Is learning media about production or theory? Is there value in learning one or the other exclusively?
Recently my Alma Mater, USF discussed the Media Studies program at USF on a blog. The blog belongs to the journalism class but the discussion takes on the whole department. The discussion is energetic and, I would argue, useful but it does at times seem to get a little trivial or even verges on the level of flaming.
The main issue being discussed, outside of the student body itself, is whether or not students should be required to get involved in media production of some sort. It seems that one can coast through the department with little or no contribution to actual media production, which was not the case when I was there.
In the Financial Times of Monday July 27th, Josep Valor of Iese Business School argues that when educational institutions are critiqued on a blog, the educational institution should "consider such complaints "gifts" and take advantage of them." He argues that blogs should be taken seriously and the criticisms should be acted upon. "Ignoring blogs" he said "is not reading the writing on the wall."
Certainly, as a form of new media, one would expect a media department to be aware of the blogsphere, to be taking notes and perhaps selecting suggestions for discussion from it. But caution must be employed. If it was known that the university powers-that-be were acting on blog suggestions there might be a huge outburst of "requests." The cartoon accompanying Valor's piece in the Financial Times hints at the narcissism of blogging about oneself and perhaps blogging positive criticism of self on a public blog for all to see. (One might wonder if Valor is speaking from personal experience?) How many professors rate themselves on Rate-my-Prof?
It has to be acknowledged that if every educational institution was to monitor every blog about education there wouldn't be much time for education. His recent search for the term "MBA" gave results of 10,000. Some blogs I enjoy deal continuously with educational issues. My own blog in March talked about theory and production. It suggested that theory should always be included in the study whether it is production oriented or not. It is in the production of media that we can get to use the knowledge of theory for the good of others and society.
Digidave has a great way of talking freely about Journalism school. While Rab acknowledges that Media Studies graduates are being highly sought after as employees, it is difficult to imagine that he is happy about this!
It might seem like a good idea to monitor the blogsphere for ideas and criticisms but is it really feasible? Perhaps a blog for students to anonymously critique the courses would be feasible. Similar to the way professors look at the student evaluations we could eliminate the nasty, nasty ones and discuss the mature evaluations of each class and course.
Maybe this idea is simply an extension of the class evaluations we do at the end of each semester. On a public blog we could benefit from past pupils weighing in on criticisms made by current students for the good of the whole group. This kind of community spirt of cooperation and participation is worth the effort.
Sources for this post:
Valor, J. (2009, July 27). Blogs can help schools win the marketing war. The Financial Times, p.9.
2 days ago