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Hello to everyone at the Open Education Resources Free Seminar today in Brisbane. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there in person today, but for those who were there – and anyone else interested – my short presentation ‘Building Open Education Resources From the Bottom Up: How Student-Created Open Educational Resources Can Challenge Institutional Indifference‘ is embedded here:
My apologies for the few glaring typos in the slides – it’s a good argument against recording a presentation at 1am in the morning! Any comments, questions or thoughts either from folks at the seminar, or from anyone else, are most welcome!
Update: If you’re just after the powerpoint slides, you can now view or download them on Slideshare.
After getting off to a decent start with my blogging about student creativity this year, I seem to have fallen a little behind. I’ve had this post in draft form for ages, waiting for some insightful commentary to spring forth from my uncooperative brain, but alas, none has emerged so I thought I’d just showcase a few outstanding examples from my Digital Media (Comm2203) unit last semester and let them speak for themselves! While the first Student News assignment in this unit asked students to make a relatively traditional television news-style story (the best of which were screened on local tv), the final project was rather different as it was designed to provoke some hard thinking about digital media more broadly both in form and content. The outline for the final projects stated:
The Digital Media Project is designed to explore the affordances of digital video and media in an online context. Working in teams (the same as your Student News Project team), students will produce a 3-minute short digital video piece which critically explores an idea, concept or area which was discussed in or, or directly provoked by, the ‘Convergence & Transmedia Storytelling’ or ‘Citizen Journalism and Participatory Culture’ lectures, readings and seminars.
This project emphasizes (a) research in the area of digital media, (b) clarity in communicating and sharing a research-informed perspective or argument about part of the digital media landscape; (c) taking an innovative approach to creating digital media; and (d) technical proficiency in creating digital media.
Given that the first half of the unit was largely practical – many were first-time users of digital video cameras, sound equipment and non-linear editing software – I wondered if introducing conceptual material from the likes of Henry Jenkins and Axel Bruns might overwhelm students; on the contrary, I found almost everyone excelled at combining their newfound practical skills with wider issues and concepts. All 28 projects submitted were of a high quality, and everyone who took this unit should be proud of their work, but a few really did stand out amongst the rest and are well worth highlighting here.
The first project I want to mention is ‘Citizen Journ vs Traditional Journ‘ which mimics the style of the Mac Vs PC advertisements, with a stop-motion twist, to explore the changing relationship between traditional journalists and citizen journalists:
In a similar vein but using a really different technique, ‘Something Old, Something New‘ mixes excerpts from a 1940s documentary on being a journalist with contemporary footage to examine exactly how far journalism has changed in the face of participatory culture:
Looking at web 2.0 culture more broadly, ‘A Blog’s Life’ is a comical look at the evolution of blogging, in the style of a nature documentary:
And in a slightly more academic tone, ‘Transmedia Storytelling and Convergence’ gives a pretty good rundown of some core features of Henry Jenkins’ arguments about transmedia in the digital media landscape:
Finally, ‘Joe Bloggs Presents Web 2.0’ is a laugh out loud satire looking at the average blogger (A LANGUAGE WARNING, though: Joe Bloggs swears like an angry trooper!):
And, yes, I did have what can best be described as an awkward cameo appearance in that the adventures of Web 2.0 there – but it was worth if, if nothing else, for that outstanding end credits song! If you’re inspired to see more, 27 of the digital media projects can be found here. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the majority of students chose to post their work under a Creative Commons license (not all, I should add, but I’m pleased enough that by the end of the course everyone knew enough to make an informed choice one way or another).
Hello to anyone visiting from the Self.Net: Identity in the Digital Age course. The slides from my guest lecture are embedded here:
If you click the link and follow back to Slideshare, you’re welcome to download the slides for your own uses if that would be helpful.
Some of the links discussed today that you might want to explore:
* Rebecca’s Pocket (Rebecca Blood)
* Dear Raed (Salam Pax)
* http://jilltxt.net/ (Jill Walker Rettberg)
* Larvartus Prodeo (Mark Bahnisch et al)
* The Daily Kos
Comments or questions are welcome!
With Perth’s community broadcaster, Access 31, alive for a while longer, it’s my great pleasure to announce that the eight best news projects from students in my Digital Media (Comm2203) unit this semester will be screening as a half an hour programme this Friday night (11 July, 2008) on channel 31 at 8pm. There are some very impressive segments in here, including several news stories which engage with critical issues for Perth right now, and about larger issues such as media and the upcoming Olympics. If you’re near a TV (and in Perth) this Friday at 8pm, please tune in and take a look!
