Quite a while back now I used to participate in an informal gathering at my University called ‘Creative Industries Book Club‘. It was at a time when I was seconded elsewhere and wasn’t really part of the academic set up so it came as light relief to be discussing ideas rather than business cases.
The club got subsumed into a more general research afternoon but I use the idea of a book club as part of my teaching on the MA Social Media I lead. This blog post isn’t to theorise the pedagogy of the book club but just to note that it seems to work and usefully indicates to students that discussing texts doesn’t have to just happen in the classroom.
Here’s the blurb given to students on their first week with us:
As part of your reading for this course you are being asked to read all of David Gauntlett’s book called ‘Making is Connecting’ (available from Amazon and in most bookshops).
You will need to read it by 9th November 2011 as this is the date on which you are being asked to organise a book club to discuss the book. This entails meeting in a public place such as a coffee shop and discussing the book amongst yourselves and with any interested members of the public who may wish to participate.
- Choose a venue/time on 9th November that enables others interested in the article to attend (perhaps a lunchtime or late afternoon. There will be no class this week)
- Create a blog post to advertise the event and identify some initial key questions.
- This is your event for which you are responsible.
And with that the students are on their own (I don’t even attend the event itself). The results this year were particularly pleasing and below are some links to resources created as a result of the event. I may need to think through how I get my distance learners to participate in the event itself but for this year they created excellent short videos to be shown on the day. Many thanks to David Gauntlett, author of our chosen book, for his engagement throughout the build-up to the event.
Claire’s video response to the book file
Jeff’s video response to the book file
Isaac’s blog post about the book
Dorota’s blog post on the book club
Dorota’s pictures from the book club