Fall 2022 Critical Creative Consortium

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Introduction

The first Critical Creative Consortium was hosted last Fall at the University of Texas at Austin by the Latinx Pop Lab. This year, Texas A&M’s Media & Gaming Lab students, along with A&M Professors Regina Mills, joey lopez and Jonathan Guajardo, hosted the Critical Creative Consortium. Our official sponsors were:

  • University of Texas at Austin – Latinx Pop Lab
  • Texas A&M Data Science Institute
  • Texas A&M Race, Ethnicity Studies Institute
  • Texas A&M Department of English
  • Texas A&M Department of Communication & Journalism
  • Rice University Humanities Research Center

With this support, we were able to host over 70 in-person attendees & over 105 participants overall, including online attendees. We had six tracks of panels and workshops, so we could appeal to the participants’ varied interests. We also had an open break area where lunch and various activities were held throughout the day.

I, joey lopez phd, have to say, this day was beyond amazing! Friendships were made, bonds were created, and people from all over Texas and the nation were able to share their enthusiasm for Latinx representations in popular culture. We are including a podcast with this blog post so you can hear some perspectives directly from some of the organizers and attendees.

(Insert podcast here)

Tracks:

Below are write ups by the organizers of the tracks.

Comics- 

Anthony Ramirez’s Reflection

This year, the Latinx Critical Creative Consortium was held at Texas A&M University, my alma mater. This is my first conference as a professor, and since I’ve left Texas A&M. This was a great and amazing experience, and an experience that I have never felt at the university itself. I was able to co-lead the comic books track with my friend and colleague, Samantha Ceballos. Through this track, we had a presentation, panel, discussion, and two workshops. During each of our comic centered presentations, we encouraged creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. Additionally, we described how passion leads to various opportunities. On top of all of that, we describe how there is power in storytelling. Not just in reading and analyzing stories, but telling stories. These were some conversations that were had during our presentations and workshops. Through our presentations, it was great to hear how others study and examine comics, and how people now want to use comic books within their research.

While I am proud of the work and the effort made by the organizers and I, one thing I personally wished that was different was less presentation and that way other organizers can venture out and support other presentations. I wish I could have supported others and viewed some presentations that fall into my interests. That was something I hope that can be learned from this conference. 

I hope this conference continues to grow and expand as it did this year. With conferences like this, it brings members of Latinx communities from different disciplines and walks of life. It is not your typical academic conference. I have been able to network and meet some wonderful people who have become some of my closest friends. I’m grateful for this conference and the opportunity to help contribute to build this community further. 

Samantha Ceballos Reflections

As a graduate student, it was amazing to be a part of this conference. I was lucky enough to help host the first LCCC in 2021 at The University of Texas at Austin with Dr. Aldama. Dr. Lopez and Dr. Mills really took the conference to a new level! It is always refreshing to be in a room full of people who create and do such amazing things. I left the weekend feeling inspired and filled with hope. Working with my colleague, mentor, and friend,  Dr. Ramirez is always a fun time. His expertise and professionalism are wonderful, and I always learn so much. The panels and workshops we ran were helpful, informative, and a great way to network with different students from different universities. I loved hearing about other people’s works and their process of creation. The workshops reminded me of the importance of amplifying voices and narratives and the importance of creating spaces where people can create and share without judgment. We should be building people up, not tearing them down, and this conference really helped build. We need to continue fostering spaces like these, especially in academia. Echoing Dr. Ramirez, I also hope that the LCCC continues to grow and change as time goes on. Latinx CCC 2023 needs to hurry up! 

Video Games-

The Video Games track had a mix of sessions focused on teaching games (taught by Carlos Kelly [co-lead] and me), creating games for those reticent to try (a Twine workshop led by me), and panels that brought in a variety of people in different areas of the gaming industry and game studies. I want to take the opportunity to elaborate a bit on these panels because while I have published elsewhere on teaching games in the classroom, I felt like these two panels provided me lots of aha! moments. 

