Teaching new courses is both exciting and challenging. The excitement lies in being free to define syllabus goals and choosing topics and relevant texts. The challenge is that there may not be a relevant text book to cover the topics.
Ever since we began Media Studies in KU, we have been designing courses, teaching them and refining them every new session. This has been a constant adventure and learning. Thanks to our regular internet service (so far), it has been easy to frame ideas immediately through researches and sharing among colleagues. In this sense most of us are technologically driven and can update in a timely way. Internet has made it easy to manage student assignments. Such management can have at least three dimensions. First, we can post the project questions in the blog or send through emails. This is what I have not done yet because I have managed to explain everything in the class. Moreover, I don’t like to create a distance between myself and the students. Second, we can ask the students to send their assignments by the email. It has been a good option now because printing is a relatively more tedious job. For me, it saves my table from being occupied by a large pile of papers. And I can assess the paper from home and make comments from there if I need to work overtime. Third, we can send reminders and comments, and even reading materials through the emails. I do it regularly so that none is out of touch. But power failures seem to make it a history in the days to come.
From outside, it looks as if the course under the faculty of Arts is traditional. Humanities and social sciences so far have more theoretical orientation and are controlled by teachers. Media Studies allows maximum freedom for student learning. Not that we have not experienced the defects of such freedom, but we have seen some enthusiasm accompanying it. This makes us our job a bit lighter sometimes, but risky on other occasions. Plagiarism is rampant and we have not been able to check it substantially. My immediate project will be to devise ways of controlling it.