The rapid diffusion of mass media – print, radio, and TV – at the beginning of the 20th century has opened new ways to disseminate health related information in a timely manner to a broader audience. Eventually, the development of new technologies such as the Internet and mobile media has enabled yet another possibility of both mass and interpersonal mediated communication about health related topics, blurring the boundaries between health information producer and consumer. This scenario makes media knowledge and competence to deal with diverse media fundamental for delivering and using health communication messages effectively, from traditional public health campaigns to eHealth and mHealth interventions. This course provides students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of the role played by traditional and new media in the context of health, alternating front lectures and group discussions.
Lectures generally consist of two parts: During the first part, media effects and media selection theories are introduced, with a specific focus on theories that are particularly relevant to health communication. The second part is dedicated to the discussion of scientific studies that apply these theories in the context of health.
The interactive nature of this course requires regular attendance and an active involvement of students. In preparation of each lecture on media effects and selection theories, students will read one or two scientific article selected by the instructor and prepare questions for discussion in class. Additionally, the course includes a group work where students are asked to apply what they have learned to a given health communication scenario and present their work in class. At the end of the semester, students have to pass a written exam. The final grade is composed of:
Furthermore, as regular attendance and active participation are of vital importance for this course, unexcused absence of two or more times will result in a lower final grading.