Module Descriptions

Bachelor of Theology Community Leader in Media Studies (NQF 5 - 7)

For a description of each module, see Module Descriptions below

Core Curriculum

The Bachelor of Theology in Community Leadership is designed for a minimum duration of 3 years, involving a total of 384 credits. The programme is delivered through a combination of in-person contact sessions and distance learning.

Study Year 1 of 3 (NQF 5)

This module develops the skills needed for successful tertiary study, particularly listening and reading for comprehension, critical thinking in sourcing and evaluating academic material, structuring academic papers, writing clearly and logically, and referencing sources used. Students develop these essential skills through readings and talks and practise them in a supportive environment with detailed feedback. 

Through this module, students will learn to use a computer for emails, internet, word processing, spreadsheet development and electronic presentation suites. This will enable students to access the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) known as Funda, which is used by Cornerstone for communication with lecturers and administrative purposes, as well as research and submission of assignments.

Media and Society introduces students to a theoretical framework for analysing mass media in its historical and contemporary contexts. The role of the media in society will be interrogated in terms of media ethics and ideological influence. Students will develop a critical lens through which to examine how meaning is constructed and communicated across various platforms in a media-saturated world. The module will also give students the opportunity to practise basic writing and editing skills that complement those acquired in other first semester modules.

The module introduces students to the principles, concepts, history, and major approaches to the study of society. It provides an overview of what sociologists' study, the methods they use, the different ways of thinking (paradigms) within sociology as well as the key terminology (concepts) that serve as analytical tools to understand social systems and the social construction of human life.

The first half of this module is designed to introduce the student to the nature, purpose and interpretative process related to the Scriptures. Attention is given to the historical backdrop of the Old and New Testaments, and to the development of the biblical canon (Jewish, Protestant and Catholic). Tracing the narrative trajectory of the Bible, this module is designed to equip students with a basic skill set necessary for the artful and faithful interpretation of the biblical text both within the church and public space.
In the second half of this module, students are introduced to the scope of the New Testament, as the testimony of the early Church, concerning the crucified and resurrected Jesus. The module follows the canonical order of the New Testament. Attention is given to historical background, interpretive issues related to literary genre, and to the theology and narrative integrity of the New Testament.

This module is designed to introduce students to the concept of integration and its implications both for Christian faith and praxis, and for the relationship between the disciplines of theology, psychology, and community development. The module frames these disciplines within their respective branches of knowledge, inviting students to consider how each discipline operates within a particular worldview. Students explore the necessity of moving from a compartmentalised understanding of their faith and vocation to thinking and living in ways that reflect integration between their faith life and their work life.

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to a foundation for conflict management that will guide community leaders in responding to interpersonal conflict. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of conflict mediation, equipping them with specific communication skills to enhance their relationships (interpersonal and intrapersonal). Students explore personal attitudes and approaches to conflict. This module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between foundational beliefs, communication, behaviour and conflict.

This module is designed to help the student build an ethical framework that considers a holistic understanding of the human person (head, heart and hands). Students are exposed to ethical theories that enable them to reflect on ways in which to respond to current moral, intellectual and social questions. Students work to integrate ethical theory into their experience of life and explore how this contributes to the good of the world.

The module offers students a critical introduction to different media forms and genres with a particular focus on digital and visual media. Provided with the basic vocabulary for the production and critique of film, television and photography, students will analyse content from various critical perspectives, including genre, spectatorship, framing and narrative theory. Digital media will be approached with an emphasis on evolving technology, user interactivity, problems of intellectual property, and the role of social media.

This module explores the ways identity shapes and is shaped by diversity in terms of race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability, and how the social construction of difference can have a significant impact on people’s life opportunities. A fundamental objective of the module will be to develop critical diversity literacy and identify ways to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation among communities.

Theology: An Introduction - This module is designed to introduce the student to the methodology and discourse of both systematic and practical theology and provide a framework within which to make sense of these disciplines, how they overlap and intersect, what specific angles of vision they offer the church in its engagement, theologically and practically, with the world. Special attention is given to the relationship between theology and its cultural contexts, particularly within a South African context.

