What are you learning?

  • You’re exposing yourself to a variety of emerging communities of thought and practice within Media Studies.
  • You’re learning how to orient yourself within a new field of study and how to engage with topics that might be outside your immediate areas of personal interest, but are still relevant to your discipline.
  • You’re learning how to find connections between seemingly disparate ideas and projects, and developing the skills necessary to conduct a literature review or environmental scan – a integral component of any thesis or grant proposal or business plan.
  • What’s more, this background research, and the on-the-fly thinking you’ll have to practice during the Q&A, are necessary for any interview situation: maybe you’re interviewing job candidates at work; interviewing notable figures for your academic research, or for a podcast or video; hosting a speaker series of industry leaders at your office, etc. Thus, you’re cultivating intellectual generosity and learning how to be a good host.
  • You’re negotiating the differences among group members, and figuring out how to exploit the variety of intelligences and skills present in a group.
  • You’re learning how to work with an editor, how to proceed through the iterative process of revision.
  • You’re relying on collective intelligence and critical feedback in order to improve your own work. 

Why have we broken you into groups? 

Not to torture you. I promise. Instead, we’ve done this primarily because:

  • We want you to talk with one another about the lectures; what you take away from this experience will likely be much richer and more meaningful if you’ve rehearsed and revised your ideas through dialogue, rather than blindly upholding your own immediate, unchallenged, self-centered response.
  • We can more richly document and reflect on our in-class events if your responses exploit the diversity of skills your classmates bring to the table; if someone’s a skilled audio producer, illustrator, or producer, your group’s response could incorporate – and be strengthened by – those modes of expression.
  • So much work in the “real world” involves collaboration in small groups, so this class activity offers good practice in negotiation, collaborative production, etc.; and
  • To aid with course logistics: most semesters, UMS is a large class, and we want to find the best way to “filter” your collective intelligence into our class meetings. We’re essentially following the principles of representative democracy, with small congresses and elected representatives.