The day’s second session, on Black and POC streamers, was anchored by Sam Blackmon (Not Your Mama’s Gamer and prof at Purdue) and Kishonna L. Gray (prof at U of Kentucky). I honestly felt like I learned sooo much from these two! Sam talked about how she’d been streaming before streaming was a thing (1999!). Both reflected how platforms like Twitch and their algorithms prioritize stereotypes of blackness and non-Black streamers in ways that undercut the common idea that streamers who work hard enough and build their base can succeed. Blackmon and Gray were incredibly engaging speakers and considering how little I know about streaming, it made me very interested in learning more! (Blackmon also let us know that there is a special issue of Not Your Mama’s Gamer (NYMG) on MMOs). I am not a huge podcast listener but I definitely also suggest listening to the NYMG podcast.  

Our last session was a Q&A session with people in the game industry. What I found from both our first panel with Sam and Kishonna but also this last panel was that what it means to “be in” gaming or “study” games is so wide-ranging! We started with a pre-recorded video from the Director of Global Localization at Riot Games, Denisse Kreeger, who talked about how much things have changed but also how much still needs to be done, and mentioned her own struggles being a Latina lesbian in the games industry. Then, Cj Peters of Konsole Kingz talked about his pathway to working in games, both in creating games, creating the icons that people use for this avatars in XBox Live, and creating connections between games and the hip-hop industry. Hadeel Ramadan (a prof here at TAMU) blew my mind with the work she was doing in educational games. She even talked about how they made a game for birds to help them destress in captivity! (really!). Lastly, we had Jakejame Lugo, who talked about his current work of content creation and experience as a gaming journalist. He and Cj gave helpful answers about what draws them to new creators (that the creator emanates a genuine-ness rather than a fake persona and makes the kind of content they enjoy rather than trying to stick to trends). I really appreciated that they all had really different takes based on their respective backgrounds and all had thoughtful conceptions of what they hope the future of the game industry will hold. 

Regina Mills Reflections – My Takeaways: 

Doing this track made me realize that I have some incredible colleagues here at TAMU. I was so glad to see several of my students attend (and though the extra credit brought them, I think the content made some of them stay longer than anticipated). I also think offering this free of charge was so important because our knowledge and experience, especially based at a public institution, should be shared. I loved the opportunity to meet new faces and also lift up the voices and work of old ones.

I do wish I could have been part of the other tracks, but I couldn’t leave my sessions for more than a few minutes at a time (especially since I was the presenter for two of them). I also wish that I hadn’t been so slammed with grading and other things pulling me in multiple directions that I didn’t advertise as well as I could have. I especially wish that I could have gotten more attendance from English and LMAS faculty and students, though I know many of us are very busy juggling a lot of balls, especially as we continue to live in pandemic conditions. Lastly, I was incredibly exhausted after this work (the last half of the day I struggled with an intense migraine). So for next year, maybe we should consider a less is more approach. Having perhaps only two sessions for each track, with time provided so that track leaders can attend other sessions, would go a long way towards having more robust attendance across the board for each session and allow us all to see and celebrate the work being done. 

Even with these reflections on how to improve for the 3rd Annual LCCC, I’m so proud of what was accomplished and thankful for the work that Joey Lopez, Frederick Luis Aldama, Hector Garza, Sam Ceballos, and many others did to make this year’s LCCC. Also, thanks to ENGL graduate students Alondra Ceballos, Joseline Gonzalez-Ajanel, and Anneke Snyder for doing the thankless work of opening the doors for attendees (since on Saturday, the LAAH doors can’t be opened without a key card). Thank you also for my UPREP assistant on my Gaming Latinidad project, Caroline Shee for attending sessions, asking great questions, and also helping keep the doors open for folks.

