Teaching Media in a Digital Era

Curator's Note

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.


I'm looking forward to this week's contributions (well, I've read mine. :) ). I think the short form of In Media Res demonstrates an important point to students--that meaningful dialogue can occur without a lengthy paper. This makes the process more accessible and less intimidating. Under this framework, it makes writing seemingly easier, but in fact offers students a challenge in considering each of their words carefully. In the age of Twitter, IMR is a valuable alternative.

Thank you for a great opening to the week! I agree that the focus on scholarly/critical discussion in In Media Res sets it apart from many other new and emerging social media platforms, and I’m also interested in the ways in which various platforms can be used together (which I talk about… tomorrow!). I also appreciate the short length of In Media Res statements – short statements are positioned as one voice in conversation, and other voices are then invited to join in. What a great idea to use In Media Res as an “in-class conversation starter.” Conversations happen in many ways in In Media Res, some documented on the site and others happening in the classroom! Looking forward to the week!

I am excited to read all of the contributions this week as well. In addition to the value of short forms and discussion, I appreciate IMR's diversity in those voices and in the subjects of inquiry. Taylor Swift alongside Documentary and Affect alongside Women's Health...It is great for students to see thoughtful and provocative discussion of texts with which they are familiar and to know that they could contribute.

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