The Media Production Project: Integrating Theory with Practice
This chapter details a case study of the University of Newcastle Bachelor of Communication program’s capstone course. This course takes all the prior learning as its jumping off point and is the final year course in the undergraduate program where little distinction is overtly manifest between theory and practice. We believe this course, and all the preceding work that leads to it, helps broaden ‘the range of identities available to students, from those of dutiful pupil or earnest citizen to more powerful and pleasurable identities of producer, director, and creator’ (Bragg quoted in Ashton, Productive passions and everyday pedagogies: Exploring the industry-ready agenda in higher education. Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education 9(1): 41–56. 2010, p. 52). This media production course is where, after all the preparatory work, the theoretical model shows its full potential in relation to practice. This project based course allows final year students to create an individually based or group project in any one of the media forms they have previously engaged with. They are encouraged to link media forms in an innovative way, although this is not mandatory. The choice is theirs. As such the course relies on the student developing an active form of agency allowing for substantial creative, collaborative and technical effort in realising the productions they engage in. They must, by necessity, engage fully with the structures of both the domain and the field pertinent to their project. This development of an idea and carrying it out to fruition within a simulated creative system provides the material they reflect on in a simplified exegetical way. The students have a strong understanding of creativity from a research point of view and are made capable of assessing the success or failure of their own practice in those terms. In this way, a deep learning engagement occurs for them. This learning experience is unique to each student, and they take this knowledge with them into their future creative productions or, in the case of some, to further study.
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