Why media literacy needs to be integrated into the core curriculum across disciplines

Higher education should enable students with the ability and capacity to decide truth from fiction and make informed decisions

Published - June 08, 2024 02:49 pm IST

Higher education institutions should work towards nurturing a generation of media-literate individuals capable of engaging thoughtfully with the intricacies of our interconnected world.

Higher education institutions should work towards nurturing a generation of media-literate individuals capable of engaging thoughtfully with the intricacies of our interconnected world. | Photo Credit: Freepik

In today’s digital age, the capacity to judiciously analyse and comprehend media messages is more significant than ever. As higher education institutions struggle to prepare students for a complicated and media-saturated world, incorporating media literacy into the core curriculum has become a vital need.

The latest survey led by the digital rights organisation Social & Media Matters showed that nearly 80% of India’s first-time voters are bombarded with fake news on popular social media platforms. The study also established that 65.2% of respondents will be casting their votes for the first time, with 78.9% bumping into fake news on these platforms. This emphasises the crucial need for media literacy education to aid individuals in steering the vast amount of information accessible online and making informed decisions. By training students to sail across the dangerous waters of media messages, higher education prepares upcoming leaders with the capacity to decide truth from fiction and make informed decisions.

Students are like sponges in a sea of information overload, soaking up memes, tweets, and TikTok reels. Media literacy is the magic mirror that exposes the reality behind the pixels helping them comprehend how media shapes our insights, beliefs, and behaviours and to navigate this digital deluge without drowning in a sea of misinformation.

Integrative approach

Media analysis skills: Adding media analysis skills to course content can elevate student learning by infusing subjects with critical media analysis. This will help them develop a keen eye and dissect media messages and understand the impact on society.

Identify opportunities in subjects: From Biology to Business, every subject offers a window into the world of media influence. By identifying opportunities for media analysis in various disciplines, educators can show students how media shapes their field of study and vice versa.

Innovative assignments: Instead of allocating boring essays and multiple-choice tests, educators can create assignments that foster critical media analysis and help students unleash their creativity and critical thinking skills to deconstruct media messages.

Across disciplines: Just like a good meme spreads like wildfire across social media, media literacy concepts can ignite a blaze across different fields of study. Whether it is philosophy or physics, media literacy concepts can be the universal language that bridges the gap between disciplines and show students how media influences everything from ethics to equations.

Collaborative approach: Integrating media literacy across departments can bring together minds from different disciplines and create a chorus of critical thinking across campuses.

Strategies

Teaching media literacy in higher education can involve the use interactive workshops, engaging activities, and multimedia resources. Another way to make these lessons stick is to use real-world examples and case studies and show how these have influenced events and perspectives.

The Global Risk Report 2024 has identified misinformation and disinformation as the top global risks for the next two year and ranked them among the top five risks impacting worldwide peace and prosperity. Thus higher education institutions should work towards nurturing a generation of media-literate individuals capable of engaging thoughtfully with the intricacies of our interconnected world.

The writer is Vice President, KL Deemed to be University

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