Echo 360 Awardees
Course: COM 249: Mass Media & Culture
Start Date: 9/1/2013
End Date: 8/31/2014
COM 249 provides an examination of the interplay between the technology and content of the mass communication media and culture. The course audience is primarily first and second year pre-Communication students and serves many students from other Colleges as an elective. Mr. Lowe's courses enrolls approximately 250 students over the course of the year; each term there is one 'smaller' section that serves as the experimental 'flipped' classroom. Currently, Mr. Lowe is developing content for online delivery, including: 1) voice-over powerpoint lectures, 2) printable powerpoint slides and high-quality HD lecture videos, 3) online quizzes, worksheets and learning assessments. This online content in "flipped" form allows students to gain first exposure and to assess their learning prior to classroom learning; in turn, Mr. Lowe will use these formative assessments to tailor classroom instruction and enhance the in-class instructional experience. Following the vision by Lage, Platt, and Treglia (2000) and Mazur (2009), Mr. Lowe will experiment with student discussion of conceptual "clicker" questions and media problems focused on communication principles. In other contexts, students may spend time in class engaged in debates or synthesis activities. The goal of the flipped classroom is to allow students to use class time to deepen their understanding and increase their skills while gaining new insights into these media phenomena. The COM 249 course is an ideal, innovative course to experiment with the flipped classroom because of its regular integration of online media exemplars, problems, and historical artifacts that are available on the Web. For example, students outside the classroom can be given historical context reading assignments, self-guided quizzes, and a short video lecture and the assignment to view a classic documentary such as "The Battle over Citizen Kane." Online modules provide a mechanism to assess student understanding while classroom lectures "go digital" (Fitzpatrick, 20 12) and leverage the potential of a multimodal education environment. Then, when students can concentrate class time on discussion, student-centered projects and presentation, and other engaged, active learning opportunities with Mr. Lowe. This allows for in-class activities to focus on higher level cognitive assignments, to deepen their understanding and effectively use classroom time. Finally, Mr. Lowe is a seasoned faculty member in the Senior Lecturer title, and he has won teaching awards for his instructional excellence. As a former media producer and news director, he has developed and produced a media course for online consumption.