Purpose: Creating a CommunityScreen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.02.25 AM

Media Reform, and its sister Media Justice, movement(s) are collaborative, often grass-roots-driven and networked communities.

A part of the learning experience is us building a virtual learning community, together. That requires “activism” from all of us: Regular and timely participation. At the same time, that allows us to collaborate, discuss, and debate in ways and platforms that are not always a part of a conventional academic curriculum.

This blog is the main virtual meeting place for us.

Philosophy: Participation

To set the tone and goals for our course:

For decades already, we have recognized that social sciences (or any academic discipline) are not purely “objective”. First, as for example Em Griffin so poignantly states in his overview book of communication theories, most theories can be positioned on a scale between a descriptive (what he labels “objective”) and an interpretative approach.

Secondly, any decision for topics, methods, or theories is a choice.  And, the results of even the most “scientific” experiments will need to be interpreted, connected with contexts.

Finally, it could be argued that much of social scientific and communication/media research, in a broad sense, has to do with social justice, democracy, common understanding, communities – good stuff.

Yet, as professionals and scholars we have learned to contextualise our research and position ourselves as “objective”, as by-standers.  We seldom dare to truly take a stand, really engage. Also, scholarly work, especially after undergraduate studies, is often individually-oriented. We might even secretly envy activists, politicians, journalists, and fiction writers for their ability to express their ideas with less reserve; and for their ability to affiliate themselves with different communities. Debates and communities academic surely exist, but their contexts  seem more implicit and muted in university settings.

Now it’s your chance to earn credits by being engaged, opinionated, interested and curious, even provocative, deliberative. Think of us as a learning community inspired by Socrates: We learn through honest, open, constructive (yet always mindful and compassionate) dialogue and debate.

Netiquette: Be Cool and Play Nice

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 8.06.57 AMOur task is two-fold: (1) To engage, individually, in high-quality academic work; and (2) to participate in creating an inspiring, thriving on-line learning community.

You will be asked to write a “conventional” academic assignment (more below in segment Practicalities). But your weekly task is to interact by blogging or in other online platforms  (commenting posts and other comments, doing other related assignments) here.

As blogging may be new to some of us, here’s the Netiquette for this blog:

  • Create entries that you yourself can subscribe to.
  • Use text, but when appropriate, feel free to do a video blog, post pictures and links…
  • Think of blogs that you find interesting, informative, and engaging. Use them as models for your writing, i.e., treat your blog entries as any other similar blogged communication.
  • Comment, state your opinions, share new information, link, network, challenge, agree, argue, justify. Be concise, short and sweet (and sometimes funny, possibly!).
  • Think about the purpose of the blog: to co-learn. Respond to the lecture question, based on your readings and the guest bloggers’ personal insights; add your own spin.
  • Finally: Keep the schedule.
  • YOUR PARTICIPATION WILL BE ASSESSED QUANTITATIVELY (how much), BUT QUALITY (interest, enthusiasm, and engagement in topics and others’ comments, new information, connections between theory and praxis, readings and current world affairs, and so on) IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT. As they say re: Vimeo comments: Be cool and play nice!