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M. Tajik, M. Shuldman, E. Garlo

University of Massachusetts at Lowell (UNITED STATES)
Objective: We explored the impacts of an integrated video production and service learning curriculum in a health promotion course on: a) student learning, critical thinking and media literacy skills; and b) furthering local health agencies’ and community organizations’ goals and objectives to promote public health.
Methods: Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted with students and collaborating local community organizations and health agency staff. A sample of 12-14 students randomly selected from among 57 students who had completed an undergraduate health promotion course with video production-service learning project participated in focus groups. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with the key contacts in the partner organizations that collaborated with the students to guide videos’ core contents. Focus group and in-depth interview guidelines were guided by Engagement Theory’s three critical components that: 1) learning occurs in a social context (Relate), 2) course work should be hands-on and project-based (Create), and 3) the project should have an authentic outside non-academic focus (Donate).
Results: Students’ communication, time management skills, and understanding of local community health issues were strongly affected as a result of team and collaborative works with peers, media center staff, and community organizations’ staff (relate). Production process was viewed as difficult and intense but rewarding and purposeful at the end (create). Community focus and ongoing use of the short videos were regarded as quite beneficial by the students and collaborating organizations (donate). Students were particularly motivated to work harder on their projects to produce higher quality videos since these videos would be viewed by the public.
Conclusion: A systematic integration of media production-service learning module in health promotion curricula could greatly improve education, training, and media literacy of community health educators and other public health professionals. Linking of student video projects to local community organizations’ need for health communication material provides ongoing service to these under-resourced organizations.