I have often told my students who aspire to be on-air talent that no matter how good they are, even if they should obtain Oprah popularity, not every single person will like them. This advice must always be taken to heart, as 1% of criticism can easily outweigh 99% of kudos. The same can be said when it comes to student feedback towards their professors.
During my 14 years of teaching at the college and university level, the only real negative criticism I’ve received is that some of the students feel I talk too much in class. If you know me…no big shock there! In fact, I even tell my students the first day of class that I love to talk, and continue to acknowledge this continuously throughout the semester. An overwhelming majority of my students love my classes and feel they have learned a great deal, which is obviously the main objective.
This past semester, I taught Multimedia Production I (RTV 3260) for the first time. The course may have been new to me, but not the material I covered. One of the major tasks of the class was to have the students create a blog and post to it on a weekly basis. The purpose of the blog was for them to give their detailed experiences in the class, including successes and difficulties. This allowed the students to have a weekly audience with me, without having to meet in my office. I tried my best to address their concerns, as well as adjust the course based on their suggestions.
For their final posting, I asked the students to reflect on their time in the class, and to give me an honest feedback of the course. Every single response was very positive, with some students expressing some disappointment with the university as a whole, as well as the curriculum. I have posted below the response of one student in particular. She was exceptionally thorough in her analysis, but most importantly…she got it. I appreciate the fact that she had no negatives, but rather suggestions. By the way, it comes as no surprise that she was the top student in the class.
When I first signed up for this class, I did so with great hesitation. I was genuinely afraid of editing video, and the professor originally assigned to the course had horrific reviews online and through word-of-mouth. Fast forward to these last days, and the feeling is a complete 180. I’m not afraid of diving into the world of digital video editing and Jay, I’m thankful that you’re the type of professor who thinks outside the box. I know you want to hear a candid review of what we thought of the class and any suggestions we may have, so I’m making this comprehensive. Here it goes:
Projects that are actually interesting and relevant for beginning multimedia students (I saw that you were practically the only teacher requesting a Chroma Key project, and that was AWESOME!! So cool to have learned how to do special effects, what a great idea.)
In-class exercises that serve as “training wheels” for larger projects. Great way to help us learn new concepts without the pressure and fear of getting a bad grade for something we’re just beginning to understand.
Good lectures on what to look for and observe when producing our projects.
Letting students use more advanced editing software instead of being confined to using Final Cut Express (Although I couldn’t edit in class because the computers didn’t have Premiere… This gave me the exposure and motivation I needed to learn a software that many internships are requiring nowadays.)
Letting students correct mistakes on their projects for a better grade. I haven’t needed it, but I think this is a great learning tool, since it motivates people to look more carefully at their projects’ weaknesses while giving them the extra practice necessary to learn how to finally do it right, which is the whole point of taking a class. This is more effective than being “punished” with a medieval grading system.
Allowing us to use class time to work on our projects outside of class when it makes sense to do so.
Assign pairs or small groups from the beginning through a random process so everyone has immediate access to free talent. I know we can simply ask one another.. but there’s always cliques and groups forming and eventually people get left out.
Give a couple more lectures that point out how to see things from a professional perspective. For example, the Making Democracy Count video critique was GREAT. I think we should have done another one. Maybe go over what you would have done in the Luxury Living Showcase video? Point out things that look “amateurish” (that we students may not notice, but that professionals do) when it comes to filming, announcing, and/or presenting on camera. Bring examples of awful work and explain why it’s awful, contrast it with examples of great work and explain what you like about it.
Arrange for hands-on demonstrations during the first half of the semester. During this time, other classes won’t be crowding the equipment room and there will be plenty available. Have everyone set up their equipment and go out on campus to film a very short segment. It could be filming static things in different angles or finding at least one person to interview for a few seconds (about their major or whatever topic) in order to understand how to use the camera and different mic types properly (getting the audio right is tough). For someone who never filmed anything in life, these short field exercises would be super helpful and would reduce the major anxiety that comes with the two final projects. I know I had to delete a bunch of footage and waste a lot of time because I did things wrong when filming for the first time.
Ask that Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 be installed in all the iMacs. They have Photoshop and InDesign, so why not add one more Adobe software? =) By the way, thanks for not torturing us with InDesign. I know some people wanted to cover it, but that is the main software used in PUR4101, so what’s the point in repeating? This is Multimedia, not Print Design.
That’s it for suggestions! On a personal note: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for teaching such a cool class with the openness and creativity that it requires, for being friendly and treating us like human beings, and for putting together a list of interesting assignments. I look forward to Multimedia II! Will you be teaching it in the summer?