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Narrative and visual communication

Communication Studies
master course
Teaching language

Tilmelding sker via STADS-Selvbetjening indenfor annonceret tilmeldingsperiode, som du kan se på Studieadministrationens hjemmeside

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Registration through STADS-Selvbetjeningwithin the announced registration period, as you can see on the Studyadministration homepage.

When registering for courses, please be aware of the potential conflicts between courses or exam dates on courses. The planning of course activities at Roskilde University is based on the recommended study programs which do not overlap. However, if you choose optional courses and/or study plans that goes beyond the recommended study programs, an overlap of lectures or exam dates may occur depending on which courses you choose.

Detailed description of content

This course explores narratives and visuals in our multimodal expressions and multimedia communication products in theory and practice. It covers various understandings of how narratives and visuals “work” as part of everyday communication practices as well as the application of narrative and visual methodologies to research and organizational communication practices.

In the contemporary media landscape, we see many visuals and narratives presented to us in the form of photos, charts, comic books, illustrated books, infographics, data visualizations. Moving images such as games, TV series, films, YouTube videos are typically part of cross-media texts. Narratives are an important part of how we understand ourselves and others in the world. In our everyday communication practices, we are constantly using narratives in multimodal ways; telling stories, using images, sound, gestures, etcetera, in combination with written text. We tell and listen to stories as a foundation for building communication. However, the importance of clear visual and narrative presentations of, for example, research communication or business strategies, are often taken for granted, overlooked or even ignored. Thereby, we risk applying stories and imagery in communication practices and in our studies without a clear purpose. There are also many ethical issues to be aware of regarding the use of visuals and narratives that students and professionals need to know and respect.

Consider, for instance, the visual richness of social media sites such as Instagram or Tiktok, or the way power point slides, or a website or video, present stories. We live in an increasingly visual and digital culture, where the means of production and exchange of personal stories and visuals are altering rapidly. Narratives and visuals are powerful tools in professional communication practice – they can engage others, evoke feelings, convince and manipulate an audience.

The course has an interdisciplinary perspective on theories concerning narrative and visuals. It integrates the humanities and the social sciences with an aim to understand narrative and imagery in human history. Communication and media studies are in focus during the course, with attention to social semiotics and cultural studies. Other disciplinary perspectives are included. The primary methodological approach to narratives and visuals is based on social semiotics with the conceptualization and analysis of multimodal texts, with focus on exemplary case materials stemming from completed research studies and business-oriented uses.

Based on the course readings and practical exercises with exemplary cases, students gain knowledge about how visual and narrative methods “work”. During the course, we mainly use empirical materials that are available online for practical exercises, so that students gain experience with how to apply visual and narrative methods for various purposes. Doing the hands-on, practical exercises with visual and narrative methods is an integral part of class sessions and leads to preparing case examples for the final written essay.

Expected work effort (ects-declaration)

25 hrs: sessions, including lecture and practical exercises

62 hrs: 2,5 hr prep for every session

40 hrs: Exam paper

8 hrs: other activities

135 hrs total

Course material and reading list

Course book: Rose, G. (2016). Visual methodologies: an introduction to researching with visual materials (4th ed.). London: Sage. Companion website: https://study.sagepub.com/rose4e

There will also be a series of research articles and book chapters available on Moodle by course start.

Evaluation- and feedback forms

The final assignment for the exam is a written individual essay. Visuals, cover page, references and an appendix with two examples from the course´s exercises are expected to be included.

There are feedback sessions in relation to the exercises during the course.

The student(s) will receive teacher and peer feedback in class discussions, exercises and group work. In addition, the student(s) receives feedback from the teacher in connection with the exam. This feedback will focus on weaknesses and strengths of the student work.

Every 3rd year, a formal evaluation takes place. The evaluation takes the form of a digital questionnaire that is sent to the head of studies as well as the study board.

The teacher may carry out their own informal evaluation (during or after the course). Informal evaluations stay with the teacher unless they find it relevant to share it with the head of studies.

Administration of exams
IKH Studyadministration (ikh-studyadministration@ruc.dk)
Responsible for the activity
Lisbeth Frølunde (lisbethf@ruc.dk)
Susana Tosca (stosca@ruc.dk)
Learning outcomes and assessment criteria
  • Knowledge and understanding of a defined subject area within communication, information and media, including knowledge and understanding of current methods that can be used to investigate the subject matter

  • Knowledge and understanding of current and key theories as well as communications concepts and terms relevant to the subject area

  • Skills in analysing a concrete research question in communications terms.

  • Skills in being able to apply relevant theory to a specific communications research question

  • Skills in being able to use appropriate methods to study a communications-related research question

Competences in independently being able to take responsibility for one’s own professional development and specialisation within the subject area.

Overall content

The course includes presentations and critical discussions as well as testing of knowledge about a defined subject area within the field of communications, including the presentation and discussion of concepts, theories and investigative methods.

Prerequisites for participation
Currently no data from curriculum.
Prerequisites for participation in the exam
Currently no data from curriculum.
Teaching and working methods

The course consists of a mix of lectures and discussions, and it can include group work and peer feedback. It is structured around a number of themes that will be presented at the start of the course.

Type of activity

Elective course

Form of examination
Individual written take-home assignment given by the lecturer.

The character limit of the assignment is: 9,600-14,400 characters, including spaces.
The character limit includes the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices.

The duration of the take-home assignment is 5 days and may include weekends and public holidays.

The assignment must document that the student possesses a confident mastery of written English, including grammar and linguistic correctness.

Assessment: 7-point grading scale.
Form of Re-examination
Same as ordinary exam
Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U41060
Last changed 12/03/2021

lecture list:

Show lessons for Subclass: 1 Find calendar (1) PDF for print (1)

Wednesday 08-09-2021 14:15 - 08-09-2021 18:00 in week 36
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Tuesday 14-09-2021 12:15 - 14-09-2021 16:00 in week 37
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Tuesday 21-09-2021 12:15 - 21-09-2021 16:00 in week 38
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Tuesday 28-09-2021 12:15 - 28-09-2021 16:00 in week 39
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Tuesday 05-10-2021 12:15 - 05-10-2021 16:00 in week 40
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Tuesday 12-10-2021 12:15 - 12-10-2021 16:00 in week 41
Narrative and Visual Communication (KOMM)

Friday 15-10-2021 12:00 - Wednesday 20-10-2021 12:00 in week 41 and week 42
Narrative and Visual Communication - Exam (KOMM)

Monday 03-01-2022 10:00 - Saturday 08-01-2022 10:00 in week 01
Narrative and Visual Communication - Rexam (KOMM)