New media introduction

This semester, I am a co-organizer of a New Media Faculty-Staff Seminar. The response to our invitation was surprisingly high — on a campus with only about 100 full-time (tenured and tenure-track) faculty plus an unknown-to-me number of staff, we had over 40 respondents in short order. I was glad to have co-organizers, as trimming the list to 12 stipend-funded positions was no easy task. But, I suspect that a lot of the interest came from the name itself: New Media seems to be gaining ground as a buzzword. And like many buzzwords, it’s not entirely clear what is meant by the term. I suspect many of those expressing interest thought that it meant such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and so on) and didn’t think of much beyond that. From an introduction of our text, the New Media Reader, by Janet Murray, the definition we will be working with is much broader: new media is digital in all it’s forms, while old media are our papers: books, newspapers, and others.

I tend to embrace technology in teaching, at least where there’s a promise to make things better using it. I do often use PowerPoint — the program has been in use since my graduate school days, though I am old enough that I have 35mm slides that were printed from PowerPoint files. I actually used a digital projector for my dissertation defense seminar, and was one of the, if not the first, in the two departments I straddled to do so. The promise of going digital — being able to correct mistakes that are caught after finishing the slides but during practice, are offset by the ability to procrastinate until even later in the process. (One benefit of posters at scientific meetings, is that at this point, the poster still needs to be done before one gets on the plane, while slides can be edited until the moment the presentation starts.) I’ve been using clickers (student response systems), for most of my tenure-track years; there the promise is to engage students even in a large class. (And I’ve had the privilege of participating in an NSF funded study to examine, in part, their use.) My lectures are recorded (audio plus screen capture) to encourage students to participate in class, and not just copy every word off every slide. I embrace the campus LMS, whatever it is, and have written HTML to produce my own course pages when there wasn’t any other way. I’ve had an iPad to use while teaching, I’ve been able to get a set of iPads to loan out a course at a time… Over the course of the semester I hope to be able to share more about these experiences with others here and in person, and to learn more, as well — I’ve used blogs in one of the iPad-enabled courses, and am not sure I want to do it again without getting some more coaching before doing so.

So, new media to me is all of this and more. One of my courses uses an interactive etextbook — there’s nothing like it in any other discipline that I’ve seen. There’s print, but there are also imbedded questions and interactive models. It reminds me a bit of a Calculus course I took as an undergrad that utilized Mathematica, except that this has more other content besides the models and experimentation.

So, how would you define new media?

Tomorrow is my UIUC day trip. I’ll probably write something post-trip, and then come back to this week’s reading.


4 Responses to “New media introduction”

  1. violet Says:

    New media is a subject to teach about online media, interactive media, virtual media .

  2. Rob Domaschuk (@BUTechTrainer) Says:

    “New media” is a philosophy… an imprecise tag we often use to describe our approach to content delivery. It’s akin to describing “art” – I may not be able to but I know it when I see it.

  3. violet Says:

    The way of delivering content is always seeing improvement from ancient days. The technology we adopt and use may differ depending upon the new invention, but the content remains same. Always technology will strengthen the content delivery. Utilizing the technology is also art.

  4. KimiNoGomi Says:

    I would define new media relative not to the present day but to the period during which a given medium is emerging and not yet fully shaped by convention or commerce. In modernity, the printed book and the published journal are new media. In late modernity, film, TV, and comics are new media. Now electronic media are added to the list. To study new media is to study these processes and causes of development.

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