Back in the mid 2010’s CMC co-founder Jonathan Guajardo was attending the University of Incarnate Word. He had completed his bachelors and was accepted to their masters program. For his final project he created “The BMC Effect,” a thorough look at alternative pedagogical programs that led up to the creation of the Convergent Media program at UIW and hence The Convergent Media Collective. For whatever reason, this project was never shared here at the CMC website. So we are circling back 8 years later to celebrate, promote and encourage others to take Johnny’s work and build upon it. We are always looking for more ways of thinking about teaching and process when it comes to alternative pedagogy and project based learning.
Welcome to our Media & Gaming Lab Fall 2021 write up. This blog post is definitely a collaborative effort. We have been hard at work developing programing, workshops, symposiums, consortiums, lecture series, narrative production development and submissions for film festivals. To say we accomplished a lot would be an understatement. I would like to thank everyone involved for all their effort, especially the students and of course my colleagues, Xiaofei Song, Jonathan Guajardo and Ph.D. Candidate Anthony Ramirez.
We are proud to not only have done so much, but to document our events and process. We hope you enjoy the multi-modal documentation processes we have used, it is part of our pedagogical approach and something we are very proud of. Enjoy!
Anthony’s Academic and Amigos –
Want the podcast version of what we did this semester? Well Anthony produced a live podcast during our hands on podcasting day! It featured joey, Anthony, and students from the Media & Gaming Lab meet ups.
Production Days –
The semester started out pretty tough for us all. Coming off the heels of a summer where COVID began spreading rampant around campus, anxiety was high in general.
That said we also had a great set of summer meet ups and we were all wanting to have in person production meet ups. So we did! Over the the whole semester we met up in person on Tuesdays and learned all kinds of production skills, on location shooting, interviewing (indoor and outdoor), new gear days, check it out:
On location production day – On this day we all met up at the Village Cafe in downtown Bryan, TX and Jonathan Guajardo, Xiaofei, Anthony Ramirez and I worked with undergrads on some short films for practice. We had one of the groups complete their video after having a video editing session on campus where everyone helped edit it, check it out:
On location interviewing – We also had two separate days were we practice on location interviewing, one on location at downtown Bryan, the other in the Bolton building where the communication department is housed. We shot in the graduate student lounge. Here are some clips from those interviews:
Equipment Upgrades – Throughout the semester we were constantly discussing equipment upgrades, we ended up ordering equipment for podcasting and production equipment for our upcoming narrative project. Here are some pics of what we got and going over the equipment.
Audio day with special guest Maxwell Burgess – Max, a Media & Gaming TAMU alumni came back to campus to give a full in depth talk and demo about producing music and music for our narrative film. It was amazing to watch him work and interact with everyone taking the time to show us anything we had questions about. An amazing day!
Collaborations& /Big Events
Dias De Los Muertos Symposium – The Media & Gaming Lab was able to collaborate with the LatinX Pop Lab at UT Austin to host the Dias De Los Muertos Symposium, an online event that brought people together to discuss the cultural impact of the Dias De Los Muertos and share our lived realities with it.
Latinx Creative Consortium at UT Austin – On November 13th, we co-sponsored the Latinx Creative Consortium at UT Austin with the LatinX Pop Lab, which was an amazing day of workshops, lectures and hallway conversations that encouraged cross collaboration and experiential learning. It was amazing, check out the full write up I (joey) did on my personal blog.
COMM Media & Gaming Lab Mini Lecture Series – In addition to collaborating on events. After almost a year of meeting up every Wednesday online, our group decided it was time to shake things up and we quickly put together a mini talk series about film making. We were lucky to be able to schedule some stellar speakers from Texas and Chile to speak about their experiences in film making. The results were amazing with great lectures that we are proud to share right here!
Spring 2022 and Beyond
The Media & Gaming Lab has a lot planned for the spring here are just a couple of upcoming projects/events/happenings:
Ann Arbor Film Festival 2022 – We will be presenting at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in the spring of 2022, we crew of us will fly out and show our works and what we have been theorizing on from our own personal experiences in production and where we see new media works going.
Narrative Film Project – We will begin full production of Kali Johnson’s coming of age short narrative film.