LGBTQ+ & Arts-

Popular Culture-

Journalism-

New Media

The new media track included a slew of presentations that went deep into the current trends in new media, from media production to artificial intelligence art. Students from the Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab held a panel about media making in the 21st century and students showed off their projects. Mark Solis, John Frazee and Issac Jimenez gave a presentation about Marketing in central Texas, specifically discussing the lead generation to customer follow up process. After the presentation an undergraduate from A&M told professor joey it was an amazing presentation which was great to hear.

John Frazee & Mark Solis presenting on New Media Marketing in Central Texas.

In the afternoon the Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab students held a workshop on media making in the 21st century where they guided attendees through interviewing and media production. It was great seeing their ability to put production skills directly into the hands of attendees. Lastly Mark Solis, John Frazee and Issac Jimenez gave a workshop on Artificial Intelligence Art making, giving a full overview of the AI tools currently being used to generate both graphics and video.

Media & Gaming Lab

The Communication & Journalism department’s Media & Gaming Lab participated in two panel sessions. The first session was moderated by Rick Pulos, a second-year doctoral student and included attendees from the faculty at A&M as well as students. Active members of the Media & Gaming lab introduced themselves and talked about what the lab has meant to them as a student at A&M. Most of them have been heavily influenced and inspired by Dr. Joey Lopez and faculty member Johnny Guajardo. They also discussed the importance of the lab as a place where they feel a strong sense of community and where they have the ability to explore their creative passions and express themselves outside of the pressures of coursework. They also discussed their various creative passions. Graduate student Nathaniel Carr talked about graphic design and shared some of his work. Rhett Brady, a senior Journalism major, talked about news articles he has researched and written during his time at A&M. Senior Telecommunication media studies major Kali Johnson talked about her passion for filmmaking and her hope to work in entertainment law. Sophie Villarreal, a sophomore in COMM, talked about how Dr. Lopez and Professor Guajardo led her to become a prolific media content creator. Zayno Rayne, a student in the Texas A&M School of Public Health, talked about his passion for music production and his recent experience as a videographer for the band Small Talk, an opportunity that came about from the lab’s extensive network to creative artists all over Texas and the United States. Listening to students talk was a reminder of the importance and impact of the Media & Gaming Lab. 

The Media & Gaming Lab also conducted a workshop session. Rick Pulos and student Sophie Villarreal represented the lab. Rick briefly discussed the transformation from analog to digital that occurred between the late 1990s and the 2000s. He showed attendees 16mm film and super 8 film and the various media types that popped up in that time frame like Hi-8 video and MiniDV. After this, Sophie took over the workshop and conducted a highly engaging experience for us all. She led a lively session on Citizen Journalism with A&M students from the department’s Popular Culture course. Sophie started off by sharing the work that she does.  She used her website from her company Revolve Media (https://www.sophievillarreal.com) to introduce students to her media works. Sophie is a media content creator who does photography, podcasting, videography, and journalism that is in conversation with all sorts of folks. For example, she often goes to local spots like coffee shops and asks people if they would be willing to talk to her for her podcast. She then pivoted to an open dialogue with students about what they think citizen journalism is. This led to a discussion that produced three questions for interviews. For example, one question was, “Do you prefer new Taylor Swift or old Taylor Swift and why?” Sophie then got everyone on their feet and introduced lapel microphones to the group and demonstrated how to conduct a short interview with the technology using her cell phone. From there, the group headed out into the building and asked several people if they would be willing to be interviewed. Sophie had the workshop attendees take turns conducting the interviews. When we returned to the workshop classroom, Sophie taught the group how to best edit interviews including what software to use and how to build a strong structure based on the captured raw footage. The workshop was a massive hit and Sophie’s ability to teach her peers was, without question, powerful.  

Open Area Recaps

Screen Printing & Art Area

The Screen printing area was a hit! Grace, an undergraduate student, managed the space and was responsible for making the Latinx screen and other screens that we used for printing throughout the day. So many people got to make screen prints on card stock, shirts, and canvas bags. People also did some collaging and pop art work. Overall the area maintained a nice laid back feel. Lots of good conversation and laughs came from it.

