Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Communication’

You are not too good for iMovie.

Editor Rob Ashe is doling out some great words of wisdom on his new website. Ashe is both a professional editor and former instructor in his field, so some of his posts strongly relate to concepts I try to teach my Electronic Communications students. In a recent post, Ashe wrote about how many editors are rabid fanboy/fangirls of a particular editing program for no substantial reason, much in the same way people are staunchly pro-Mac or  pro-Microsoft.

It’s discouraging to see this attitude develop among some of my students. For example, a few of them were visibly disappointed last semester when I said we were going to use iMovie to make their very first videos. Somehow, the students already had the impression that they had to use Final Cut Pro if the videos were going to be any good.  To them, the quality of the video hinged on the program, not their ability.

In communications-related industries, it’s counter-productive to work under the impression that there’s only one program to do the job. You’re eliminating job and work opportunities if you focus on the program instead of the skill.  Employers want to hire people who are adept at learning, using and modifying a variety of resources (software and otherwise) to get work done efficiently and effectively.  And yes, that may mean editing videos in iMovie or photos in Corel.  Sure, one program might have more bells and whistles, or do something a little better than another program.  But that’s part of what an employer is looking for – someone who knows what program to use and when to use it over others. Software is just a tool and is not vitally important; one’s ability to craft the content is.

To combat this attitude, we have to help others learn how to learn other programs. Once a person has the fundamental skills down, it becomes a matter of understanding different interfaces. A cut is still a cut and a fade is still a fade no matter what program you’re in.

08

02 2011

The Mac User’s Creed

You may have noticed some wackiness going on with my blog yesterday morning if you subscribe via RSS. That’s because I have a new batch of students for MC 2023 Electronic Communication! Today in class we went over how to update content and theme settings on Wordpress. Apologies if that meant you got some random blog posts in your RSS reader!

Here’s something funny (I hope) to make up for it.  I made my students recite part of this to emphasize that the computer is a tool they must master; not an obstacle to overcome:

This is my Mac. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Mac is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My Mac, without me, is useless. Without my Mac, I am useless. I will treat my Mac as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its applications, and its file system. I will ever guard it against the ravages of data loss and out-of-date software as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my Mac’s desktop clean, my files backed up, and software ready. Before Jory, I swear this creed. My Mac and myself are the creators of multimedia. We are the masters of electronic communication. So be it, until at least the end of the semester!

Fun fact: iMacs in our labs actually dual-boot Snow Leopard and Windows XP.  I think that’s pretty cool, and convenient for students.

20

01 2011

MC 2023: A Retrospective

For their final blog post, I asked my students to critique the course. Was there anything they wanted to learn about the material, but hadn’t? Did they accomplish their own objectives for the class? What would they change about the course for next semester? The responses were tremendously helpful, and at times too kind to yours truly.  Many of their critiques and suggestions will be implemented next semester, and it’s nice to know that what the students perceived and what I perceived wasn’t disparate.

Now that we’re at the very end of the semester, I realize that the students aren’t the only ones who’ve been learning.  My students have taught me several things over the past 16 weeks, and as turnabout is fair play, I suppose I should blog about what I learned in this class too.

The greatest lesson I learned is that I need to be patient with others.  I don’t think anyone would ever describe me as a very patient person; but I never thought I was all that impatient, either.  Yet although I can work patiently on a project and I’m patient with animals, I am terribly impatient with students.  It’s hard to remind myself that at one point, I too knew nothing about a topic or program and had to rely on someone to show me the way. I wasn’t always the easiest student to teach, but through the patience of my professors I was able to learn the material.  I’m sorry to those students who felt the brunt of my impatience and I will endeavor to improve that aspect of my personality.  As much as I hate to say it, Mom was right; Patience is a virtue.

Another obvious lesson is that learning isn’t something you can force on someone.  Initially, I had an attitude that I needed to control everything about my class; but I quickly realized that complete control just wasn’t possible. It only took a week to figure out that there’s a balance between domineering a class and letting the wards run the asylum.  I tried to find that balance by encouraging discussion about the material and emphasizing creativity and storytelling over technical accuracy.  For many of the students, it was their first time creating a video, Soundslide or podcast, so it didn’t make any sense that they should do it perfectly the first time.  With the expectations set to a reasonable level, students could focus more on the project and less on the grade. In the end, I think the students enjoyed doing their assignments and learned how to improve their work for the next time around.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these students.  They stressed me out. Made me laugh.  Questioned me when it was needed. Listened most of the time and understood that these skills are important for their future careers. They surprised me in countless ways with their creativity and enthusiasm for the material.  Even when the quality of execution was low, their desire to learn more and improve was always high. That probably had less to do with me though and more to do with playing in Photoshop. Nevertheless, I’m going to miss those little rascals next semester.

15

12 2010