One of the benefits of teaching media today is that we as instructors are constantly being presented with new opportunities to engage with “new” media and digital technology. Social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube have often made sharing media artifacts with students infinitely easier. The difference between these newer sites, and the use of email for communication between faculty and students, is that emerging social media forms allow us to more easily engage in conversations about media artifacts in one place. However, while the conversations found on most social media platforms often can be interesting and instructive, they typically don’t provide students with a more scholarly level of engagement with media objects. This is where In Media Res can come in quite handy for instructional purposes.
When my students are interested in a particular media event, object, or subject, but have no idea how to approach it, In Media Res provides me with an easy entry point, providing an array of academic appetizers of sorts. Theme weeks frequently serve as in-class conversation starters for students, especially when the theme being addressed is on a topic so current that there isn’t yet very much else in the way of scholarly publishing. Upon viewing the IMR site, students are also able to see how scholars work through issues in dialogue with each other; such modeling of behavior can be helpful as they develop their own voices and interact both in class and online.
This week’s theme, In Media Res in the Classroom, is intended to display and discuss the varied ways that instructors have incorporated IMR into their teaching. Each day features a different example of how In Media Res has been used, as well as a discussion of the outcomes of these uses. It is our hope that the discussion provided by this week’s curators will not start and end here, but rather allow all of us the opportunity to communicate other ways we have used the site as well as find new means of collaborating to further not only our research but also our teaching goals.
If you have experience using In Media Res in your classroom, have an idea that you’ve been wanting to try out, or suggestions of other ways IMR might be customized for classroom use in the future, we hope you will share it in this week’s comments section.