Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
It’s been a long and short semester. Lots of evaluations yet to get through. But it’s also somewhat sad to see the semester go. My commitments to our Ability-based teaching and learning system have come to formal close, as chair of the team that developed, put into place, then revised, and again put into place over the past five years or so. Now it’s time to apply and put most of my time into developing our new New Media Communication program, which should see formal approvals in the fall. I’ll be coordinating the program.
Our prep students have taught us a lot about what to do and what not to do. And the work John and I do external to the college feeds the ideas and keeps us thinking freshly on digital subjects. We’re looking forward to interesting projects with Nathan Matias and others. We’re thinking about film, interactive fiction, hypertext, and code, but we’re also thinking about how to inject all this into curricula that can change quickly but also stay in touch with fundamentals.
Students in the new media area, where we’ve been paying most attention, have been very smart, fast, and amenable to the new but still need more background, background, such as the range of works encompassed by hypertext and computed artifacts, that’s difficult to generate when that material has not been covered seriously in their educations. They enter courses with lots of experience with digital tools. These tools simply exist, like those browning bananas you have in the kitchen. But they still haven’t read a lot of relevant texts, other than what they’ve either generated as content on social networks or on cameras or cell phone ephemera. It’s interesting that the history of the network is absent in their experience, in the very screens they consume.
A lot of our work has to do with understanding and conveying context. A weblog, for example, is a connection to . . . what . . . as Blake is a connection to . . . well . . . what? Like architecture, the forms are just there, always have been, like that red-brick apartment on the corner where you grew up, and thus they need revealing.
Here’s to the new media students. It’s been a blast.