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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Leda Cooks

Second Advisor

Allison Butler

Third Advisor

Kevin Anderson

Fourth Advisor

Torrey Trust

Subject Categories

Broadcast and Video Studies | Communication Technology and New Media | Critical and Cultural Studies | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


This project draws upon earlier calls—particularly in the critical pedagogy, critical media literacy, and cultural production fields—to outline a teaching approach that balances technical media production practices and critical media studies. I refer to this synthesis as critical media production pedagogy. This blending of critical analysis and technical skill, I argue, is especially important at the university level where my research is focused, as students in these courses will likely enter industry fields in which they can influence culture on a mass level. Creating opportunities for a media theory/production synthesis enables students to translate critical ideas beyond the academy and into a wider cultural discourse.

Starting with an inventory of why media production and media studies courses have remained separated in many media-focused departments, the project then documents the specific means by which many collegiate educators have overcome these challenges in order to enact critical approaches in their media production teaching. This documentation process comprised primarily of 22 long-form interviews with instructors currently teaching video, graphic, audio, and photographic production through a critical lens. As a supplement to the interview transcripts, data collection also included gathering teaching artifacts from each interview participant including syllabi, assignment descriptions, and grading rubrics. Through a long interview and thematic analysis of the transcripts and artifacts respectively, the goal of this project is detail how this approach works in practice: how instructors overcome a transmission style emphasis on mastering technical skills by including reflective assignments within projects and valuing conceptual consideration in their rubrics, how they facilitate meaningful dialogue through critique sessions by scaffolding who speaks when and how to provide constructive feedback, and how they blend critical discussions with software training software, basing issues like colorism and body image within tools like Photoshop and Final Cut where problematic representations are often rendered. The overall aim of this work is a pragmatic one: to create an accessible guide for instructors from either the production or theory side of media to use and apply in their own teaching.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License