Multimedia in the classroom

I don’t want to learn about multimedia.

Not, at least, in my photography classes. Can we please save the multimedia for multimedia classes (I am aware that our pj dept doesn’t have any, but other departments do)? I understand that it is the future of our business and everyone is churning them out as fast as possible to catch up to the curve so I had better too.

The thing is, technology and the way we present our work is always going to change. In the last few years alone it has gone from photo pages to online slideshows to SoundSlides to SWF n’ Slide to iMovie and Final Cut. Through all of this, learning how to tell good stories has stayed the same. Teach me how to break a photo down in to its elements. Teach me how various compositions affect a photograph. Teach me how photographs play off one another when placed in sequence.

Early in my photographic education I was told not to bring in pictures of kids or silhouettes unless they were the best kids and silhouettes my teacher had ever seen. Why? Because they were overdone. Please don’t show me another SoundSlides just for the sake of showing multimedia.

Teach me how to tell a story.

A small addendum to this post. I am an ardent supporter of learning SoundSlides during class (since we don’t have a class for it), as long as it only takes one class. I also think it is great to watch noteworthy examples of documentaries, photo stories, multimedia presentations and anything else that could inspire or teach us. Of course, these presentations should be followed by a lengthy discussion on what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

I am not a supporter of showing multimedia presentation after multimedia presentation simply because it is the new hot thing to do and without any real analyzation in the end. Again, I am no expert at undertaking a documentary project. That is why I am paying to be in the class.

14 thoughts on “Multimedia in the classroom

  1. Keeping in mind that you two might be well ahead of your peers on this, and there are no other classes in the department teaching anyone how to use SoundSlides (not that it’s rocket science), I get your point.

  2. Lawrence, I don’t think my shooting photos or not is the issue. I want to be learning theory, not just looking at work (unless that work is great, teaches me something about the process, changes the way I see things, etc).

    Ryan, true there are no other classes in our department, and changing our curriculum is still a work in progress. Until that time, I am more than willing to learn on my own or take classes in the RTVF department.

    There is always, and other online resources.

  3. I think Ryan has a point… This is your 2nd time taking the class as well. and you two are more computer literate than most. I hope Cheers is not spending too much time on using Soundslide. I would just go tell him what you think of it, I think he would of been more then happy to hear it. Stop being so quite in class, or so Japanese, your are a 4th gen, there should be no washabi in ya no more…. Hahahhaa..

    I didn’t learn much from my time in 145 either, but the only thing that I picked up…. Soundslides did help in getting my internship with AJC. They asked for it!!! and from reading about the restructuring of AJC yesterday…..aside from the unwellcoming news of voluntary buyoffs, they are restructuring the on-line dept. to be equal to the print dept.

    Yeap, I agree with you… content is everything. So come up with a story then! It’s just sad that a lot of you in SJSU could not find anything interesting to tell. It’s a big world, and almost none of you (except Dilroy) can find something worthwhile to care about and tells it. I think you know the theory already, they are no different than any story telling/poetries methodsa from the dawn of time…

    I am sitting-in at one of the reporting classes in UCB this semester on China and the Environments, and believe me. they dig for their stories… and they love the topics that they are covering…..Go find yours.

  4. Lawrence,

    I have to disagree with some of the things your are saying. This is not at all about me tap dancing around not wanting to do a story. I DO want to do a story, and I want to do it right. You seem to miss the point of a classroom. It is to learn. Even if everyone in class already had a story to do (which we do, we already turned our proposals in), what do you suggest we should be doing during class time?

    As for learning SoundSlides and its value in getting a job, I agree, it is important. But, learning SoundSlides is NOT the purpose of the Documentary Photography class. I can do that either on my own time, or in a flash/multimedia class.

    Maybe you think I am just whining about my education. From my point of view, this is something that I am paying for.

  5. Daniel said: “As for learning SoundSlides and its value in getting a job, I agree, it is important. But, learning SoundSlides is NOT the purpose of the Documentary Photography class. I can do that either on my own time, or in a flash/multimedia class.”

    And that’s the point I get — page designers learn how to design pages in a page design class, and reporters learn how to write in a writing class, and photographers learn how to tell a doc story in a doc photo class.

    But where do you learn technical stuff? Is there a separate lighting class? There’s not really a separate online editing class for reporting majors.

    Again, and as always, we can either learn this stuff in a completely separate track, or we can learn this stuff — convergence-style, to some extent — mixed into existing classes.

    The second version requires fewer resources and no great curriculum cataclysm, so I think that’s what the department is likely to do, if they do anything at all.

  6. Ryan,

    I see your point. I was wrong before, I don’t mind learning SoundSlides in Doc Class. I think it is useful and would only really take one or two class sessions. Learning SoundSlides was not my real gripe, it was watching SoundSlides and other multimedia presentations constantly throughout the semester instead of either learning it, learning to gather audio, learning to tell stories, etc.

    But where do you learn technical stuff? Is there a separate lighting class? There’s not really a separate online editing class for reporting majors.

    I think that, until we change the curriculum for a changing field, we DO learn much of the more technical skills either on our own or in classes outside of the journalism department. There is a lighting class withing the photography department. Shaminder, Diana, Daniel Esch and Yvonne have taken it. Of course there is a new media class in our department. And there is a Flash/Dreamweaver/Multimedia class in the RTVF department.

  7. Daniel, I do agree with you that…with Cheers and Thomas’ class on Ad. PJ and Photo Editing. There is a lot of wasted class time that could of been used to cover issues like editing ethics, of issues that the student should be focus there stories on, and how to resolve these problems. That’s one of the reason why I do not feel like taking classes there no more.

    I mean, there are weeks where I drive half hour to class, then found that he let everyone go after 10 minutes. I wish I said something about it, …and I think that there is the students faults there too, such as when we do not turn in assignments, and thurs there is nothing for the professor to really talk/disscuss about.

  8. Having never sat in one of your classes, I can’t judge what’s going on. But you should learn soundslides in photoj class, if for no other reason than most of your photography is going to be presented in some kind of slideshow format – especially documentary photography nowadays (think about 1 photo in print vs. how many on the web?).

    But learning soundslides doesn’t really take THAT long. a couple of classes. Discussing the pros and cons of different times, what works and what doesn’t. There’s a million ways to make it worthwhile. And perhaps your professor is still grappling with all this new stuff as well.

  9. I’ve heard the “get out and do it” mentality before — but what if you need to master basic photographic techniques? What are your thoughts on correspondence courses as an adjunct to “regular courses?” By corrsepondence courses I mean:

    Thanks for any feedback…

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