Old Testament: An Introduction: In this module focus is given to tracing the scope of the Old Testament, as a shared testimony, concerning its central character, Yahweh. The module follows the ordering of the Hebrew Bible. The first part of the module gives particular attention to the Torah and Early Prophets. The second half of the module traces out the meaning and theological significance of the remaining books of the Old Testament, giving particular attention to Israel’s counter-testimony as recounted in the Latter Prophets and Writings. Attention is given throughout to historical background, interpretive issues related to literary genre, and to the theological frame and narrative integrity of the Old Testament.

Study Year 2 of 3 (NQF 6)

students in this module will explore the complex role of media as it relates to both power structures and the entertainment industry. The media’s interaction with social, economic and political power will be discussed with a view to understanding the media’s responsibility and the mutual pressures exerted. The notion of media producers as watchdogs or moral guardians will be contrasted with entertainment media, as well as the balancing act of satire.

This module comprises two parts.
Part 1: Applied Hermeneutics: Reading from the Margins. Here students are introduced to the importance and value of reading the Bible with others (i.e., the marginalised, whether women, children, the poor, the illiterate). The module enables the student both to recognise the value of being a trained reader and the responsibility to use such training in transformative, public, connected, dialogic and integrated ways. The module combines both theoretical and practical outcomes. The theoretical outcome of the module is achieved by defining who the others are and by laying the conceptual framework for what it means to read with others and how practically to do so. The practical outcome is achieved by assigning students to an actual reading site in which they will participate by applying the theoretical framework.
Part 2: Theoretical Hermeneutics. In this part, the branch of knowledge known as hermeneutics is explored in greater detail. Concerned with the art and science of establishing meaning through interpretation, this part provides the necessary orientation for making sense of Scripture. This includes cultivating, in the student, an awareness of the otherness of Scripture, both in its form and in its content; surveying the richness of the many ways in which one might approach the Scriptures and thereby appropriate its meaning; and, offering some guidelines for sensitive engagement with the Scriptures towards establishing meaning. A significant amount of time is dedicated to examining biblical texts within their socio-rhetorical setting.

This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

Christian theology is concerned with the story of God in relation to the world. With God as the subject of theology, students are introduced to the various ways in which the church has sought to speak meaningfully about the God who reveals himself in history and through the biblical witness. The module thus focuses on the historical development of ‘speech about God,’ and proposes that such speech be rooted within an eschatological framework; that understanding God means tracing the trajectory of his story to its ultimate climax. Implications of this doctrine are considered in the light of South African contextual realities.

The role of the media has been crucial in shaping global history over the past century, and the history of South Africa is no exception. This module will trace media influence through the apartheid era from propaganda to instrument of socio-political change, and how it continues to shape our political, social, and economic story as a nation. Practical constraints on media practitioners will also be examined in a particularly South African context, including media ethics, invasions of privacy, betrayal of sources, hate speech, obscenity, incitement, blasphemy, defamation, ‘political correctness’, and codes of conduct, as well as the intersection between government laws and rights to freedom of speech.

In this module students engage in the application of leadership theory as it relates to the three majors, namely Theology, Psychology and Community Development. Here students explore the practice of leadership in the context of the church, faith-based organisations and the public sector. Attention is given to issues such as the process of effectively utilising and developing human resources, sharing control and responsibility, teamwork, conflict management, strategic planning and managing diverse communication styles in the three areas of Theology, Psychology and Community Development.

Human Identity and Christology: Building on our understanding of God’s story and its trajectory in human history, this module looks at the question of human identity. It works from the premise that the meaning of life, of what it means to be human, to be created, comes into sharper focus when viewed biblically and theologically. Moving from the various biblical, theological and historical responses to the question of human identity, the module looks to the doctrine of Christ for its ultimate answer, unpacking the story of God’s restoration in and through Jesus Christ. Implications of this doctrine are considered in the light of South African contextual realities.

OR

Homiletics: This module is designed to introduce the student to the study of the communication process in various contexts, including cross-cultural contexts. The dynamics of interpersonal, intercultural, group and mass communication are explored, with special focus on communication in teaching and learning. This includes the study of public speaking, audience analysis, listening, speaking, and conflict management. With the basic theoretical framework in place, students are equipped with the necessary skills for effective sermon preparation and delivery. Attention is given to increasing the student’s ability to express ideas clearly and competently, in both written and oral forms of communication, giving the student a comprehensive understanding of the theory and praxis of expository preaching. Students are also exposed to a variety of topical and evangelistic preaching models in order to increase their awareness of the importance of these homiletical methods in the preaching process.

