Critical Media Literacy for Global Competencies

Mastering Media through Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is one of the most vital skills to cultivate for academic and workplace success. In this four-week program, international undergraduates will learn how to use critical thinking skills to “read” and produce media more knowledgeably and skillfully in order to successfully navigate their personal and professional lives. Designed for university students of all disciplines, this program focuses on helping students develop critical thinking, media literacy and global competency skills, as well as increasing their English language proficiency.

Program Benefits 

This engaging program is designed to help students gain awareness of the social and cultural context in which media operates, learn how to deconstruct messages embedded in media, develop tools to purposefully construct their own media messages and increase their understanding of U.S. society by examining social media. Program benefits include:

Create a Custom Group Program

All of our Short-Term Content-Based Programs can be customized to fit your needs. For more information on how to set up a custom, content-based program, contact Xin Chen at

  • Learning how to analyze media for the messages it produces
  • Increased understanding of how students portray themselves in their own media production
  • Exploration of U.S. society through social media
  • Improved English language fluency and technical vocabulary to discuss topics related to media production and media literacy
  • Tools and skills to produce media messages
  • Development of collaborative skills as students work in groups to produce a short film that promotes intercultural understanding  

Program Details

This four-week program consists of four classes with 16 hours of instruction per week. Classes are held Monday through Thursday in our state-of-the-art International Center. On Fridays, students will attend a guest lecture series. Students are grouped based on their level of proficiency to ensure the best possible learning experience. The program features:

  • Highly qualified teachers
  • Small classes (about 15-20 students) 
  • Technology-driven classrooms, including a multimedia learning center
  • UC Davis students as conversation partners both in and out of class
  • Daily recreational, cultural and social activities 
  • Optional weekend trips 
  • No F-1 Visa required 

Program Courses

Media Production Technology 

This is a crash course in how to produce a short film. Students will learn about all the elements that make up a film, such as lighting, effects and music, as well as how a film creator uses them.

Critical Media Literacy

Students learn how to examine messages in media, gain an awareness of how they portray themselves in their own media, and develop an increased understanding of ownership and responsibility as producers of media. Students will also develop critical and ethical thinking skills about media.

Understanding Society Through Social Media 

Through an exploration of social media, popular apps and the notion of “going viral,” students will build appropriate vocabulary and become familiar with tech leaders and tech platforms. They will learn to apply critical thinking to the role of social media, its use in spreading fake news and how to be more critical consumers of media. Students will also examine the docudrama The Social Dilemma to explore themes of conspiracy theories, negative effects on mental health and manipulation.

Capstone Media Production Project

In this final course, students will work in collaborative teams to create a storyline, plan and produce a short film, demonstrating the competencies gained in the program. The team will explain their objectives and creative process in making the film and include an explanation of how they used what they learned to critically mediate messaging and ensure ethicality.

Participants must have a high-school diploma or be at least 18 years old to enroll in this program.