FT1ITV-Introduction to Television

Module Provider: Film, Theatre and TV
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Faye Woods

Email: f.woods@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
«p»This module challenges students to think deeper about television as a major cultural and entertainment medium. How does television represent the world? How do different industrial and national contexts influence what is produced? Who gets to make television? What lays behind changes in the form and delivery of television, are these as revolutionary and disruptive as they are depicted? This intellectually rigorous module is built around lectures and lively seminar discussion, with teaching grounded in close textual analysis and critical reading. It gives students the tools to unpick, understand and reframe creative decisions, to 'read' and critique television through a variety of frameworkds. It grounds television in historical, cultural and institutional contexts; explores a variety of programme formats and genres (such as soaps, sitcom, 'reality TV' and documentary) and introduces important critical terms and concepts used in the discussion and analysis of television. Students will also develop their research and analytical skills, for essay writing and independent study.?«/p»


  • Enable students to demonstrate a critical understanding of the central issues of television studies.

  • Develop textual analysis skills, analysing television fiction and non-fiction programming

  • Discussion different industrial context andexplore key theoretical debates

  • Critically study areas such as British and US industrial contexts; concepts of representation, ideology and globalisation; issues of genre and narrative; digital technology, transmedia practices and the impact of shifts in delivery platforms; the place of the audience and the role of public service broadcasting, the value of critical models such as authorship and quality

  • The module seeks to provide students with the ability to critically engage with both texts and critical and contextual reading for essay writing and independent study.

Assessable learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate a familiarity with some of the most important critical terms and concepts used in the discussion and analysis of television

  • Articulate a critical understanding of the development of selected television forms in their historical, cultural and institutional contexts

  • Undertake close analysis of a range of television texts, from a variety of programme formats and genres, and where appropriate, to relate them to their contexts

  • Relate developments in television to established and emerging practices in theatre and film, as well as digital media

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of key issues concerning audiences and television spectatorship, as well as evaluative discourses surrounding television.

Additional outcomes:
The module plays a significant role in the continuing development of skills and competencies which are central to the course. It is expected that the level of skills and competencies achieved in the following will be appropriate to the level of study: oral communication and argument in group situations; deployment of research using printed and electronic resources; critical analysis and coherent argument; undertaking self-directed, independent work; presentation of written work using IT; developing and presenting arguments in a range of written forms; identifying and addressing problems in the analysis of television.

Outline content:
This module focuses on the critical evaluation of television programmes, the historical, cultural and political context of the medium, and the role of institutional and technological developments. By means of lecture and seminars, the module introduces the skills of close analysis of television programmes, and explores critical approaches that have been developed for the study of the medium. Students will study texts from a range of programme categories (such as news, 'reality TV', medical drama and sitcom), exploring both their distinctiveness and their inter-connections. The module will introduce students to appropriate critical terms and concepts (for example, scheduling, the concept of 'flow') and key debates in television studies (such as the nature of public service broadcasting, the impact of multichannel broadcasting and digital technologies on viewing patterns). The module centres on television in Britain, with some consideration of television in the USA and the global broadcasting landscape.

Global context:
This module explores British, American and some international texts, engaging with the transnational relationship between these industries and audiences as well as their international circulation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The normal teaching pattern will be one lecture and one seminar per week, but will also include some longer interactive sessions. Lectures will be used to establish contexts and to introduce issues for discussion and debate. Seminars will concentrate mainly on the close analysis of extracts from television texts and the weekly reading.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 9 9
Seminars 9 9
Tutorials 1 1
Supervised time in studio/workshop 18 18
Guided independent study 63 63
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
All students will write two essays or other assignments.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of failed coursework.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Printing and photocopying as needed

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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