Today was quite an interesting day: first day back at university for 2015, first day of my third 3rd year media subject, and a revisit of a subject I walked into on my first day of university back in 2012.
The parallels were stark when I sat in on a BCM112 (Convergent Media Practices) lecture. The first years, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, were highly informed about pop culture, gadgetry and news, more-so than many of my cohort when I first started my Media & Communications degree at Wollongong University, although similarly quite a few of the 2015 students were still not on Twitter. They also had much more gadgetry at their disposal; Ted, Chris and Travis (lecturer and tutors) were giddy with excitement, ready to show the students their newly acquired mini-drone, occulus rifts, and 3D printers, amongst other highly coveted tech, none of which had been available, even commercially, in 2012 at Wollongong.
It wasn’t just embarrassment and a feeling of keen deprivation that I experienced in that lecture though. I also felt like a wise old woman sitting at the back of the pub (figuratively speaking… I was sitting in on the #bcm112 hashtag though) shouting advise to the young’uns, and a veteran who had been through what was yet to come. The biggest thing that I became aware of as the lecture developed was the misconceptions of the students about the importance of the assignments that were about to be upon them.
Convergent Media Practices was one of the most important subjects in the formation of my understanding of the mediascape nationally and internationally today; of the importance of new media in the context of old media, of the transformation of passive media consumers to active media producers (see: YOUTUBE). It was also a time when the struggle of the lecturer, Ted, to properly impress on us the importance of creating new media skills and taking our practical media assessments seriously (and also having fun with them), was REAL. I doubt anyone in that entire subject, but for one or two savvy media prodigies, understood the significance of his words. It was not until a year later that I understood that our WordPress blog wasn’t just an assignment, but an embodiment of our online presence, which might one day help us get a job or gain us further valuable industry experience in the big leagues.
Not only is this experience important, but when you really understand the ‘reward-unlocked’ feeling that comes with having a blog post or video viewed more than once (probably by your dad) or having a tweet gain a positive response and see it bounce around the internet, then it makes you want more. Blogging, tweeting and creating may have started as assignments for me back in 2012 upon Ted’s command, but it really has become a gratifying passion that has underlined for me why the mediascape can be an awesome place, especially online.