IDM090-Concepts and Practices of Communications

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 30 [15 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Students must attend lectures for IDM086 and IDM045 but cannot select these modules as credited options
Modules excluded: IDM066 Communication and Innovation in Development IDM086 Communication and Innovation in Development
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Sarah Cardey


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is designed for students on the MSc Communication for Development and is only available within this programme. You will participate in IDM066, IDM100 and IDM045, but will follow a different assessment pathway. Develop a critical understanding of how social and technological change in development contexts is influenced by communication processes and learn how to design interventions to address those contexts. Learn through lectures, group and individual projects, selected readings, seminars, practicals, and case studies from around the world. 

The aim of this module is to develop a critical understanding of how social and technological change in development contexts is influenced by communication processes, and how to design interventions to address those contexts.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Describe different theoretical approaches to the links between communication and development

  • Identify different traditions in the theory and practice of using communication for social and behavioural change and apply these to an analysis of specific cases in the fields of health and social development

  • Describe current trends in communication infrastructur e and access and critically assess the potential implications for social and economic development.

  • Engage in debates about the changing role of communication within development processes, including ongoing the implications of the changing nature of information and communication technologies • Describe development communication initiatives in practice, including an understanding of the practice of development communication at UK and more global levels

  • Critical ly assess the processes used in designing print, radio, video, television and www material in development contexts

  • Describe, and apply to a particular context, a framework for the planning of a communication strategy

  • Articulate a general model for the design of communication materials and explain how this can be applied to a specific medium and context

  • Present a reasoned case for the selection and use of communication media appropriate to a given a udience, context and objectives

  • Specify a design process for a given communication intervention

Additional outcomes:
Participants will have enhanced their skills in accessing relevant information and resources on the Internet and the academic literature, and in participating in online discussions, and in creating materials to explore communication ideas for a non-academic audience.

Outline content:

  • Concepts of “innovation”, “ communication” and “behaviour change” in the context of development

  • Theories of communication and development

  • Changing policy context and actors in communication

  • Evaluating communication for development

  • Power, access and equity

  • Gender and equity issues in communication and innovation

  • Social and digital media

  • Supporting innovation: developments in extension and advisory services in developed and developing countries.
  • ICTs, technology and the changing technology/communication interface

  • A strategic approach to planning and designing communication for development

  • Television and video formats for development contexts

  • Print formats: turning content ideas into designs

  • Developing a communication strategy

  • Design ing radio programmes for development contexts

  • Mobile phones

  • Principles of web site and page design for development contexts

  • Changing face of media in Africa 

  • Health communication

  • The role of the media in development

  • Community communication and community-based media

  • Entertainment Education (Edutainment)

  • Research in media and communication

  • Climate cha nge and communication

  • Innovation systems and communication

  • Planning behaviour change and social change communication interventions

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, group and individual projects, selected readings, case studies, seminars and practicals. Students will be expected to consult materials on the Internet (World Wide Web) and relevant academic journals: references to key websites and journal papers will be given. The module is supported by a "Blackboard" course in which all module participants will be enrolled and will be expected to participate. Discussion and feedback will take place through Blackboard and e-mail as well as during clas s sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 26 16
Seminars 2 16
Practicals classes and workshops 24
External visits 5
Guided independent study: 74 137
Total hours by term 102 198
Total hours for module 300

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 40
Class test administered by School 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1. Communication Outputs –group and individual (30%)

2. Communication Strategy and Theory of Change (40%) 

3. Take-home exam (30%) 


Formative assessment methods:
Students are required to submit a one-paragraph description of the proposed research topic in preparation for the "research paper on theories of communication". There is no assessment of the proposed research topic, but there will be a penalty of 15% of the overall grade if the proposal is not submitted on time.

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here:
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By coursework: an analysis of a communication intervention, provided by the module convenor, to include a 2500 word theoretical analysis of the intervention, and a 2000 word analysis of the communication outputs from the intervention.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

  2. Specialist equipment or materials:

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

  4. Printing and binding:

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification:

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 3 November 2020


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