Our project activities in classrooms involved more than 200 students from 3 undergraduate and 2 postgraduate modules from different backgrounds, namely IT and foreign languages, intercultural communication, political science, business and management, linguistics.
As said, the transnational joint syllabus was developed in 2017-2018 in five universities: Rome, Leeds, Firenze, Aarhus and Messina.
All researchers travelled in the five universities and taught for one week their course contents and gave lectures, tutorials, seminars and one-to-one advice to students.
The course module includes a five week intensive study programme that can be adopted in any context for its flexibility, ease of delivery, and shared teaching, learning and assessment procedures.
In our experiment, only teachers travelled during the academic year and students had their classes at their home university. All students had the experience of participating in the same course in five different cities at the same time.
…In simple terms, the content
Our model was based on teaching digital communication by exploring why and not simply how we do things over the Internet.
We all think we know how to make a video call or how to start a blog… and if we don’t … we google it!
However, studies show that being technically able to do something does not equate with awareness – quite the opposite.
Using a metaphor, doing is like being able to tell what time it is, being aware is like being a clockmaker.
Many worrying phenomena, such as hate speech and fake news, show that everyone can contribute to social media, but that not everyone is fully aware of the consequences produced by their digital contents, such as posts, pictures, etc.
If you don’t know exactly how to handle digital communication, you can damage or have your reputation tarnished (and being fired), but if you increase your awareness in communication, you will positively boost your career, social life and active citizenship.
Multimodality teaches you how you produce and understand meanings by combining different components such as language, visuals, layout, non-verbal communication, music, etc.
It’s not about programming or web design, it’s about why communication is successful or unsuccessful.
Why should you care?
Because multimodality is eye-opening!
Understanding how communication works from the inside is life-changing, as there is no single event in life that goes without communication!
We have made the participants work on some types of digital texts on which our personal research has concentrated in the past years: Blogs, webpages, fanvids, mash up videos, promotional and corporate videos, video calls, video interviews and resume.
These were the tasks and contents of the workshops:
- How to write an effective “about us” webpage
- How to you appeal to an online community
- How to avoid cultural misunderstanding in video calls
- What kind of meanings does a font , a colour or a layout convey?
- How does video editing work in sound and frames for specific audiences?
We primarily use the method of blended learning: on one side face-to-face (lectures, workshops, and interactional class activities), on the other side through EU-MADE4LL e-platform (surveys, evaluations, assignment submission and peer assessment).
In the assignment we put together production and reflection. We didn’t want our students to comment on ready-made texts or, conversely, to make a blog or a fanvid without showing us the process of learning. We combined both in our assignment.
Students had to design and create one digital text and then analyse it.
After submission, we all had to mark our students’ productions, and students were paired to do the same on a common set of criteria.