Students live in a media-saturated world. They work with it, consume it, even create it; but do they understand it? Are they media literate? The faculty from Hamilton College, Colgate College, and St. Lawrence University , with the help of a NITLE grant, have been working on integrating media into their courses and exploring the issues of student media literacy. At a recent conference they shared their experiences and insights into using media projects in the classroom
Several professors commented that students learn very quickly how to turn out a paper that can receive a comfortable B grade, but that they aren’t invested in the subject matter. By adding media in conjunction with a written analysis they were able to deepen the experience for the students and obtain a higher quality product
Here are examples of the projects:
- Study of German culture in the 1920s through the study of film. Assignments included a one page commentary of a film clip chosen by the professor; students selected their own film clip and created a voiceover about how modern life is represented in it; a media presentation in which students chose a film and selected two representative clips and then prepared an oral presentation about it; students chose a more modern film and looked at concepts that had been discussed through class.
- Study of African American literature. Instead of a research paper, students researched and wrote a narrative, selected images and quotes to illustrate their points, put the project into a digital movie format with background music and narrative voiceover
- Short-term study abroad in China. In a course on the culture of China, students researched a specific aspect of the culture and presented a research proposal as a basis for a documentary film. While in China, they did fieldwork, interviewing, videotaping, and photographing, which was then edited into a documentary on their topic.
- Peace Studies: Marginalized Conflicts. Students researched specific conflicts, wrote a script, then recorded a podcast on their topic. The podcasts were made available to a general audience on iTunes.