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Wednesday, July 3 • 10:45am - 11:25am
Semantic analysis of key media studies course readings: Implications for improving student reading competencies

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A second-year Media Studies ‘Introduction to Cultural studies’ course at a South African University has for many years faced a number of challenges: high failure rates, low class attendance and minimal completion of the required readings. This paper presents the findings of a semantic analysis of four key prescribed readings for the first section of the course, which introduces students to the concepts of pre-modernity, modernity and ideology and their significance for study of the Media. Modernity is presented as a conceptual backdrop to introducing students to the evolution of the theorization of ideology, via the theories of Marx, Althusser, Gramsci and Foucault, and the importance of these theories for understanding the role of the media in the modern world. The nature of the semantic gravity waves for each reading is presented, and the extent of similarity/difference of these waves is considered. The results of a comparative semantic density analysis of the readings are also presented and the relationship of the semantic density profiles to the semantic gravity patterns is discussed. The implications of these findings for the development of a structured intervention, integrated into the regular teaching program of the course, to increase students’ independent academic reading competencies, is then explored. The reading development intervention uses the principles of scaffolded support of the Reading To Learn Program (Rose, 2005,). The implications of the insights from the Semantic analysis of the texts for the lecturer’s preparation for the Detailed Reading phase of the program, in elaborating aspects of the structure of the texts being read to the students, are considered.


Wednesday July 3, 2019 10:45am - 11:25am SAST
Room B46

Attendees (5)