Dungeons & Dragons

Nate Carr, a Masters’ graduate student offered to manage the Dungeons & Dragons campaign, and it was a huge success. While there was only time for one campaign, the range of participants was impressive and the laughter, voices, and characters generated were fun and inspiring.

Music Corner

Professor Rold shreds on the guitar.

Probably should have been named the Guitar Corner, the Music Corner was probably the most random space at the conference where attendees could pick up guitars and proceed to wail on them until their heart was content. It was a very fun experience as you can see! A must for future conferences!

Podcasting Space

Ph.D. student Valentina Aduen managed the Podcast space for the conference
Young attendees got to record a podcast with Valentina

We had a podcasting space managed by Valentina Aduen, it definitely attracted the younger attendees which gave them hands on experience recording podcasts and getting familiar with the equipment. We also learned we should probably get some dynamic microphones for the setup as the condenser microphones pick up a lot of background noise.

Personal Testimonies

Feel free to share you own experiences and perspectives (Media & Gaming Lab members, presenters, attendees, etc.  You can also submit photos or a video testimony rather than text, just let me know (joey jtlopez123@tamu.edu)

Take Aways

Keep tracks, but possibly alternate sessions so groups are bigger, ie. have comics in the morning and then video gaming in the afternoon, etc.

Work on having more local food options.

The open session worked out well, but can be expanded in the future.

How to get involved

If you are interested in getting involved, feel free to contact joey phd at jtlopez123@tamu.edu.

Summer 2022 Media Lab ReCap

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The summer started early for us, aka right as the spring semester ended.

  • The Arden Effect
  • Anthony Defends Ph.D.
  • Leo Interns at the Institute of Data Science as a Media Specialist
  • The Media Lab Goes Social Media Media Lab
  • Capirotada Collective – Group & Meet Up
  • Latinx Critical Creative Consortium Planning
  • Lab Upgrades
  • Lab Collaborations (UHDT & TAMU SA Latinx Oral Histories)

The Arden Effect

Arden giving a guest lecture to joey’s COMM 230 Technology and Skills Course

Arden Duffield is a Media Lab enigma, someone who professor joey met at a coffee shop in downtown Bryan when he was shooting a student film in high school. Professor joey loved seeing a hungry film maker out doing the work, along with Professor Jonathan Guajardo, they let Arden know if he was ever interested in working with the lab in the future to feel free to reach out.

Fast forward to late April 2022 and professor joey was surprised to receive an email from Arden inquiring about summer plans for the lab and any possible projects. Arden had just finished up his Freshman year at the School of Visual Arts in New York city and spoke of a film he was finishing up and wanted to show us. Next thing the lab knew, Arden became a pillar at the lab working for weeks straight on color correcting his short film and then working on the scoring and sound. His presence brought so much to the lab, everyone who came through he interacted with such enthusiasm and empathy, it was simply amazing having him in the lab.

Throughout the summer Arden would end collaborating with multiple lab members, like Anthony Ramirez, Leo, Kali, joey, Johnny (they played a lot of chess), Rick. He even guest lectured at professor joey’s class which was amazing!

Arden embodies the spirit of the Media Lab, a place where students can come from all over and learn, collaborate and ideate.

Arden’s Short Film he edited and color graded at the Media & Gaming Lab

Dr. Anthony Ramirez Defends His Dissertation

Dr. Anthony Ramirez defended his dissertation on August 10th, 2022. The title of his dissertation is Historias de la Frontera: Using Critical Latinx Border – Cultural Studies Theory To Explore The Latinx Identity of The U.S.-Mexico Border in Comic Books. His defense committee consisted of:

  • Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian – Co-Advisor
  • Dr. Antonio La Pastina – Co-Advisor
  • Dr. Robin Means Coleman – Committee Member
  • Dr. Juan Alonzo – Committee Member

Anthony spent four years at Texas A&M as a fully funded Ph.D. student where he performed 2 years of course work and 2 years of dissertation research and publishing. In addition to being an amazing scholar, Anthony proved himself as an amazing teaching, being awarded the Texas A&M University Association Distinguished Graduate Student Award for Teaching. In addition to his preparing for his dissertation defense this summer, he also fielded a number of job offers and we are proud to say he accepted a Assistant Professorship, tenure track position at the University of Houston Downtown in the Department of Art & Communication, go Gators! He plans to start a lab there and we cannot wait to be co-hosting events and experiential learning opportunities.

