Press release 16 March 2010



                             16 March 2010

                             For immediate release



Canada’s Leading Media Educators


Team Up with Athabasca University to Create 


Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave


An online course, available July 2010


The potential for this project has me awake at night and dreaming of the possibilities.”

– Connie Morrison, teacher, St. John’s


A breakthrough course fills a gap in media education

Finally, an online credit course for teachers, teachers in training, and students interested in communications studies and media education. Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave is a breakthrough online three credit course written, tested and endorsed by teachers and delivered in partnership with Athabasca University.


Media literacy is a mandated part of the curriculum across Canada, yet there is very little training available at any level.  In the past teachers looking for professional development found little or no support. Many avoided teaching media studies because of their lack of education. This new online course will meet that need.


John Pungente and Gary Marcuse, the originators of the award winning Scanning Television classroom resource, gathered Canada’s best media educators together to write this powerful new course. 


Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave consists of 13 online units designed to aid grades 7 – 12 teachers in helping their students to develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature, impact and techniques of the mass media.  The units are highly-interactive and will assist teachers in developing skills to adapt these lessons to their students’ needs and their teaching situations.


Field tested by teachers

The course was tested by teachers in communities across Canada.  Here are some of their comments:


When I think about this project and the potential it has to change the way our students can be taught I feel as though a giant weight is lifted.  This is just what our students need—teachers who have a grasp on the complex media machine and an understanding of how to teach about it… The potential for this project has me awake at night and dreaming of the possibilities.    

Connie Morrison – St. John’s



I don’t have any formal media studies training, so it has been really informational and full of engaging activities.  I really liked the set up of the lessons with the overview, lesson summary, and lesson breakdowns.  I felt like I could use a similar outline for teaching a semestered Media Course, and use various concepts for teaching media components in English courses. 

Kylie Lozon London


Download the Press Kit for more reviews of Inside Plato’s Cave.  


What’s in a title?  

The title Inside Plato’s Cave is based on a parable in Plato’s Republic.  Plato describes the situation of prisoners trapped in a cave who only see flickering shadows of the outside world cast on the wall.  Unable to escape, these phantom images are the only reality they know.  Only knowledge, Plato suggests, can enlarge our perceptions and liberate us from these illusions. The creators of Inside Plato’s Cave selected the title to represent the need for universal media literacy in the Information Age.

Created by Canadian Media Educators, delivered by Athabasca University
Understanding Media Literacy: Inside Plato’s Cave  was written and field tested by members of the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (CAMEO) working with Face to Face Media and the Jesuit Communication Project.  The course is delivered in partnership with Athabasca University. The project, developed over the past six years, was produced with assistance from Citytv, CHUM Ltd., and the Virtual Teacher Centre.

More information, registration, press kit available

For a sample unit, a list of the writers, how to register, and more visit the website for the Communications Studies Program at Athabasca University.  Download a Press Kit including a 500 or 1000 word overview of the course for educational publication.




Athabasca University



Understanding Media Literacy:

Inside Plato's Cave


Communications Studies Program

Dr. Evelyn Ellerman, Director

780 485-5831

1-866 242-8769 (toll free)


Media Relations

John O’Brien, Manager
403-298-2931 (office)

403-990-1131 (cell)



Project Team


Lead Writers

John J. Pungente, SJ

Jesuit Communication Project



Carolyn Wilson

Association for Media Literacy / OISE




Gary Marcuse, Betsy Carson

Face to Face Media

604 251 0770,