Teaching Technology: Audio
Another unfortunate gap between blogging. Let’s just say that March did not go out like a lamb, with numerous personal and professional traumas, hiccups & hurdles causing stress and eating away time.
I’ve been meaning to post some reflections on my Media Technology & Cultural Change course for awhile, as my students this semester have been doing some excellent & innovative work. So here’s the first in a series of posts discussing & presenting student projects. The basic hook of the course is that we treat new media both as an object of study and means of expression – every assignment is a “meta-media object” that uses a form beyond the printed essay to offer critical arguments about media.
In the past the results have been hit-or-miss, with many students having trouble thinking outside the margins of the paper they’ve been trained to compose for years. Last year’s projects were a giant step forward, in large part due to my collaborative teaching with Joe Antonioli to provide technological training, guidance, and mentorship. This year, the projects have been consistently even stronger, as students seem much more organically comfortable with new media environments – or perhaps the class roster was just more consistently geek-heavy (with geek being used as affectionately and self-inclusively as possible). Plus the choice to require collaboration on projects has really helped, both in teaching collaborative skills and raising the quality of the work.
The first assignment was to create an audio “podcast” (although not technically an RSS-fed series, but a stand-alone mp3) that offers some critical analysis of digital audio. The results were quite creative and interesting, spanning a wide array of tones – some people did more essayistic analysis, others used more experimental and parodic strategies to explore the dynamics of audio. Some of the best examples for your listening pleasure follow beneath the fold.
Thompson & Melissa are both musically-minded audio folks, so their piece explores the concept of “fidelity” as it relates to music. As per the assignment, they deliver something that simply could not be done effectively on paper, and offer a tone appropriate for the audio medium:
Keeping with the musical theme, Brian and Jessie explore the lyrical genius that is Soulja Boy and highlight how musical tone interacts with lyrical content:
Derek & Kyle created a parodic game show to play with the origins of sounds and how sound can evoke realism in misleading ways – be sure to keep listening, as the project “pays off” toward the end:
Finally, Laria & Ross play with technologies of sound creation to reflect on how we respond to sound emotionally, using a nice combination of juxtaposition and explicit narration:
I’d certainly appreciate any comments on this assignment, the students’ work, or the class as a whole. I’ll be writing a follow-up post soon with links to some excellent remix videos for the next assignment.
Filed under: Academia, Middlebury, New Media, Teaching | 2 Comments
Tags: audio, podcast