Leo Interns at Institute of Data Science as a Media Specialist

Arden and Leo look over Leo’s cut of an Institute of Data Science video.

Through our collaboration with Annie Ortiz and her “Painting Praxis: Artistry, Identity and Decolonial Sensibilities,” we had last spring, Media Lab member Leo Garza ended up meeting Diego Rodriguez, TAMU’s Assistant Director for Education Programs. Leo became the Institute of Data Science Media Specialist and through a collaboration we provided production equipment for his internship to create documentation of the Institute of Data Science’s summer initiatives. You can see a video he worked on below:

The Media Lab Goes Social Media

We are proud to announce we have developed and now maintain a social media presence on Instagram and TikTok. Please like and subscribe!

@tamumediagaminglab

Capirotada Collective – Group and Meet Up

The Capirotada Collective was founded by then graduate students Samantha Ceballos Sosa, Ana Gutierrez, Hector Garza, and Dr. Anthony Ramirez. It has since grown to include many others such as professor joey, Dr. Corina Zavala, James Yu, and Valentina Auden.

The collective is planning on various projects, but for now, you can follow them here:

Latinx Critical Creative Consortium Planning

Taking place in the Fall of 2022, the Latinx Critical Consortium is a continuation of the 1st Latinx CCC held in the Fall of 2021 at UT Austin. Durning the summer, joey lopez, Regina Mills, Anthony Ramirez began collaborating with professors from all over Texas to ideate the Consortium and it’s themes. Latinxccc.org was established and the framework of the consortium has been developed there since.

Lab Upgrades

Johnny showing off some of the equipment we got in.

The lab saw many upgrades over the summer with a full podcasting setup developed. We also had professor Jonathan Guajardo provide additional equipment with a new Sony A6400, 70-200 G series lens, Black Magic Atom video switcher and other production equipment to help us further develop multi-modal media production capabilities.

TAMU Spring 2022 Media Courses Write Up

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Students shooting an in class project in joey’s COMM 230 course.

Introduction

Spring 2022 was definitely a semester of learning and re-learning as we came fully back to teaching in person, maskless.  As new media professors we are always learning new ways to engage with the students, re-think our course materials, andragogical approaches and in general facilitate a “creative space.”  This semester definitely caused us to reflect on our courses and appreciate the relationships we fostered with our students and as colleagues.  

Below you will find Dr. XIaofei Song’s, Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Ramirez’s, Jonathan Guajardo’s and joey’s reflections on the their semester and see examples of student work.  We hope you all find this useful whether you are a student or a professor.  

Dr. Xiaofei Song 

A notable change this semester was a reflection video to be made after students complete their projects. This was a change from the former behind-the-scenes documentation assignment. The reflection video allowed students to not only showcase their project creation process, but also reflect on this process. Students often discussed how being a content creator gave one a very different POV from that of the audiences, such as recording a live conversation from afar versus listening to a film’s well-captured, noise-free audio; or filming a cooking tutorial video in one’s kitchen versus watching a popular cooking video on YouTube. For many, such a different POV also brought challenges as the individuals aimed to make their projects as professional-sounding/looking as the “ideals” everyone sees on popular media; and overcoming the challenges naturally became a goal that many students constantly worked on during the semester. 

In addition to the reflection on technical aspects, students made remarks of how creating the projects had helped them to build a deeper connection with the subject matter (i.e. project topics of their choice), which ranged from rebranding through social media to getting involved in faith-based student organizations. Students also mentioned skills they didn’t expect to learn yet had fun learning on their own, such as InDesign for making contents for a social media page.

