Photographing the City

One of the aims of Living in the Digital World is to encourage students to break free of common or stereotypical perceptions of the cityspaces which form the backdrop to their particular projects. Such perceptions are typically (and perhaps understandably given that these are the formal perceptions most cities wish us to experience) based around the ‘tourist gaze’ and focus on famous monuments, historic buildings and postcard vistas. A useful way for students to start viewing cities as complex and often contradictory places of social interaction informed by power-axes of history, population demographics, economics and industry, etc is to get them to think about and record visually the multiplicity of buildings within a city and how these speak about the character of the city.

In this context time was spent before the Christmas break introducing students to various photographic techniques in preparation for their field trips with the aim of getting students to see cities in unusual and revealing perceptions. Our first group has just returned from Bergen from the first leg of their field research and, with no prior photographic training or specialist skill have produced an impressive portfolio of photographs which are currently in the process of being archived.

Open Classes starting soon

The COMC project is coming out of its short winter hibernation.

The three undergraduate Open Classes (Creative Media Activism, Picbod and Living in Digital World) will each begin at the start of the spring term (Jan 9th) and will be updating their own class blogs regularly.

These can be followed separately – or see RSS feeds

The project team are currently working hard on preparing the open class material and building connections with regional colleges.

More soon

Reflections #1 COMC and MOOC

The JISC Strand management team  asked us to relate our project to “MOOC” Approaches

Members of the project team were already aware of the work MOOC in this area, especially the work of Stephen Downes, and his writing on Connectivism, Open Educational Resources and the use of new media platforms in teaching and learning, as  well as free access approaches. We are also familiar with the related work of Dave Cormier.http://davecormier.com/edblog

The project team have already looked at some of the MOOC papers and resources, e.g. : http://www.downes.ca/presentation/278 ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW3gMGqcZQc

and will address the relationship of the COMC project with the MOOC approach. Whilst its focus is broader being engaged with new pedagogy per se, and ours is focused on ‘Media’ education – the project team nonetheless recognize the obvious similarities  to the MOOC approach. The COMC Blog will indeed address this early in the project

Part of this early reflection will be to consider whether to take up Stephen Downes invitation for others in the field to connect /link their projects with his MOOC project, or just participate in the next Change MOOC.

Coventry Open Media Classes blog Launch

The Coventry Open Media Classes (COMC) project is an attempt to develop and extend our approach to ‘Open’ teaching and learning in the broad area of Media.

Our Open Classes have already been piloted at Coventry University – see e.g. Picbod (Picturing the Body and Phonar (Photography and Narrative). Our department has adopted an Open Media strategy to unify its whole approach.

Lecturers from the Department of Media at Coventry University, with other participating media researchers and practitioners, students and external contributors will work together to make a wide range of learning material openly available through these classes.

These Open Classes make teaching material open for use and re-use under a CC BY SA licence. They also give access to networks and communities of subject specialists, professional practitioners and wider learning communities.

The COMC project Aims are to:

a.) enhance the student experience by expanding this way of working to four new communities of students attending Media courses at Coventry;

b.) strongly enhance student participation in learning through use of materials generated in part by them;

c.) lower the entry threshold to the HE experience, enabling many groups and audiences outside the HE to experience versions of media classes( lecture content, in-class activities, discussions and networks) without cost, or other barriers;

d.) offer new possibilities of personal/ open/ collective learning and encourage the formation of independent online learning communities.

The project Objectives are:

1. To generate, aggregate and curate teaching and learning material in four fields: media and cultural research; media activism through production; and photography BA and MA classes.

2. To make learning content, communities and networks aggregated by the open classes accessible through PCs and mobile devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets), the resources being available free under CC BY SA licence.

3. To develop an outline model for Open Class provision from the ‘live’ case study classes offered during the 2011-12 academic year, which will be tested and evaluated, and become the basis for a toolkit for use by other institutions.

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