Communication Studies (CMNS) 315

Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave (Revision 1)

EDUC 315

Permanently closed, effective January 29, 2018.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None

Precluded Course: CMNS 315 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under two different disciplines—EDUC 315. (CMNS 315 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for EDUC 315.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Communication Studies home page

CMNS 315 is not available for challenge.


Designed for teachers, parents, and students of communication, this course in media education recognizes that, although mass media has come to dominate many aspects of our society, children have few opportunities to develop media literacy skills in formal settings. A basic assumption of the course is that media literacy helps children to an informed understanding of the nature of the mass media, its techniques, and effects. More specifically, media literacy increases their understanding and enjoyment of how the media works: how it is organized, how it produces meaning, and how it constructs reality. The course aims to provide the means by which teachers and others can foster media literacy in children so that they can critically analyze and evaluate the form and content of media, create media, communicate using media, and understand its use and purpose.


  • Unit 1: Introduction to Media Education
  • Unit 2: Media Literacy and the Curriculum
  • Unit 3: Canadian Popular Culture
  • Unit 4: The Art of Persuasion - Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations
  • Unit 5: Media and Values
  • Unit 6: Media Languages
  • Unit 7: The News
  • Unit 8: New(er) Technologies
  • Unit 9: Ideology and Representation
  • Unit 10: Audience
  • Unit 11: Movies
  • Unit 12: Prime Time Television
  • Unit 13: Popular Music


To receive credit for CMNS 315, you must complete all assignments, achieving a minimum composite course grade of “D” (50 percent). The chart below summarizes the course assignments and the credit weight associated with each one.

Activity Weighting
Unit Questions
(after Units 1, 2 & 3)
Unit Questions
(after Units 4, 5 & 6)
Unit Questions
(after Units 7 & 8)
Assignment 1
(due after Unit 8)
Unit Questions
(after Units 9 & 10)
Unit Questions
(after Units 11, 12 & 13)
Assignment 2
(due after Unit 13)
Discussion Forum Postings
(min. of 13)
Total 100%

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

Course Materials

The study guide, reading and viewing materials for CMNS 315 are available on the course website.

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 1, July 9, 2010.

Updated April 03 2019 by Student & Academic Services