At this time of year, college work really kicks in, as accumulated admin builds up, the first tests are staged, and new ways to get students who have missed sessions and tests up to speed needing to be found. Hence the inactivity on this blog which has taken the stats down to rock bottom after last week’s peak. So this is a brief round-up just to keep my head above water – or whatever the cyberspace equivalent is.
Both courses I’m leading at the London College of Communication are going well. The reorganised first year unit, still labouring under the unwieldy title of Production for Media Convergence, is being well-received by students now they are able to focus fully on a particular production strand for a set period. There’s no shortage of imagination or creativity as they experiment with and negotiate a path through the new media landscape. My copy-editing strand also allows us to begin to address the issue of raising the standard of basic writing skills – still the cornerstone of a media career.
The second year production workshops in which we divide students into print, online, video and audio strands and get them to work up a single project are going extremely well, with the students really beginning to push the boundaries. It’s a great learning process all round, and the tutorial team are already looking at ways to further integrate the process next year while still ensuring all students get experience across the board. It’s yet another example of how the trade is having to address the question of how far multiskilling can go and at what point specialisation is required, and also simply what production process works best in what circumstances.
We’re hoping to get the projects up on line for a more public profile later this year, but academic institutions still tend to be a little nervous about work produced in an educational environment going up publicly – yet another example of the new challenges we’re all facing.
Wednesdays are very long days this term – 8am train into LCC, set-up by 9.30am, teach from 10am-4pm, and then down the New Kent Road to New Cross to teach a 7-9pm evening class at Goldsmiths College. It’s another new course, Introduction to Contemporary Journalism, and there’s a really interesting mix of students. I’m taking them through the basics this term, and encouraging discussion and critical analysis. Several have already told me they are looking at the media with fresh eyes, questioning angles and looking at the techniques employed by the media they consume.
Being able to show that media is accessible while still emphasising the importance of the trade’s skills and values is something that makes it all worth it.