Pentateuch: This module is a focused study of the Torah (or Pentateuch) with particular attention given to the nature and character of these writings as Israel’s core testimony concerning Yahweh. Some attention is given to the theological motifs (Law and Justice, Political Deliverance, and Economics and the Poor) embedded within the Torah and to the role of these motifs in community identity formation.

OR

Synoptic Gospels: This module is a focused study of one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke – Acts) within its historical and literary context and places a significant emphasis on the descriptive task (exegesis of representative passages within the specified Gospel) to note distinctive theological themes. Special attention is also given to the synthetic task of locating the Gospel within the broader canon of the New Testament Gospels.

Study Year 3 of 3 (NQF 7)

Building on the theoretical foundation established in their first two years of study, students will begin to foster a practical skill set focusing on media production. This module will follow an intensive programme designed to help students develop the journalistic art of storytelling – from rigorous research and imaginative conception, through to refined execution and delivery. Students will be encouraged to innovate, experiment and find fresh perspectives suitable in writing for online media. They will also learn how to write for newspapers, longer features, creative non-fiction and magazine-style writing for print.

Building on the theoretical foundation established in their first two years of study, students will begin to foster a practical skill set focusing on media production. The basic principles of television news, documentary and online video production will be outlined in theory and practice. Students will be introduced to shooting and editing techniques relevant to video production for television and online platforms. These skills will be developed through short video projects and tutorials by industry experts.

Old Testament Prophets: This module comprises two parts.
Part 1: Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings provide the basis for a survey of Israel's history from conquest to exile. Special emphasis is given to the investigation of the relationship between Israel's historical traditions and its theological appropriation of these traditions around such themes as election, law, land and leadership.
Part 2: The literary structure and theological significance of the latter prophets are examined with attention being given to seeing the prophets within their own historical context and in light of the New Testament. Exegesis of representative passages is included.

OR

Old Testament Writing: The study and meaning of wisdom in the literature of the Old Testament are investigated. Special attention is given to the nature of Hebrew poetry, literary structure and the importance of developing a biblical theology of the wisdom writings. Exegesis of representative passages is included.

Pauline Writings: This is a focused module designed to provide students with points of orientation for understanding Paul and the letters attributed to him. The module enables students to navigate the Pauline Writings by setting both Paul (as author, pastor and missionary) and his letters within their historical, socio-cultural, theological, exegetical and ecclesiological setting. Within this matrix, students read and engage texts within the body of the Pauline Writings. 

OR

Johannine Writings: This module is a focused study of the writings attributed to John – the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the Apocalypse of John. Students will examine these writings by attending to the testimony they render concerning the crucified and resurrected Christ. Attention is given to the issues of authorship, literary and rhetorical structure, theological motifs, with a view to understanding their vision and purpose both within their ancient and the contemporary church settings.

Christian Spirituality Formation: This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

OR

Contemporary Theology: In the context of globalisation, this module traces some of the key theological trends and figures in the twentieth and twenty-first century. The module critically assesses the trends and figures by carefully considering how politics, economics, gender, ethnicity etc., inform and shape contemporary theological reflection. In doing so the module is designed to challenge students to continue in critical theological reflection by returning to the beginning, to the biblical revelation of God, in response to the new challenges confronting the church.

This module looks at the necessity and importance of an integrative approach to responding to a range of critical issues of relevance for both the church and public space. Within a worldview framework, students wrestle with contemporary issues – including personhood, community belonging, power, economics and education and the intersection of these issues – from a biblical and theological perspective. 

This module will provide students with an overview of the basic concepts and processes in research methodology and statistics in the social sciences. The module aims to equip students with the theoretical understanding and knowledge of various social science research methodologies. The module additionally seeks to provide students with the knowledge and practical application of various statistical techniques.

This module provides students with an opportunity to engage in the research proposal writing process. Students are guided on their writing of a research proposal throughout the module with allocated supervision sessions. The student will need to demonstrate the mastery of compiling a research proposal guided by the American Psychological Association’s (APA) or Harvard style and writing and formatting.

Cornerstone Institute
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