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IBCoMagazine Lecturers’ Column: From innovation to necessity

IBCoMagazine Lecturers’ Column: From innovation to necessity

Today’s featured lecturer is Dr. Mijke Slot. Mijke is an assistant professor of Media and Communication with expertise in user engagement, innovation in journalism, and serious games. She also teaches the IBCoM Honours Programme, which runs during BA-2. Enjoy!

Every year in term four, I teach Communication Technologies and their Impacts, a mandatory course for all first-year IBCoM students. A course about the way various communication technologies were developed and impacted our society – the printing press, film, social media, robots… Maybe second or third years still remember the unplugged experiment: 24 hours without the internet – my favorite assignment of all times.

This year, I can’t do the lectures, because I am expecting a baby at the end of April. No worries, I thought, I can still teach if I reformat this course into blended learning. All lectures will be transformed into online learning resources, which the students can prepare at home before coming to the tutorial. A great solution for the program, and of course also an interesting innovative experiment; this has never been done before in our department!

Well, easier said than done… at first, I was planning to just record my lectures and reuse my slides. That would save me a lot of work, but… let’s be honest, nobody is going to watch a 1,5-hour video of a lecture, right? At that point, I decided to divide all my weekly topics into coherent learning resources and started to write scripts for shorter explanatory videos, introduction videos, animations, and a podcast. I restructured my visuals and adapted them to the new format. Some of my course’s lecturers and my two fantastic student assistants created weekly intermezzos to explain a concept, theory or development in their own words. People from RISBO made animations, designers at the studio created the backdrop for the introductory videos, and even helped me make a special effects video. In the end, more than 40 videos were made. The project got financial support from the Community for Learning and Innovation, and more than 10 people cooperated.

On Thursday 12 March, by that time 7,5 months pregnant, I recorded my final video in one of the DIY booths of the studio in the Polak building. It was the concluding video of week 8, in which I addressed artificial intelligence and its impact. What a journey! I was rather tired, but also proud of this innovative project, and all the teamwork that made it happen.

The next day… Erasmus University decided to close its doors due to the measures taken by the government to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This has forced all people working and studying at Erasmus University to explore the possibilities of online teaching. All of a sudden, my project was not that innovative anymore… blended learning and online initiatives have become a necessity instead of an experiment.

All kidding aside, it’s great to see how the IBCoMmunity is showing flexibility and creativity. I am sure that many students are worried – about their families, their own wellbeing, how to finish their courses, and their study progress. They keep up their spirits though and are working closely together to make this work. My colleagues – both lecturers and support staff are going out of their way to keep their families safe and their students on track. These are confusing and complicated times. So far, we are managing.

Hopefully, in term 4, we can again see each other in real life and restart our campus education (ok, I will be there virtually, IRL I will probably be changing diapers). I am sure that with all your experience then with online teaching, you will be prepared for my blended course. In the meantime – stay healthy and take very good care of yourself!

Author: Dr. Mijke Slot
Editor: Kat Nivera

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