Teaching Media with New Media

 

This Saturday (October 15) I had the opportunity to participate to my first conference in Bahrain: 1st Tripartite Business Research Conference. Organized by the AMA International University-Bahrain, prescription the conference focused on government, industry and academia working together for better quality of live through research.

The invited speakers at the conference reflected the theme in the sense that they were coming from either of the three areas and presented mostly their point of view on the need for research and integrated research.

My talk too, addressed the theme but put it into the context of my activity at Bahrain Polytechnic where I teach a Business Research Methods course and where I support and mentor my colleagues in their research endeavours. I have organized and supported my talk with personal examples and I have communicated this to the conference participants. I started from the idea that research is a way of life, something that once you get used to it you’ll always apply it.  I argued that universities need to ensure that research is taught in a manner that supports scientific rigour but addresses real-life and current problems. The examples I gave showed how cloud-based technologies can support the research process – a hint to the numerous articles I have writen here about using technology in the classroom and using technology for research like this Prezi below. It was exilirating to see people taking notes when I spoke about Mendeley or database searches and being amazed when I mentioned the use of Wordle and ManyEyes for qualitative research.

Research is a mental exercise, a play with logics, a writing exploration and an abstract thinking process. It takes time, it can be challenging but it can also be extremely rewarding. In speaking about the process, I  have emphasized its straightforwardness as, from what I have learned from my students, this is something that it is not obvious to them. They perceive research as something difficult, nonsensical and time consuming but fail to see that each element of the research process supports the next step. I have also emphasized the need of covering all the implications, advantages and disadvantages of each research method. I pleaded for teaching more, for asking for more effort and more depth from our students so that they can do less and know where they can do less when they start working and face the pressures of time and budget. Teaching them more now will always allow our students to do less. However, teaching them less will not guarantee that they can do even that.

As a final point, I spoke about how academia can help businesses by teaching students research. I shared with the participants the exercises that we used last semester in the Applied Communication class that combines social media audit with sentiment analysis. Social media, a still new and growing field, with no set rules yet with plenty of interest presents as many potentials for research as unknowns.  Instead of shying away from it and wait until social media becomes as established practice in the region, my argument was to start exploring it through research and provide businesses with graduates that already know the field. The Prezi I used at the conference is at the end of this post.  

The informal discussions that surrounded my talk exposed me to the challenges of research in the region where the desire for it exists but not the culture. The other guests present emphasized on the need for collaboration between institutions, the need to generate research as a means of putting Bahrain on the research map but they also stressed on the heavy empahsis on teaching and perhaps the little understanding of the benefits of academia-industry collaborations based in research where academics can function as industry cosultants. An interesting discussion which I hope to continue sometime in the future.

 
After quite an extensive wait, cheap
the book Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education: Methods and Outcomes is finally out and with it the chapter that I wrote for it.  My chapter, Teaching Media with New Media reflects on my experience with streaming media and new media technologies in the classroom gained with developing the New Media course at Katho and with delivering guest lectures remotely using live video platforms. The writing of this chapter inspired me to continue my work started at Katho and continue recording reactions of students to both the technologies covered in my courses but also to the method in which courses were delivered. This reflective practice and constant search for novel methods has provided me with an opportunity to bring innovation in the classroom and align my course deliveries with the (technological) expectations of my students.

Reference:

Adi, A. (2011) Streaming live: Teaching new media with new media, in Wankel, Charles & Law, J.S. (Eds.) Streaming Media in Higher Education. IGI Press.

From my conclusions:

This chapter addressed the alternative of including live video streaming in the daily teaching process using platforms freely and readily available online. It argued that live video is a suitable delivery method for on-campus teaching that could have similar positive results with those obtained when applied to distance or online learning. It also showed the advantage of using freely and readily available platforms online by emphasizing on their low cost, better-said lack of additional costs, on their ease of use and accessibility, and on their ability to promote dialogue between lecturers, students, professionals with great implications  for intercultural, international, professional, and research relations. Several platforms that offer live video calling, streaming or multi-user streaming were reviewed in an attempt to raise awareness of the wide variety of options available.

(…)

The chapter launched a call for more integration of live video as well as of other new media technologies usually perceived as synonymous with flexible, distance or online learning, into day-to-day teaching taking place in a traditional setting. Another call to establish a network of scholars and researchers interested in testing the concept of a new media class using new media was also made.

 

Book synopsis:

There is no question to the fact that online video is as ubiquitous today as any phenomenon of the past. Countless hours of digital video are uploaded to various online video platforms every minute. Faced with the incredible changes underway, it only makes sense for educators of all kinds to not only note the ubiquity that streaming media has gained in the lives of their students, but to embrace and appropriate the technology in their efforts to impart knowledge. Streaming Media Delivery in Higher Education: Methods and Outcomes is both a snapshot of streaming media in higher education as it is today and a window into the many developments already underway. In some cases, it is a forecast of areas yet to be developed. As a resource, this book serves both as an explication of many practices, including their possibilities and pitfalls, as well as recommendation of the many areas where opportunities for development lie

 


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