Where to Next in the Brave (New) Digital World?

Well, it’s time to wrap things up for ALC201 Exploring New Media: Users, Settings, Implications for 2013. The experiences of the unit’s very first outing, and the student feedback that has generously been provided, have already had me thinking for some weeks about what form(s) the unit will take next year. Lots of questions remain lingering: What is the future of on-campus lectures? (Do they have a future?) Should the unit have an ‘official’ Facebook presence that is moderated by staff and allows more convenient updates to be communicated to students? Does this ‘interfere’ with the separation of ‘life’ and ‘work’ still desired by many students? What other forms of digital media creation might assessment take on? Does any of the subject matter need to be adjusted? Can I afford my dog’s exorbitant acting fees for another round of videos? Will any parts of the unit be redundant even after ‘only’ twelve months?

Things move quickly, but not too quickly. The themes of virtual identity construction and surveillance, online dating and e-pornography, sexting and trial by social media, e-democracy and digital heritage, will maintain their relevance for some time yet. And all of these issues will continue to be played out in the expansive realm of popular (and not-so-popular) culture, reinforcing and challenging ideas about digital media and the stereotypes of those who use them. Drawing on the Media Studies 2.0 approach, the crucial importance of grasping what this unit has been about all along – the intersection between critical thinking and creative practice – will remain fundamental. But some things will change. They have to.

For now, I’d like to thank all those people who participated in the unit – from the students who enrolled in it to the friends and colleagues who allowed me to exploit them in the meLectures. This last video is designed in part to provide some ‘closure’ on what has been an often confronting, sometimes depressing, always eclectic unit, but it is also to express my appreciation to those who have come along for the ride.

Thank you. And, as Dolph Lundgren continues to say in my head, if no one else’s…

Good Journey.

PS – By the way, if you don’t get my antics at the start of the video, you should watch Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Shame on you.

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