Social Media Book Club

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 video

Blog posts:
Isaac’s blog post about the book
Dorota’s blog post on the book club

Dorota’s pictures from the book club

Teaching Social Media

As you may know I lead a Masters Degree in Social Media. Often, some wag will say ‘is that just about learning how to use twitter then?’. I get less of it now than I used to but it’s a tad tiresome nonetheless. So, I thought I’d post up some content to give a glimpse of the kind of thing we do cover.

We have a distance learning version of the course running for the first time this year, the content for which comes through the university’s virtual learning environment (we use Moodle) but also via a podcast channel. So the video below is also an example of the kind of content that distance learners will get. Sometimes it’ll be bite-sized and recorded from Dave’s lounge; other times it’ll be a longer recording of a lecture given in class.

The video I’m sharing is about a couple of tricky readings I had given the students. One was from Joss Hands, the other, Chris Atton. To support the students I created this short video of me going through a mindmap of the readings. In class we’d had talks from Nick Booth and Noha Atef so at times it tries to relate the concepts in the readings to their talks.

But the main reason to share this is to make it clear that we don’t talk about how to use twitter, we talk about marxism, about cultural studies, about becoming ‘scholarly practitioners‘:

As an aside I got a nice tweet back from one the authors, Joss Hands, when I shared the video with him.