T. Emma, J. Hounshell

East Tennessee State University (UNITED STATES)
Digital media is a technology-based discipline that requires critical thinking and lifelong learning. These requirements imply that a student in the field will need more than just the ability to memorize keys and software.

What is active learning? “Active learning is, in short, any learning activity engaged in by students in a classroom other than listening passively to an instructor’s lecture” (Faust & Paulson, 1998). Using active learning techniques laid out in traditional courses digital media faculty can often greatly increase a student’s immersion and understanding of digital media. Often the digital media classroom experience is already a hybrid of active learning techniques and traditional lecture. By consciously using these techniques we can move away from the model of route memorization to helping the students understanding the role of critical thinking and continuous learning in their chosen field.

One of the challenges students face is outdated tutorials due to the speed at which the software changes. A second challenge is production, how to put all the pieces together to form a complete project. We discuss two projects that looked at these problems and used similarly interpreted active learning techniques of “Problem-Based Learning” and “Student Summaries” to address them.

Project number one; tutorials—how can a faculty change the issue of outdated tutorials to an advantage in the classroom? Project number two; creating a digital magazine app for publication—how can student-driven content affect the learning experience?

The first active learning project is challenging the students to create an up to date presentation and tutorial to be presented to the class. This project uses the active learning technique of teaching peers new material. The second active learning project engages students with authentic situations that they could actually encounter in editorial and digital design production.

These processes incorporate many of the principles outlined by other recognized scholars including ideas of writing, presenting and participating by the students.
Here we will examine the projects, look at the results and review how it fits within the idea of active learning from the presentation to the way are the project graded.