I always have a weird feeling at the end of a semester, an awkwardness in saying goodbye to students that I’ve spent so much time with over the past 15 weeks. Perhaps it is because I spend so many hours inside their heads reading their blog entries and post-production reflection essays. Or perhaps it is just because I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not in the full throws of teaching.
One of the things I’ve done in the past to ease the parting of the last day has been to make a video or digital good bye of some sort. The intense focus during hours of digital composition, often writing and revising, and definitely sifting through multimodal resources, has functioned as a way to process through the experience, coalesce it into something tangible in order to peacefully let it go. This year I tried something different. Along the same lines of my past digital goodbyes, I wanted to make a video. But this time, I wanted to more deliberately include my students in on the process.
“Because I Eat, Sleep, and Write” (5:29)
The video above is the collaborative work of Currins 547: Curricular Applications of the Internet. In this course, the students take on the role of online writing tutors for a variety of high school students in the Milwaukee metro area. Since the students never actually meet their tutees face to face, we decided to make a video so that the tutees could match the names of their tutors with the faces of the college students who had been responding to their writing throughout the semester. To give the video some structure beyond a simple photo slideshow, we decided to each write a 6-word memoir about writing and/or life in general. We then mashed them altogether into this five minute video. Upon completion we sent the video to the classes who participated in the writing exchange as a digital thank you.
Working with my students over the last few weeks of class to make this video highlighted the importance of providing opportunities to make media for real audiences. I hope to do more collaborative media production like this in the future.