by Jess Chambers, Elon iMedia Class of 2014
When you are entering into a 10-month graduate school program, you know it is going to be intense. You prepare yourself for the late nights and say goodbye to your weekends. And then you sit down… to read.
After three weeks of creative workshops, the transition into fall semester classes is a little jarring. While we are still spending some time coding and designing, it pales in comparison to the amount of reading and analyzing we are completing. The majority of this reading comes from our COM530 class on “Theory and Audience Analysis” which meets daily for the first half of the semester. Every week we analyze one book and have scheduled guess speakers to help us build a strong foundation on the concepts behind current interactive media and how to use that knowledge in our future professions.
“Although the work load for our theory class is a bit overwhelming, all the reading we’ve done so far is very applicable to what we’ll do doing the rest of the year and hopefully through out our careers,” explains Brenna Mickey. “Most of the readings are very recent books on networking theories or people’s tendencies as users online which are all very interesting and sometimes things I witness everyday.”
So what is the 2014 iMedia class reading?
Perhaps the book my classmates have enjoyed the most is ‘“Reality is Broken” by Jane McGonigal. In her books, she explores how gamification can be used to ‘save the world.’ Even if you do not consider yourself to gamer, do not let that turn you off from exploring some of the ideas she shares on how to better engage users and potential ways to solve social problems.
“My favorite book that we have read so far is Reality is Broken because it relates what we are studying and gaming with real world situations. But mostly it was an interesting read with thought provoking theories that have, in some instances, changed my way of thinking.” – Sasha Campbell
If you are reading this blog, it is safe to say you are very aware of how much you rely on technology to keep connected. Lee Raine and Barry Wellman are the authors of “Networked: The New Social Operating System.” Their book explores how the Internet, social networking, and mobile technology impact our lives. Raine and Wellman are experts in this field and the research used demonstrates just how much our society has changed in this technological age. Raine will be visiting the iMedia program next week to further discuss his book.
Most recently we began “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” by Clay Shirky. The Internet has provided a way for people to connect all over the world and do everything from social activism to starting revolutions. For good and bad, we now have the power to organize ourselves and see results from those actions. If you have a chance, take a look at one of Clay Shirky’s TED Talk’s that I’ve posted below. Though it is from 2005, many of the ideas are still relevant and are expanded upon in his book.
It is a lot to cover in just six weeks but I think iMedia14 is up for the challenge. We know that we are not just learning theoretical practices—we are gaining insight from some of the most influential people in the industry and knowledge on how to apply it to any situation. And, in 10 short months, we will run full speed into the real world with everything we need to succeed in any field we might explore.
But for now, I’ll start another pot of coffee and get ready for another late night with my classmates.
Need more iMedia book recommendations? Check out these other titles we will be studying in the coming weeks : “You are not a gadget: A manifesto,” “Remix: Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy,” and “To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.”