Media Effects Curriculum

I want to bounce ideas off of teachers who've worked teaching media effects, most especially game effects.

We're running into the last month before finals at DigiPen, and I'm curious. Obviously there were major themes that I could pull from the book, communication classes and my own coursework. Most influential there was probably Aaron Delwiche's courses, the ones that first got me interested in media effects. In covering a lot of the ethical issues in media, especially propaganda, privacy, piracy, addiction and so on, I don't know. It was one of the first classes that I really cared about. Bad to say since I'd taken so many before, right?

But obviously most every journalism program has a media and ethics course. But I wasn't teaching media and ethics to the purported defenders of information. Or to communications students. The audience was 35 highly-talented artists, most Seniors, and most of whom are already gainfully employed making media. There were things that seemed to work extremely well in teaching not just the standard stuff: philosophy of ethics and issues of media ownership, privacy, piracy and so on. Adding in real, physical effects seems to make a lot of sense. Some of what we've discussed involves immersion, the mind and brain, violence, addiction, child development, literacy and learning, media legitimacy and so forth. Some of the guest speakers were accomplished clinical psychotherapists. I'm not certain what the final verdict would be, but it seems that we're having a lot of fun.

My question is whether there's enough information to warrant education on media effects generally. What, of the information, do we use? My hope is that over the next few years we can begin building better curricula - not just for media creators or for college students.

Healthy or unhealthy media use affects nutrition, happiness (or depression), and a range of other quality of life factors. There are thousands of books out there on good eating and exercise - or what happens when you miss out on that. Hardly anyone is talking about good media use. And there doesn't seem to be much organization or formal agreement on what, if anything, we should be talking about.

What should we be talking about?

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