Making sense of the complexities of media and communications

IN increasingly convoluted times and a perpetually evolving world, communication has become – more than ever – an important part of society.

Monash University Malaysia’s Master of Communications and Media Studies (MCMS) co-ordinator Dr Tan Meng Yoe (pic) provides insights into the programme and relevance of communications and media studies in an increasingly complex world:

Dr Tan  shares insights into the programme and relevance of communications and media studies in an increasingly complex world.Dr Tan shares insights into the programme and relevance of communications and media studies in an increasingly complex world.

“Communications is more than what is presented to us. We are inundated with media content from various sources, both solicited and unsolicited.

“Looking beyond the noise, we must find out what’s really going on. It is in this process of inquiry where important critical thinking skills are developed. In news, we have to ask: whose agenda is prioritised, how stories are framed, what version of reality is laid out for us, who’s behind it, and whether it is useful or dangerous.

“These are not easy questions, but with some training, they’re not impossible to answer either.

“This can be applied to all avenues of communication. The key is to look beyond the obvious, and identify the contexts, structures and processes that make communication effective – or ineffective.”

Thinking beyond ourselves

“An important aspect of honing communication skills is broadening our knowledge and appreciation of a world beyond the familiar. This is more crucial than we think it is.

“For example, whenever an advertisement receives backlash for insensitivity towards particular cultures or people groups, it is important to realise it is a result of collective ignorance indicating a lack of broader understanding of other cultures.

“To be fair, it is impossible to know everything there is to know about everyone, and mistakes do happen. As such, the solution is to develop an ‘others-centered’ approach to making decisions.

“Students enrolled in the MCMS programme are exposed to cultural issues within Malaysia and abroad. Due to the diverse demographic of students in the university, students also get to learn and work with people of various backgrounds and nationalities, adapting to different styles.”

Learning and producing knowledge

“Accumulating knowledge and widening one’s perspective is important, but taking it to the next level, MCMS students conduct original research and contribute to the knowledge pool.

“Enrolling in the MCMS degree helps you develop an in-depth, nuanced understanding of the changing global contexts of media and communication practices, and guides you through key issues affecting the communications industry today.

“The programme trains you in research methods and theories, besides exploring the challenges that digital technologies, geopolitics and cross-cultural interactions pose in the Asian region.

“You may also choose to put your classroom learning into practice through an internship as an elective. In the final semester, you can choose to work on an industry research project.

“Alternatively, you can choose to write a dissertation, which represents an opportunity to pursue research that contributes significantly to your chosen field of study and can potentially lead to future doctoral research.”

What MCMS offers

The MCMS is specifically crafted to cater to the needs of working professionals, especially in the media and communications industries.

A key strength of the programme is the flexibility and support it provides to working students. Running in both full-time and part-time options, the course allows you to pick up a postgraduate qualification without compromising on career progression or work experience.

In dialogue with your accomplished peers and lecturers, you will be encouraged to actively reflect and draw on your own work experiences to inform classroom discussions, and also strengthen your professional network.

The MCMS degree offers you the opportunity to finely hone the critical thinking and collaborative skills indispensable to success in the industry, and broadens your understanding of cultural contexts. The specialised training will leave you well placed to lead in diverse fields. The career-focused programme uniquely blends an internationally recognised curriculum, collaborative learning from leading experts, independent research, and cutting-edge cultural insight to help you advance both personally and professionally.

For more details, visit the Monash University Malaysia website.

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