this fall, i'm teaching two sections (about eighty students in all) of intro to media studies. for the first three weeks of class, i mostly gave lectures (about newspapers and magazines and the magic of wikipedia) and led discussions (about thinking and literacy and whether google is making us stupid). on week four, students wrote and turned in paper one - a mixed bag ranging from this-is-awesome to you-can-do-better. last week, professors susana kaiser and michael robertson gave excellent guest lectures.
this week, week six, all minds were focused on our group show and tell in gleeson library.
first, the assignment:
Assignment: Create an exhibit in Gleeson Library that encourages and educates people to vote in the upcoming US election.
o You must work in groups. Groups can be as small as 3 and as large as 8.
o Your exhibit should be interesting to your audience and make them smarter.
o Your exhibit must be supported by evidence from at least 3 legitimate sources, 2 of which must be print resources from the library. If you are not sure what I mean by legitimate, ask. If you would like ideas about what kinds of resources the library offers, ask a reference librarian at Gleeson.
o Select a spokesperson/s to present your exhibit to the rest of class.
o In addition to your exhibit, each group is required to turn in a brief essay addressing the following: a) Explain your topic and its importance; b) Explain why you designed your exhibit the way you did; and c) Explain why you used the sources you did. The essay can be between 1-2 single-spaced pages.
o Meet as a group early and often.
o Meet with librarians early and often.
o Distribute the workload so that all group members are contributing.
Your exhibit is due in the library at the beginning of class on Thursday, October 9.
while my students were working hard on their projects, USF librarians were working hard preparing and enhancing gleeson library's first-floor reading room and exhibit space. debbie benrubi collected and displayed voter registration materials (last day to register to vote in the state of california: october 20). carol spector culled and displayed a few dozen excellent books about obama, mccain, and other relevant topics. and joe garity, who also serves as the library liaison for media studies, helped pave the way to make a library reading room into a student gallery space.
the students' work ranged from very good to outstanding. they designed posters and voting boxes and interactive maps and info graphics and animal kennels and a huge three by two feet issue of time magazine. they used paper and pens and paint and tape and glue and yarn and cardboard and photographs. at least two of the projects were made entirely from recycled materials.
their show and tells addressed the many topics that make this election so important and so dizzying - the economy, human rights, war, immigration, the environment, abortion, animal rights, same sex marriage. some projects juxtaposed the views and voting records of obama and mccain and of palin and biden. and two projects explored who the world thinks our next president should be.
by the time the afternoon class was over, there were nearly twenty student exhibits on the walls, upon the bookshelves, and in the windows of the reading room of gleeson. as the students filed out of the reading room, i stayed behind to appreciate their collective creativity and to learn a bit more about the issues. about ten minutes later, a student returned to the reading room with a friend in tow. a few minutes later, another student returned, also with a friend. as the students guided their friends through the exhibit, i tip-toed out of the room and thought to myself students teaching students.
election exhibit - students teaching students can be viewed in the first-floor reading room in gleeson library. it runs through the election.