UMass Amherst and Massachusetts opportunities

Massachusetts is a leader in making media literacy a part of the public school classroom. Department of Communication Lecturer/Advisor and Media Literacy Certificate Program Director Allison Butler co-runs Mass Media Literacy (MML), a state-based grassroots organization that supports legislation of media literacy and develops curriculum for the inclusion of media literacy across the K-12 curriculum. Butler works with state legislators in development of legislation that provides for teacher training in media literacy. She is also in communication with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to make comprehensive media literacy curriculum viable for Massachusetts schools, especially as the state makes the transition to the Common Core. In collaboration with her MML colleagues, early childhood and early adolescent professionals in the field, Butler has developed over 20 pieces of curriculum, some of which are in pilot application in middle and high schools in Massachusetts.

Residential and local students who enroll in the Media Literacy Certificate program will be able to draw from the work being conducted in Massachusetts and take part in local civic engagement opportunities with organizations and projects devoted to media literacy application and learning. For example, they might participate:

  • As educational facilitators at Amherst Cinema as part of the See-Hear-Feel-Film program that teaches 3rd graders visual literacy skills
  • As educational facilitators to conduct media literacy workshops and lessons in schools across the state as part of MML’s media literacy implementation and curricular development.
  • In policy development for media literacy legislation on the state level.
  • As curriculum developers and workshop facilitators for Girls, Inc., Holyoke, the local chapter of the national organization that provides education and social opportunities for girls in the community.

Online students will learn the skills of media literacy and will be able to research and participate in media literacy efforts in their communities and/or build media literacy curriculum for local or national efforts. Online students may have the opportunity to develop community engagement opportunities in their own geographic areas. The flexibility of online learning enables students from a variety of geographic and intellectual backgrounds to expand their learning while also expanding the infusion of media literacy beyond the walls of the classroom.