Sunday, December 8, 2013

'Dang, this year flew by!' and other recapping thoughts

      This statement can literally be cut and pasted onto this blog every year about this time:
“Dang, this year flew by!”
       Indeed, it has. Here’s a quick recap for the Fall 2013 semester:
   Intro to PJ students Damion, Parth, Nicole and Yusta work on their team photo story last week. (Photos by Lori King)
Owens Community College
·         There weren’t too many changes for the Intro to Photojournalism course. Students still created Twitter and Blogger accounts, and they reported from their campus beats.
   They are currently working on their team photo story on Wood Lane Industries in Bowling Green. Their Soundslides story will be posted on this blog next week.
   A popular student request is that there is a Part 2 to this Intro to PJ course. This is a request that would take a lot of thought, and I've pondered it myself. I would like to incorporate video to tell longer photo stories, and allow them to earn grades for being an Owens Outlook newspaper staff photographer.
   I am considering writing a grant request for video cameras that students would use for the advanced storytelling course. Hey, some dreams do come true!
B&W 1 students at a horse barn for a portrait assignment shoot.
·      The Black & White 1 course in Findlay ended up being a very small class, with only three students making it to the end. A B&W course is not scheduled at all in Findlay next semester.
   I fear for the future of photography in Findlay. In fact, I fear for the future of Black and White photography, period. Teaching the theory, history and practical experience of Black and White photography is a debatable practice in the 21st Century.
        The first Owens Outlook newspaper staff meeting this semester.                     

   What do students gain from the old fashioned art of processing and printing film and prints in a wet darkroom? They learn first hand the roots of photography. But more importantly, they get to experience the magic of patience. To take a photo with a bare-bones camera; advance each frame with a crank lever; to know in your gut what reciprocity means; to rely on your knowledge because you don’t know what you got until it’s processed in a tin can; to see a print come alive before your very eyes... Yes, this is magic!
·      As the new adviser for the Owens Outlook newspaper, we, as a staff, have accomplished a few major tasks, including creating a staff policy manual and identifying big problems we are diligently working to fix.
   I want to thank Student Life director Chris G. for sending myself, as well as the two top editors ( Josh Widanka and Cathy Zeltner) to the College Media Association Fall conference in New Orleans in October.
   Going to the conference was a game changer. We came back with very valuable information that will help us fix our problems. Here’s what we are currently working on:
1.    Getting our own office space
2.  Creating the News Academy training program for every student staff member each semester
3.   Changing to a more visually appealing, user-friendly website
4.   Found a printer for when we are ready to go back to a hard copy newspaper
5.   Developing a business plan that will include a student ad staff that will sell ads. Ad revenue will allow payment to the student staff!
Kent State University
·      Last but not least is the Kent State University online course, Teaching Multimedia.
   The students in this course are high school teachers from across the country. They either teach journalism courses or advise student media and/or yearbook staffs.
   This is an intensive, skills-based course that teaches them about DSLR cameras, audio capture and editing, and how to shoot and produce video stories. Because technology is changing so rapidly, it's crucial that our teachers are keeping up with it so they can better teach, or at least relate, to their students.
   When I took over the course this semester, it was already designed by former instructor Susan Zake, who was hired as Kent State University's newest professor, thus she didn't feel she would have the time to teach it anymore.  That said, if I teach it again (and I hope I do), I plan to tweak it just a tiny bit next Fall. I'm thinking about adding blogging and DX code creation to the syllabus. But at this point, who knows what the hot new trend will be in a year...
      So, we are near the end and then it will all begin again next year.

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