Communication Studies (CMNS) 420

Topics in Communication: Children and Media (Revision 2)

CMNS 420 Course Cover

Revision 2 is closed for registrations, see current revision

View previous revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with video/audio components.*

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. CMNS 301 and CMNS 302 are recommended.

Precluded course: (CMNS 420 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for HSRV 420)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies home page

CMNS 420 has a Challenge for Credit option.

check availability


Children and Media focuses on how children up to the age of thirteen encounter and employ the media and genres of storytelling: from oral narrative and print, to the audio and visual mediation of narrative in picture books, radio and other audio forms, and screen technologies such as television, film, and video games. The course applies contemporary theory and methodology to examine narrative and considers the competencies, or “literacies,” that children develop in order to understand narrative and produce their own.


Children and Media is intended to

  1. Help students apply the concepts of narrative theory to the study of how children receive and use narrative across a variety of media.
  2. Define and explain various types of literacy that children have developed as they experience narratives in various formats, including oral, written, aural, visual, and multimedia.
  3. Explain how children’s competencies with narrative and various media are connected to the changing social constructions of childhood and the changing educational outcomes intended for children.
  4. Help students understand how children make sense of the world through the social and intellectual tools at their disposal.
  5. Explain salient characteristics of oral, aural, print, visual, material, and digital culture as they affect children’s engagement with stories and storytelling.
  6. Assist students in analyzing and assessing the likely effectiveness of media products and educational resources for children through an examination of how they use narrative.


  • Unit 1: Narrative
  • Unit 2: Narrative in the Lives of Children
  • Unit 3: Narrative and Oral/Aural Culture
  • Unit 4: The Social Construction of Childhood and the Beginnings of Literature for Children
  • Unit 5: Narrative and Print Culture
  • Unit 6: Narrative in Visual Culture: The Fixed Image
  • Unit 7: Moving Images: Television and Film
  • Unit 8: Moving Images: Video Games
  • Unit 9: Narrative and Material Culture
  • Unit 10: Narrative and Digital Literacy
  • Unit 11: Final Words: A Note from the Author


To receive credit for CMNS 420, students must complete all assignments and obtain a minimum composite course grade of D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite mark is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Six Unit Activities 6 x 10%
Research Essay 25%
Learning Journal 15%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

All of the course materials for this course can be accessed via the online course site.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the CMNS 420 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Activity Weighting
Two Essays 2 x 15%
Challenge Exam 70%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, July 14, 2014.

View previous syllabus