Friday, October 10, 2008

Creating Media about the Coker Experience

One of the courses I teach is called INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION, CULTURE AND MEDIA LITERACY. In the material we cover, media literacy is one of the underlying themes; often a concept the students have not discussed in those terms in their previous talks about media. One assignment that continues to provide surprises is the assignment Coker College where I ask the students to create a piece of media about the Coker experience. This assignment has evolved from using Polaroid cameras to create posters to the developing of complex power points. And, today's class set the bar higher as one of the teams had a student with final cut pro on his personal computer and they skipped the story board idea and went right to video.

The objectives of this project and this section of the class are to help the students get some concrete understanding of Media Literacy Concepts like:

Media are constructions
Media representations construct reality
Media have commercial purposes
Audiences negotiate meaning
Each medium has is own codes and conventions
Media messages contain values and ideology and
Media many have social effects, outcomes and consequences.

This project provided the class with the concrete representation. The teams all had the same assignment. Tell an audience about Coker.
video could take awhile to upload. A group that included several athletes focused on athletics, showing Coker from the Athlete perspective. Another group focused on the learning experience of the round-table classroom while providing background on things at the college. A third group focused on the theme of Coker as your home while another group provided a story of the college from founding to today. And another team used the media player function of the computer to combine power point and video to highlight happenings in this centennial year. While a 50 minute class did not do justice to the explanations, it did provide the students with a good view of how each of the teams constructed a slightly different "reality" using different content for their message. The idea of codes and conventions really took hold when those who had done the power point as assigned felt they were out of the running when they saw the two videos. Each team did understand the commercial aspects because of focus either on prospective students or prospective donors.

From the instructor perspective, it was fun to see the media literacy principles come alive. David Considine of Appalachian State was the first to introduce them to me in one of his Media Literacy courses. One of his media literacy focused books is Visual Images


  1. Glad to see your students are both ANALYZING media messages as well as PRODUCING them. Frank Baker, Media Literacy Clearinghouse,

  2. I am really impressed by the students production work. It would be hard to create a PowerPoint presentation that could compete with this.