Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holly and Teri edits sound using Audacity
   These photos of the students (and Dave Cantor) in the classroom demonstrate teamwork in action.

   I couldn't be prouder of the students as they worked on the Bittersweet Farms multimedia project together. To recap - they all shot at the farm, which serves autistic adults. Back in the classroom, they took on different duties for photo editing, sound editing and caption writing.
   The final Soundslides project was amazing. I will post it here as soon as I figure out how to do it. I need a website (I don't have one) to convert the Soundslides Publish to Web folder into an embed code. Once I get over that hurdle, I will post the show.
   This team project helped prepare the students for their individual final project. They also learned they are not alone in the world. Learning to work with others is as fundamental as learning how a camera works.
   There is only one more week of school. I will cherish it while it lasts.
   I also want to take this opportunity to thank Dave for his assistance throughout the semester. His photo editing skills are greatly appreciated by the students!

Dave Cantor, back, assists Kathie, Katherine and Dennis with their photo editing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breaking News Pulitzer Prize 2011
This slideshow will not pass the breakfast test. In other words, watch it while not eating. Though grim and sad, these stories need to be told so the rest of the world can respond.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A thanks to those who came before you

    I want to take a moment to thank former PHO 245 students who took this class during its infancy. I also want to apologize to them, as well. There is no doubt this current class benefited from 'experimenting' on them with course content.
   The first class in 2009, initially designed by Margaret Lockwood-Lass, didn't offer blogging. It was more traditional by focusing on how to shoot different types of assignments, like features and sports. There were no quizzes or tests. They wrote very little.
   The second class (Fall 2010) was more modern. Blogging was introduced, but there was no team project like we did this semester at Bittersweet Farms. Still no quizzes. Tardiness and attendance were problems, but they wrote more, and NewsU courses were added.
   However, the Fall 2010 class offered great constructive criticism that I totally took to heart. Mentioned below are a few improvements this semester:
  •    One student said a group project would have been appreciated. Thus, Bittersweet was born. They worked in teams to produce a Soundslides project with audio that will be posted on their blogs next week (read previous post). 
  • Most of the students admitted attendance was a problem, and suggested I be more strict. So I adopted the sponge quiz, a concept I learned in one of my grad classes. Students who show up the first five minutes of class are given a simple 1-point quiz that counts toward their attendance. This works well because not only do they get credit for the day, I get to tap into their psyche a bit more.
  • Quizzes were added to make them more accountable for their reading, and mandatory Blackboard discussion board posts allows them to share their ideas with each other and me).
   As I watched the students work as a team on the Bittersweet Farms project this week, it occurred to me that I owe part of the success of this semester to the former students. So, thank you for helping me improve this course. It wouldn't be the same without your honest input.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Student teamwork a joy to witness

Holly, right, shooting Bittersweet resident Danny and recording live animal sounds - at the same time! 

   Okay. I'm going to brag now. Oh, not about myself, but about my five Intro to PJ students. They make coming to class every Monday and Wednesday morning enjoyable and inspiring.
Dennis in the woodshop
   Their latest shooting assignment was a wonderful example of student teamwork. It was a group photo shoot Monday at Bittersweet Farms, an 80-acre farm that serves autistic adults. Students roamed the farm and captured the Bittersweet residents making artwork, tending to animals, cutting and splitting wood, planting vegetable seedlings and decorating cookies.
   But this assignment is more than just photographing subjects and turning in their best work for grades. It's a multimedia project that requires teamwork. Though all students shot, they had additional duties: Kathie will captions for the chosen photos; Kathie, Dennis and Katherine are editing the photos; and Holly and Teri collected the sound at the farm and are currently editing the sound using Audacity.
    The Soundslides project will not be completed until next week, but when it's done, I will proudly post it to this blog.
   Good job, students!
From left: Kathie, Holly, Julie Horn, Teri and Dennis