Students view, read, or listen to content and then compose a review of that content attending to items required in the assignment description.

Appropriate Content Areas

All. Typical in media studies, political science, and literature courses.

Goals & Objectives

The goal of a review is to develop a students ability to critically evaluate a media item attending to certain criteria. A sub goal is that students are exposed to the content that they are reviewing, allowing this lesson to tie into other lessons and goals.

After completing a review, students will:

  • develop attention to detail and critical analysis
  • synthesize information in order to compose clear arguments or thoughts
  • articulate their thoughts on the quality of a media event

as determined by successfully attending to 80% of the requirements.


None other than adequate Web access or access to library or other resources required.

Materials and Resources

What needs to be prepared in advance by the teacher? The teacher needs to prepare the assignment description including pointing out the requirements of the review and perhaps what the students should be paying attention to. Providing examples is also useful.

What does the student need to bring to the lesson? Students need to read any prerequisite materials.

Guiding Questions for this Lesson

How well are the students able to formalize and articulate their evaluation of a given media event?

Lesson Outline and Procedure

  1. Student read, view, or listen to a media event.
  2. Following a list of requirements that can be as open ended as the instructor desires, the students write a review of the media event.
  3. The instructor provides comments on the review. The reviews can also be peer assessed and shared among the class. the reviews can also be used to begin discussions on key media concepts that are present in the given piece. For example, review a play of a particular style and then have a lesson on that particular style from which elements in various student reviews can be used to spawn discussion.

Learning Assessments

The primary assessment involves the quality of the review and its attention to rubric elements if a rubric is used.

Teaching Strategies and Highlights

  • Link the review to the discussion going on in the course at that time.
  • Link this activity to other activities such as peer review.
  • Have the reviews posted publicly as an option for the students to obtain input outside of the course. For example, movie reviews could be placed on the Internet Movie Database.
  • Reviews can alternatively be done using non-written methods such as podcasts or using a synchronous audio tool. Students could discuss the merits of the media event and the actual discussion and quality of participation could be assessed rather than or in addition to text-based written reviews.


Students need to have the physical ability to view or listen to the media event. Depending on the nature of the course, accommodations may have to include alternative media events for those with visual or auditory disabilities.


How much time would a typical online student require to complete such a lesson? Generally, a review should take less than an hour to compose for a student paying attention and caught up on the content. Additional time is required to view or hear the media event. Alternatives involving synchronous discussions may take an hour for the discussion but should include some preparation time beforehand where the students are encouraged to have thoughts composed prior to coming to the synchronous discussion.

Learning Connections

What connections to other topics exist within the lesson? When such connections exist, they should be exploited. The media chosen for review should reflect an increasing or logical progression of critical thought so that students can draw on what has already been learned.

Ideas for Lesson Evaluation and Teacher Reflection

How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities. Difficulties experienced should be addressed for current and future courses and students.