Sustainable Television: Episode 2

06Jun11

This past spring semester, I taught a course called Sustainable Television: Producing Environmental Media – I’d taught a version of the course back in January 2010 during Middlebury’s intensive Winter Term, and this year I ran it as a full semester course. The concept was the same: spend the term producing a magazine-style television program focused on environmental issues, produced collaboratively by students.

As you might expect, the results were quite dependent on the ideas, talents, and passions of the specific group of students, leading to a very different but equally impressive collection of videos. We’ve posted them all individually on a Middlebury site, scheduled it on our local public access cable channel, or you can watch the full 50-minute episode below (expand to fullscreen to avoid the postage stamp effect):

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/23964118]

While all of the pieces are strong, I wanted to highlight one that was most personally relevant to me – a child-centered piece on the science of climate change, as explained by a group of local kids (including my daughter Greta):

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/23654746]

As for the teaching experience itself, it was a great semester for me, inspiring me to teach more production courses when I return from sabbatical in Fall 2012. There’s something more immediate and engaging to see students actively making things, learning in practice, and solving problems collaboratively, than the reading/screening/essay courses that I typically teach. One of the great freedoms of both my discipline and department is that I have the flexibility to teach across the spectrum of critical studies and creative production approaches, as well as merging the two in one course.

So even as I put the teaching part of my brain on ice for the next year, it’s nice to end on a high note to return to post-sabbatical–as well as being able to post the impressive entire output of a class in a single blog post!



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