For a sample of what’s going to be screened take a peak at this post.
On Tuesday, the students from my Digital Media class, as well a few invited guests and colleagues, enjoyed a screening of the Best 8 Student News Projects from the unit. This project, the first major assignment for the unit, takes place after 4 weeks of workshops which introduce digital video cameras, sound recording and (very) basic lighting, non-linear editing and copyright in media production. It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but the culmination of these workshop is a project in which students, working in groups of 4 or 5, get exactly one week to produce a 3 minute news story on the basis of pre-assigned topics (all of which are based on relevant local issues).
Once the projects are completed, part of the feedback process is not just comments from myself or Christina (who is tutoring half of the classes, I’m tutoring the other half) – although we do give a fair bit of written feedback – but we also have a reflective seminar where the projects completed by the groups in these seminars (there are 4 groups in each seminar) are viewed and the other members of the seminar offer written and verbal feedback. I find this is always a very rewarding process, as students often engage more directly with peer feedback. To top it off, at the end of each seminar (there are 8 ) each seminar votes and the best project, along with the top from the other seminars, become those which make up the Best of Student News screening. While I am a little hesitant to place too much weight on the ‘best’ projects – learning is, after all, not a competition – students nevertheless respond well to this voting process. I suspect the idea of them deciding the best projects rather than the course staff is very appealing! Then, in the Best of Student News screening, the students get to vote once more and select their choice for the Best Student News Project of the year.
I have to say, I think the level at which students produced their projects this year has been outstanding. Even though most of them have learnt their media production skills over 4 one and a half hour workshops, many of these projects can stand up against the work of professionals who’ve had 3 year of training. The Best Project for the year, as selected by their peers, shows that humour – when used properly – really is one of the universally appealing elements of media. So, without any further ado, this year’s Best Student Project takes a comical look at the role of community radio in the era of media conglomeration.
At the screening, there is also a Staff Award given the the project which got the highest overall mark. This award went to the group behind a technically outstanding project which explored whether Australia’s young Olympians are adequately prepared to be thrust into the media spotlight at the Beijing Olympics.
There are two other projects from the screening I wanted share: one takes a look at the proposed redevelopment of the Perth inner city foreshore, and the other asks to what extent Earth Hour is a genuine attempt at ecological change.
One other noteworthy aspect of these projects, and of many others students created for the course, is that after our discussions on copyright, each of the projects above has selected to place their finished work under a Creative Commons license. Among other things, this suggests that far from the end of the conversation, some of these student projects may, indeed, have an interesting life being screened and remixed in different settings.
The students in this unit are now working hard on their second project, which is explores more specifically the affordances of digital video on the web, and I have to say, having just heard their Pitches for these projects, I’m really exciting to see the next projects as they’re completed!
For any interested Perth folk, a SF/F discussion group re-emerges:
After a long hiatus, the UWA science fiction/fantasy discussion group is restarting in 2008. Meetings will be held on the last Tuesday of each month in Arts G.05, and undergraduate students, postgraduate students, staff and anyone else interested are welcome to attend.
We have two speakers presenting papers in the next two weeks, but are looking for volunteers to fill the rest of the year. Please contact Karen Hall if you would like to give a paper.
26 February (Next Tuesday)
Presented by David Medlen
A short lived award winning comic set in the world of superheroes but not about superheroes. What does this short lived title tell us about the genre in the 21st Century? A summary of the comic is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotham_Central, and source material will be available in the Scholars Centre at UWA’s Reid Library.
I’m attending four conferences or symposia across the next four weeks. In a perfect world, each will come with details blogging; however, if I don’t get around to writing much for a few weeks, here’s why …
[X] Learning Futures Symposium – 10 & 11 September, Canberra – This is a two-day symposium held at ANU looking at the changing shape of education, pedagogy and learning in general in the face of changes brought on by digital communication under the web2.0 umbrella. The programme (pdf) looks pretty interesting, with showcases of Australian social software educational efforts and some great sessions which are more centred around conversations than too many formal presentations.