ProfessorX and LatinX Pop Lab visit Texas A&M – Tentatively planned for March 3rd, Professor Fredrick Luis Aldama and the LatinX Pop Lab will be visiting Texas A&M where they will lecture, conduct workshops and collaborate.
Showing Trajectory – We plan to continue the Showing Trajectory Talk Series this Spring.
ACTLab Conference 2022 – A 4th ACTLab Conference is in the works for Summer/Fall 2022, stay tuned! Past ACTLab conferences can be read about on this website.
A POST BY joey lopez phd, Associate Professor of the Practice at Texas A&M and director of the Media & Gaming Lab in the department of Communication
RADIO, RECORDS & POPULAR MUSIC – A JOURNEY INTO ALTERNATIVE WRITING COURSES
I had some students make awesome blog posts, for academic context see below, to see cool music blogs scroll on down and click away!
*SKIP THIS IF YOU DON”T NEED TO READ ACADEMIC MUMBOJUMBO AND JUST WANT TO SEE COOL BLOGS!
So as many of you all know, I (joey lopez phd) teach at Texas A&M as an associate professor of the practice in the Communication department. In addition to being tasked to teached technology courses, I have also been assigned media studies courses, one being Popular Culture and the topic of this article Radio, Records & Music.
Many know that I only do project based learning, no test, no quizzes in my classes. My pedagogical approach has always been to facilitate each students unique ideas and talents into creating works that transcend the classroom. Yes this sounds very hippy and whimsical. However, after having received a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. as well as teaching with this model for the past 18 years I can say it has been amazing to see what happens. Students tend to worry less about their grade and more about their performance. Some points I make at the beginning of the courses are:
Do work that exudes you and who you want to be and be known for.
Worry less about the rubric (and your grade) and more about taking your own ideas and as a team us figuring out how to make it fit.
I am here to facilitate, not dictate. I want you to create not by what others have done, but truly what interests you.
Even if someone is doing the same topic, I know yours will be different and unique to you and your own lived reality.
I am not worried if you are extraverted, introverted, a seasoned writer, a first timer, a “good” or “bad” writer, I am just looking for you to create (writing, video, photography, physical art, etc) in your own way.
I am not looking for sameness or repeatability
These are just some of the pedagogical principles I employ to have students really buy into creating unique works.
With this course being a W course it requires writing and because of this I have employed my own project based learning assignments in the form of academic blog posts, something I feel I pioneered, if not highly contributed to when creating my dissertation using WordPress and even getting to meet and ideate with one of their core developers at the time. An example of an “academic blog” can be see at mygeekylife.com, the most recent being my SEMA 2019 blog where I write about attending one of the biggest automotive conferences in the world in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For this course the writing center requires at least 16 pages of writing (4,000 words) total for the semester, instruction on writing (workshoping, ideating, lectures, etc), formative feedback and the grade to be weighted towards their writing.
I approach this through assigning two Blog posts that each contain the following:
Minimum 4 apa style sources
Minimum 3 first source photos (exceptions allowed)
Minimum 3 images/charts (can be from the internet)
Minimum 1 embedded video as a source (No Time Limit, 2-5 minutes ideal)
1 first person video embedded (4 minutes MAX).
The post should be equivalent to a minimum of 3000 words
Now it should be noted, I get a lot of questions for the first couple weeks about adhering to the rubric. I remind this while they are requirements, they can pitch anything and we can “hack’ them to work for what they are trying to achieve. This breaks down objections through facilitating rather than dictating their ideation process.
I use this method in all my courses, however in this W course it is very important as they are used to so much “structure” when it comes to writing, passive/active voice, tense, etc.
What has transpired from this process (and much more I am not sharing due to time and length of this article, are blog posts that give depth not only to students topics, but their own lived realities. Check it out:
COOL BLOGS FOUND HERE!!!
Below you will find thumbnails and hyperlinks to blog posts created for the course, shown with permission from the students.
Title: Cantos ‘pa la carne asada’ Creator: Alondra G Description: A reflection on music and family cook outs.
Title: Spotify Vs Apple Music Creator: Zoey Description: Spotify versus Apple Music has been a widely debated and talked about topic for the past few years. Though they are quite similar, most people have a preferred streaming platform and it is common, especially in the younger generation, to hate on or poke fun at the other streaming platform through the form of memes and other social media posts and videos.