Lectures

There is not a set lecture schedule, and yes, I still value lectures. I could flip the classroom and curate a variety of things for students to do in lieu of lectures or the lecture time, but this already happens in the classes and through the subject blog, a delicious tag and (in 2012) a dropmark ‘box’. Lectures progress at their own pace, in response to what happens each week in classes and what is evidenced in their blogs where it is easy to skim read via a RSS reader to see what has generated noise or value for the students. It is common for set readings to take a minimum of two lectures each, and I often hand out slips of paper at the start of a lecture with a specific prompt on it. I collate these and then either cluster them there and then, or use them the following week and answer what has been asked.

I am not sure if I’m old fashioned in hanging on to the lectures or just enjoy performing them, but I find that in bringing all the students together in the one place at one time – if you have the opportunity – builds an intellectual community of practice around the subject and its ideas. The lectures, like most of the course, are not driven by a content model, and like the classes often dwell on education, learning, and the everyday, and are an effort to model for the students an engaged intellectualism that happily mixes, muddies and messes with high theory, every day culture, abstract ideas and concrete examples.

This also means I treat the lectures (and the classes) as the site of an explicit experimental practice. Teaching, for me, is not the design and delivery of clear and set content during the course of 12 weeks but is in the very moments and activities of teaching constructivist, emergent, experimental and iterative. The sorts of things I want the students to do and the types of processes that I think are fundamental to learning. By the end of the semester some good things happen because of the context provided through experiencing conversations as a cohort in a common time and space, even where the lecture is not very traditional in form or approach.

However, that’s me, the thought of writing lectures in advance and delivering them is just not in my DNA. It is in many of my colleagues and I certainly don’t think that this curriculum would not work because you like to write lectures in advance. If I did have to do so I would base each week on a key reading and combine that with showing one work and use that work in concert with the reading so they illuminate and explain each other. This helps erase and address the theory practice division that students (and many staff) have and models the ways that theory informs practice which in turn informs theory that is sought.

In 2012 the lectures went something like:

  1. Introduction to the subject, outline of assessment, how I intend to teach, what the experience of the subject is likely to be, why we are using the software we are using, notes on the relation of theory to practice, my expectations, the role of making in learning, the sketch films, where the subject sits in relation to professional and industrial media (as method and form).
  2. Sketch what I think they already know. Bit about hypertext, some ideas about parts and wholes and the relations between these, the implications of this for storytelling, the values of the subject: ready to hand, agile, creative, critical, time based media, multilinear, poetic, acentred, experimental, reflective. Noise as interference, then noise in terms of technical, cultural, interpretative, subjective, personal experiences and counter readings, magic bullets and how we think learning might be like that even though our experience of everything else tells us otherwise. Then digital media as haunted by noise (glitch, error, navigation, all the dross online, moral panics, lack of gatekeeping, unprofessional) and these defined as problems from point of view of previous institutions and practices. Then Weinberger’s extract and the information pyramid, qualitative change as you move up, and applying the model to media. Discuss a couple of quotes from the reading.
  3. Revisit Weinberg and pyramid, then de Certeau reading, “how do you begin to read something like the de Certeau?”. What is knowledge? How do you ‘learn’ it? Learning is day to day and tactical in this subject, why? Tries to be immersed in the network as a site and a practice, what does this mean? Weinberger pyramid as arboreal – do a bit of Deleuze and Guattari and where does the new, noisy and novel sit? Come from? Critique the pyramid as too one dimensional and offer some alternatives via rhizomes and structures which express and are knowledgable but emerge more holistically.
  4. Close reading of de Certeau, (show annotated copy of book on screen so they see what I have highlighted and I talk to these points).
  5. A riff on ‘insides’ ‘outsides’ and ‘difference’. We are pattern making and identifying beings. Some semiotics, how we use oppositional structures to make meaningful patterns in a world that otherwise lacks structure, how these create insides and outsides and that for poststructuralism the movement between becomes of value and interest. Some deconstruction, bit of ethics, bit of hermeneutics, playing with the what, how and why of the way the world gets structured.
  6. Close reading of the Barthes, with annotated copy on screen.
  7. Close reading of the Barthes, with annotated copy on screen. (Again.)
  8. Close reading of the Barthes, with annotated copy on screen. (Again.)
  9. Used a recent news story about education to contextualise how we do stuff (was about Stephen Heppell and industrial forms of education and assessment). Reflected on experience of subject so far and concern that only pursuing things I was interested in and that there was no connection with what the students might do, want to do, will do in the future. Then went through what major project is and needs intellectually and practically, and how these skills are transferable. Discussed how structure emerged through process rather than being imposed, and the implications of this (bit of biology and ecology used as examples), then used some paintings and films to demonstrate how the repetition of a simple idea, rule or proposition generates complex works (van Gogh, Rothko, Rear Window, Rope, The Searchers, Taxi Driver, Lucinda Williams’ Changed the Locks).
  10. Narratology: reader response, what is a text, how meaning varies but text remains stable but this is not the case in a Korsakow film where readings vary but so does the text in itself. From here moved into the Shields’ reading on collage.
  11. Used 3 stills to show how complexity and different stories can be formed simply by varying the order they appear in. That complexity comes from simple rules that can be repeated. Showed how the 3 still example complicates our assumptions about film length, story length, and film time. “The less a fragment narrates, the more possibilities of connection it has.” The agency that users have in relation to their Korsakow films. Then moved into softvideo and a demo to show that what sort of object video could be online is up for negotiation.
  12. Finished with speculation about a new series of ideas I was having about ‘experiential media’ and what that might be in terms of a post industrial media practice. (This will become a future research project.)

Notes

Barthes, Roland. “From Work to Text.” Image–Music–Text. London: Flamingo, 1977. 155–64. Print.

Weinberger, David. Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. Basic Books, 2012. Print.

Shields, David. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. Vintage, 2011. Print.

Miles, Adrian. Integrated Media Won. http://vogmae.net.au/integratedmedia/ blog.

Dropmark Integrated Media 1 2012 Collection