Communications Culture Coursework Aqa

A-level Communication and Culture is a challenging and thought-provoking course for students who want to explore the sophistication of human relationships.

Students look closely at cultural practices, cultural products and the ways in which cultural meanings are communicated. They start with an investigation of their own cultural environment and move on to consider different forms of communication and interpretation both within and between cultures.

What teachers like

Teachers tell us that they like the specification because:

  • it encourages students to think about their own personal level of communication and how they receive messages
  • it gives students transferable academic, vocational and personal development skills
  • the course content is interesting to teach and engages the students provoking thought and debate
  • the choice of topics set is interesting and challenging for students – such as exploring their own personal and cultural identity
  • students can explore culture in a variety of written and multimedia formats in a practical way
  • there is extensive teacher support with the coursework tasks
  • it gives students the basis to study communications and culture at a higher, or vocational level.

What students like

Teachers tell us that their students like:

  • studying such a dynamic, contemporary discipline
  • relating their life experiences to contemporary academic debates
  • investigating their own cultural experience and environment before moving on to explore others
  • the understanding and tolerance of other people and cultures that results from this course
  • the mix of theory and practice and learning how to analyse and approach culture
  • the wide range of interesting subjects – from high culture and popular culture through social theory to post-modernism and everyday ritual and practices
  • the creative and stimulating coursework
  • developing useful skills that will help them in a variety of careers
  • good preparation for humanity degree courses.

Skills developed

This specification will help students to develop their:

  • knowledge and understanding of social and cultural issues and concepts, starting in their own 'back yard' and radiating out to the wider world
  • appreciation of the 'everyday', and the ability to interpret the messages that bombard the individual in every environment
  • ability to read cultural products and practices in order to analyse them thoughtfully
  • ability to create a portfolio of insightful materials in a creative way, applying the conventions used in written and multi-media formats
  • appreciation of the social and cultural impacts of spaces and places, fictions and objects of desire
  • accurate communication and presentation skills.

Support for teaching

AQA offers teachers a wide variety of support for this specification. This includes:

  • easy access to secure key materials with eAQA
  • teacher standardisation support meetings and materials
  • teacher resource bank and suggestions for resources from other sources for help with planning and delivery
  • reports on the examinations
  • coursework and examination guidance
  • enhanced results analysis (ERA)
  • advice by email and 'phone from the subject team.

Career opportunities and further studies

A-level Communication and Culture is a fascinating choice for students considering higher education in any arts or humanities subject including English Language and Literature, History, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Marketing, Business, Journalism, Dance, Music, Art and Design and Media Studies.

Career opportunities for students who study A-level Communication and Culture include: government and politics, public relations, advertising, marketing, business, journalism, broadcasting, social services, law, international relations, healthcare communication, and the performing arts.

Section A: Readings (50% of total marks) 

Investigation into Communication, Culture and the Individual 

500 word study (Topic chosen from Site A) 

This piece of work provides an opportunity for candidates to explore aspects of their own cultural identity. Every year AQA will set a range of three topics from which one must be chosen for this study. These topics will form part of a rolling programme, with each topic available for a minimum of two years. Each topic will relate to the ways in which individuals utilise codes of culture and communication to perceive themselves and others. 

The onus should be on the candidate to interpret the chosen topic for their individual study within the following parameters: 

  • Based on individual, personal experience 
  • Engagement with one or more of the following cultural codes: 
    • Verbal and/or non-verbal communication 
    • Identity and self-presentation 
    • Group communication

Exploration of Cultural Contexts and Practices 

1000 word study (Topic chosen from Site B) 

This piece of work provides an opportunity to explore the ways in which cultural meanings and messages are embodied in cultural practices and cultural products. Every year AQA will set a range of three topics from which one must be chosen for this study. These topics will form part of a rolling programme, with each topic available for a minimum of two years. Each topic will relate to the ways in which cultural products and/or cultural practices address individuals. 

For this study candidates should collate material from appropriate secondary sources and integrate this with material drawn from their own direct observation. The term secondary source does not necessarily imply, but does not exclude, academic/theoretical texts, but rather suggests that part of this task is to consider other perspectives on the chosen topic. These sources may include popular and quality journalism (newspapers and magazines), websites, film, radio and television and the testimonies of others. 

The onus should be on the candidate to interpret the chosen topic for their individual study within the following parameters: 

  • draws on appropriate secondary sources 
  • based on the meanings and practices of everyday life 
  • engages with techniques of 'reading' cultural practices and/or products.

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