The field of media communication is continuously evolving with the introduction of new media technologies and innovative professional and consumer practices. Although this is a good thing, it also creates the challenge of having access to up-to-date textbooks for teaching in this subject area. The continuous changes in the media industry have rendered available open educational resources a bit dated. The dynamic nature of the media industry calls for a similarly dynamic open textbook or OER that utilizes multimedia and technological interactivity and allows for regular updates to reflect changes in the field. Introduction to Media Communication (MCOM 1307) teaches students the importance of mass media and the essential roles they play in daily personal and professional lives as well as contributing to responsible global citizenship. In today’s age of information overload, misinformation and disinformation, a course like MCOM 1307 that emphasizes media and digital literacy, and responsible media use provides college students with an important tool and skill-set that equips them now and for future professional roles in diverse industries and fields. There is the need for an open textbook that includes media and digital literacy education components to help students develop critical thinking skills, communication skills, as well as personal and social responsibility as media consumers and information and content creators.
Media literacy education can help students develop and apply critical thinking skills by teaching students to apply critical thinking to media messages – identify credible information and sources and assess the influence of messages in their daily interaction with all forms of media. Media literacy training also ensures students develop communication skills by giving them the ability to use media to create effective messages and distribute these messages responsibly. Students develop personal and social responsibility through media literacy education that teaches them skills they can use to monitor and be critical of what they share on social media and empowers them to engage responsibly in the global media environment. College students and graduates need strong media and digital literacy skills to help navigate the overwhelming media landscape of our current and future world.
Our goal is to develop a quality open textbook and create OER online course materials for MCOM 1307 that is timely, current, and relevant with instructional materials that cover all course objectives. This is important because our experience teaching the course for many years using different textbooks and a review of available OER shows that textbooks on the market do not always cover all the key components of what a course teaching an overview of media communication and media literacy education needs. Our OER will address those missing components of what a media communication course incorporating media and digital literacy skills ought to cover. Students enrolled in the course will receive a holistic education about media communication and media literacy using a comprehensive learning tool in the form of our proposed open textbook and OER online course materials rather than depending on multiple textbooks and resources.