July 3, 2013

Media & the Writing Process

The most common use of media in the writing process is in prewriting. In most situations where you might have students do a reading as “research” or for background information before writing, you can use a media object. Media can be a way to introduce other viewpoints on issues that are not addressed in the textbook. Many teachers use media objects as a kind of electronic textbook supplement to provide materials that are more current.

Probably the two most obvious changes in the use of video in education over the past decade have been in the method of delivery and in creating learning objects. The growth of online learning has initiated much of this technology and pedagogy. Since WI courses will be offered both online and face-to-face, it is important to develop these connections for students.

A classroom teacher might have once sacrificed a class session to showing a 60-minute film—that is a less likely pedagogy today. At one end of the delivery continuum, the instructor could ask students to watch that film via a streaming media link outside of class. Obviously, this gives 60 minutes back to the instructor and allows discussion of the video to be the starting place for a class rather than it being the remaining minutes after viewing.

The problems that this approach might have – for example, the students didn’t watch the film before class or that you were not able to synchronously “guide” them through the video -  are the same ones teachers have always encountered in having students read material outside of class, and the solutions are comparable.

A more powerful pedagogical approach can be to select the most relevant segments of a longer work that focus student attention on content relevant to the course. Again, the analogy is to the use of excerpted readings within a course.