IMS class creates DVD, wins award- Written by: Samantha Pisciotta Posted 10/10/06
Media-related issues were the subject of an award-winning project created by Miami University Interactive Media Studies (IMS) students, which recently earned the Grand Prize Faculty/Student Collaboration Award at the Fair Use and Free Speech Film Contest.
IMS professors and students chose this project, which was executed in an IMS capstone class, to help high school and college students think critically about the media. The DVD they created, aptly titled Critical Media, confronts a variety of issues concerning the media, including the problem of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising, the subversive history of television, the typical dreams of television anchors, Channel One in-school commercial TV news service and the ethics of the U.S. government’s public relations.
“I wanted people to understand the political and economic forces that influence what we watch on TV,” said Bettina Fabos, an IMS and journalism assistant professor at Miami who helped lead the spring 2006 capstone class toward winning the award.
The contest, sponsored by the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) and the Center for Social Media at American University in Washington, D.C., awarded the class $1,500 which will be put toward future IMS classes.
The DVD contains 18 segments, each of which ranges from five to eight minutes. The project consisted of at least 100 hours of work per person and weekend class meetings.
“It was a hell of a lot of writing, editing, and producing,” said senior Dylan Daney, producer of the project.
“In group projects, there is always someone who doesn’t pull his or her weight, but with this project, it was a group project of 20 people. If people didn’t pull their weight it would show.”
This project gave students a new role in the classroom, allowing them to be leaders in the production process and students in the classroom at the same time.
Students wrote original scripts and through the process of revising, professors and student executive producers had to drastically change these scripts at times-making the process frustrating and daunting for some.
“It was all a process,” Fabos said. “Some students didn’t understand that without their original paragraph, that was later edited or redone completely, the final paragraph would never have come out.”
The class was about steppingstones, Fabos explained. To get students through the process, she had to push them harder than they were initially willing to go.
Both students and teachers felt a certain unity because of all the time they spent together and many students recognized the amount of work that was required not only of them, but of their professor as well.
“Bettina’s work ethic was an extraordinary feat,” Daney said. “I’ve never had a professor work as hard as she did or be as dedicated.”
The Critical Media DVD can be watched and downloaded for free at the Center for Social Media’s Web site.