.

2 (60%) A 1,500 word essay. The essay questions will cover the topics addressed in class, and be made available on the eLP.

You will receive written feedback on your summative submissions – where appropriate – within 20 working days. You will receive automated feedback for quizzes, whilst feedback for your essay will be supplied electronically via the eLP. This feedback will provide a detailed account of your research/methodological skills, critical engagement and communicative ability, as well as supporting future learning by indicating areas for development. You can also request additional verbal feedback on your submissions by arranging a meeting with the module tutor.





Module abstract

Media, Communication and History focuses on key developments in media and communication and assesses their political, cultural, technological and social history, broadly defined. You will learn about the background, origins and development of key communication methods (including, for example, mass media print culture, radio, cinema, television and the online interconnected communication environment we inhabit today). You will explore the historical climate from which media developments emerged, as well as their uses and limitations. Key figures in the development of communications will be discussed, and, in class, there will be the opportunity to reflect on the connections between older and newer forms of media and the relationships between them. The module will be underpinned by content designed to substantiate and enrich your understanding of the themes being explored, including contemporaneous examples from media and communication. The module provides a robust overview of the ways in which media and communication as it is understood today has developed and offers insight into the media environments which you may choose for future employment.

Course info

UCAS Code P305

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design, Arts and Creative Industries

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy