[MUSIC]>>DR MICHAEL OLSSON: Language and Discourse
is an interesting subject in that it combines the highly theoretical with the very practical.
The contemporary world . . . language is much more than just words, much more than text.
It is sound. The way that I speak is in many ways just as important as the words I speak.
Television, film, online media, it’s all about understanding how that works because audiences
come to those with a very highly developed literacy.
Fundamental to doing a degree in communication is understanding the practices that underpin
how we share knowledge, how we talk to one another. This is not just a theoretical subject.
It’s not just 12 weeks of talking about dead Frenchmen. Instead, students get to apply
that knowledge in a creative and very practical way by writing radio scripts and then producing
them. The advice I would give to students starting off in a communication degree is
firstly to recognise that university is new and different, that students come into the
communication degrees, generally speaking, have done extremely well in a high school
environment. They’ve learned very effectively what the rules are in that context but university
is different and they need to recognise that. UTSOnline is an important lifeline for students
not just because of the kinds of resources that we make available there like lecture
notes and reading lists but, for example, in Language and Discourse we have instructional
videos on how to use microphones, how to record, how to edit. But we also have forums, online
forums, in which students can ask questions and get answered firstly by one another which
I think is often where the most valuable advice comes from but also by various experts that
we employ. You will be much happier at the end if you
are well prepared and if you stay on track, if you stay well prepared, then you will do
well and also have plenty of time to have fun too.