Seeing from an instructor’s perspective, I also found it interesting that students seemed to be somewhat more sincere and thoughtful in this reflection than in a BTS documentation. Maybe it was because the reflection encouraged the students to emphasize on themselves/their roles as the content creators more so than a content-focus documentation, and maybe it was just because the term “reflection” sounded more personalized than “documentation”. Overall, I was glad to see this trial of change worked well enough as part of the learning assessment for COMM 230. In the meantime, students’ reflections indicated success in COMM 230’s main pedagogical goals – to learn through creating projects that exude one’s passion, and to motivate students to become motivated learners.

Playlist Link:  https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0oEUI1w9U85F6ioA-U-HZ6GyZzONNBPI

Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Ramirez

This spring semester was great but incredibly fast paced. As per usual, I always get reflective on my past semester and ask myself what can I do better and what did I do well? I had the privilege of teaching COMM 230 – Communication and Technology Skills for the first time ever. I was incredibly excited to teach this course as I have become more and more interested in project based learning. One of the things I learned this semester is that I struggled to find a balance of how to teach a class like this as I was not used to this style of teaching. I am very discussion oriented and do include project based learning in my classes, but this class pushed me to think both critically and creatively, which I encouraged my students to do as well. What I mean by that is that, I had to think about how I wanted to teach my students how to develop various technology skills, but also how to be creative in the process of things. I really started to find “my groove” after spring break and felt like I was helping my students as best as I could. I was incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful group of students who wanted to use this class to learn new media techniques and to have fun. One of my educational philosophies is that education should be fun. This class was fun for me, and I wanted my students to make awesome and fun projects! I was so happy to see that my students exceeded my expectations and beyond. One thing I want to improve on is setting a foundation for my students to be creative. I noticed this was one thing my students struggled with and I felt that I could teach or facilitate better. I have already begun to think of ways to set this foundation for this class and other classes moving forward. Additionally, I know I need to improve and continue to learn technological skills regarding video editing and photography even more. I used this class as a beginner’s crash course of technology skills, new media techniques, and portfolio building. I not only want to improve my skills for my students, but for myself as well, as I want to learn how to be a better photographer and to continue to make short films. With all being said and done, I enjoyed and learned so much about my teaching styles while being an instructor for COMM 230 – Communication and Technology Skills. Moving forward, I want to continue to use the skills I’ve learned and lay more building blocks to the foundation I have built while teaching this course.  

Playlist Link:  https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU1eVYMk8rmYNnMEorkMgS-EAriCSR2mv

Jonathan Guajardo

Although I went into the Spring with a lightened course load (purposefully, because I was getting married to my best friend and life partner, Areeba, on March 12th), this past semester was anything but light in terms of productivity and creative work. I only taught 4 courses this semester (the basic Lecturer workload) instead of the usual 5 with an additional Public Speaking course. These courses were as follows: COMM 377 New Media and Entrepreneurship, COMM 476 Advanced Social Media, and two sections of COMM 250 New Media and the Independent Voice. I also acted as Course Director of COMM 275: Introduction to Social Media and used this semester to monitor the course in its current form so I can work on some alterations that I’d like to make next semester.

This Spring was also my second semester teaching COMM 377: New Media and Entrepreneurship, and one of my main goals was to continue building communities like I had in Fall’s 377 cohort. As the first semester fully back in-person from COVID-19 distance learning, that class found a home for themselves in the COMM 377 learning environment. This new Spring cohort had just as much passion for building community as last semester’s and featured many new enterprises that spanned a variety of industries. I will make a separate detailed post about this course, but this class’ collaboration and ingenuity are definitely worth noting in my Spring summary.