[X] Thinking Society, Thinking Culture – 13 & 14 September, Perth – This is an interdisciplinary forum organised by the Institute for Advanced Studies at UWA with the aim of bringing WA’s many academics, researchers, artists across the range of historical and cultural studies, and other social sciences, together the share their work and build fruitful interdisciplinary networks and exchanges. I’m giving my paper “‘We’re sorry, but the clip you selected isn’t available from your location’: Watching Battlestar Galactica in Australia and the Tyranny of Digital Distance” in ‘A Digital World’ session which takes place on Friday, 14 September starting at 10.30; this panel will also feature Toby Burrows talking about ‘e-Research and the Humanities: Current Directions’, Ethan Blue talking about ‘Prison Medical Photography in Early 20th-Century California’ and Jeremy Blank speaking on ‘Past,Present,Futures:Integrating practice in Visual Art studies’.
[X] PerthDAC – Digital Arts & Culture – 15 to 18 September, Also Perth – DAC has a history of being at the cutting edge of digital arts and media studies and this year looks to be no exception. There’s lots to look forward to, from talks on blogs in education to Axel Bruns on produsage to a host of key names in game studies talking about everything from Second Life to the Wii. DAC is concurrent with BEAP (the Biennale of Electronic Arts Perth) so the theory of DAC will mix with the performance and exhibitions of the latest in digital art which will no doubt be a very rich and exciting four days!
[X] The Australian Blogging Conference – 28 September, Brisbane (Free!)- Sessions will include The Politics of Blogging; Researching Blogging; Blogs, Creativity and Creative Commons; Legal Issues; Citizen Journalism, Blogs and Education; Business and Corporate Blogging; and Building a Better Blog. I’ll be facilitating part of the Blogs and Education session, although I’m not sure how many people will be there since I suspect the concurrent Citizen Journalism session, which includes a focus on YouDecide2007, might prove quite a draw-card. That said, Blogging in Education is certainly fun to talk about and there’s a lot going on in the world of edublogging, so I trust we’ll have some great exchanges in our session, too! To see who’s already confirmed they’re attending, click here; that list will grow substantially across the next few weeks, I suspect!
I’m also chuffed it’s September because that means Jill Walker Rettberg will be joining us at UWA for the month! And let’s not forget that October will also include Australia’s first Podcamp which will also be held in Perth!
(I’m back in Perth, and …) All over the world the WikiScanner has been uncovering interesting trails and tails of previously unnamed Wikipedia editors. PerthNow quickly jumped on the bandwagon and discovered the the Office of Australia’s Prime Minister has been busy:
The Prime Minister’s staff has been editing Wikipedia to remove details that might be damaging to the Government in the lead-up to the election. Staff in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet have made 126 edits on subjects ranging from the children overboard affair to the Treasurer Peter Costello, Fairfax reports.
So, too, has Australia’s Department of Defense, although they’ve gone into Wiki lockdown while the Department figures out exactly who was changing what (or working out how to spin that story, at any rate). The PM’s office have supposedly launched an internal inquiry, but I’m sure any interesting findings (whatever that might entail) won’t quite surface until the 07 elections are done, anyway!
At the same time, the long-awaited Federally-funded NetAlert website, which is supposed to educate and arm parents, children and teachers to the dangers of life in a networked culture, has finally been released. Sadly, though, the keystone of NetAlert are free family internet filters, which have been poorly received and for the most part, don’t appear to work.
PS Running WikiScanner past the University of Western Australia IP Address is far less exciting; there is one big Portishead fan, a few rants about masturbation, but that’s the juiciest we’ve got!
Update: Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer takes the cake with his thoughts on Wikipedia:
“My sort of recollection of Wikipedia sites is they are a bit, sort of, a bit anti-government, they are sort of a bit negative about people in the government,” Mr Downer said today. “That is my recollection of them, so maybe we should fire people up to edit them – but I know they have editorial control at Wikipedia so it probably wouldn’t help.”
It’s such a delight to have such informed politicians leading this country. *sigh*
Yesterday I was interviewed by Laura Miller on RTR FM’s radio programme ‘Morning Magazine’. Laura and I spoke about about MySpace, Facebook, Australian politican’s using social software, and the recent interest in these spaces in terms of ‘class’ on the back of danah boyd’s work. For the two or three people in the world who would be interested in hearing me talk about these things, you can listed to an mp3 recording of the interview (which clocks in at just under 10 minutes) here.
Incidentally, Laura completed her Communication Studies degree at UWA last year and was part of a team who put together the wonderful comic exploration of the role of the Peacock’s at UWA and that video is viewable here (fans of Laura’s may want to focus around 2:18 in, which features a 1970s Laura cameo!).