On June 8 the USM Libraries hosted NELIG’s annual program. Keynoter Pam Steager (University of Rhode Island) called for us to be “critical, not cynical” in our approach to media. She offered five questions to ask of content:
- Who are the authors, and what is their purpose?
- What techniques do they use to get and hold our attention?
- What lifestyles and values are represented?
- How might people (both the target audience and others) interpret the message?
- What is missing?
These questions can lead to richer discussions than would the more standard checklist questions. Steager also encouraged opportunities for students to be not only active consumers, but also producers, of media.
In one breakout session Kerri Vautour (Springfield College) and Robin Nolasco (Hampshire College) described a media literacy session they’d developed for first-year students at Springfield College. The exercise has students verifying a piece of current news. The goal of the fact finding is less to get the “right” answer than it is to ask better questions of news. Hampshire College’s Day of ENGAGE also had discussions of filter bubbles and similar issues.
The other breakout session applied the principles of slow media to instruction. Presenter Emily Ferrier (Olin College of Engineering) noted how both slow media and critical media literacy concern themselves with process. Though I’ll need to learn more about slow media, I was intrigued by an example of tutorial videos that focus on why you use a piece of equipment, rather than on how you use it.
Congratulations to my USM library colleagues for a successful turn as hosts! Of course, thanks to the people at NELIG for their great work!
Photo Credit: John Phelan (Creative Commons License BY-SA 4.0), from Wikimedia Commons