In addition to my teaching work, I began collaborating with Undergraduate Coordinator Nancy Street and the New Media Lab’s own Dr. Joey Lopez to work on building a minor in New Media Production. I will make another more in-depth post about this proposal, but it is worth noting that this is the culmination of a dream that I had when I was looking for colleges to apply to out of high school. While it had been a lifelong dream of mine to attend Texas A&M University as a Freshman in 2009, the only reason I even investigated other universities (and eventually accepted a full-scholarship to UIW) was due to the lack of a production-centric Communication program at A&M. It is my hope that this program, in addition to our New Media Lab, will provide an academic home for students who are interested in growing more as producers and curators of existing and emerging forms of New Media.

Another memorable Spring moment occurred towards the end of the Spring, when I decided to apply to the Ph.D. program in Higher Education at Texas Tech University and was accepted for admission in the Fall of 2022. For everyone reading this who knows my strong love and affinity for Texas A&M, there might be some confusion as to why I would look into continuing my education in Raiderland and not Aggieland. In short, I’m becoming a Red Raider to stay an Aggie Prof. I want to be able to stay teaching full-time at Texas A&M while having the freedom to obtain my Ph.D. in an online format from another Tier 1 research university. Right now, I’m looking to focus my doctoral studies on extending the research that I did into Black Mountain College for my Master’s capstone thesis, but adapt it to the way teaching and learning communities have evolved with the advent of new communicative technologies, especially in a post-Covid collaborative environment. I’m super excited to begin the journey towards my terminal degree and I look forward to the amazing learning opportunities and insightful colleagues that I can meet in this new program. 

All-in-all, this semester was a whirlwind of blessings, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds both in our work in the Communication Department here at Texas A&M and IN my own educational journey at Texas Tech. Gig ‘Em and Wreck ‘Em!

Playlist Link:   

joey lopez

Wow!  What a semester!  This semester really took me on a roller coaster.  The students were so excited to be back, but at the same time I could tell so much personal interaction was exhausting and tiring.  Watching the resilience of the students play out throughout the semester was great.  I taught 4 courses this semester:

COMM 275 Introduction to Social Media

I had never taught COMM 275 before so I used the common syllabus which did not include projects, so unfortunately I do not have any projects to show from it, however I did learn if I were ever asked to teach that course again I would definitely make it all project based learning and have some great ideas.  I believe maintaining a blog reflecting on various social media topics covered throughout the course with vlogging check-in’s would go a long way.  

COMM 230 Technology Skills

COMM 230 definitely caught me off guard in that the students base skills were very developed when it comes to video and audio creation.  I did learn a couple of things for next time:

Student now have pretty advanced video knowledge compared to 20 years ago, this means we can focus on story telling that much more, that much sooner.   A lot of projects revolved around students sharing their lives, which was great, however many of these projects lacked a narrative and or thematic arch.   I would like to work on new approaches to integrating story telling early on so that their later projects are more developed.  

Speaking with Xiaofei Song I also learned from her a reflection video rather than a documentation video can go a long way in terms of students learning about themselves and their interaction with their work.  So I will be integrating this in the future.  

Project wise this spring they turned in some stellar projects, which you can check out here:

Playlist Link:   https://youtu.be/r9bfoGsPh38

COMM 410 Radio, Records & Popular Music

When I took over COMM 410 a couple years back I was super excited and last semester I published an article about how I revamped the whole course as it is a W course.  So you can get a full run down of the course here.  My hopes for improvement if I were to teach this class again (I am not schedule to) would be trips to recording studios and music events, as well as more guest speakers.  I did integrate creative in class group projects this semester and they were great.  Here are some links to student blogs I would like to highlight:

COMM 340 Communication & Popular Culture

I have been teaching Popular Culture since spring 2020, two years later I haven’t changed the course much, however the projects have just been getting better and better.  The students are tasked with creating videos about a chapter and/or lecture that has inspired them.  Below you will find a set of videos I believe exude the spirit of the class:

Playlist:  https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU1eVYMk8rmbTIv9__P3-mFes8KCeDrBn