This post is a bit of a change of pace for me – I’m going to share my experiences of participating in a development event. Back in the summer I started the 6-week Introduction to Creative Media course offered by the Creative Media Team here at the University. It was advertised as an introduction to a range of skills including video, audio and image manipulations and it could be completed online. At the time I was reviewing what Think Ahead offered in this area and I thought it would be good to try out the course and see if it would be something which we could recommend to researchers.
I signed up to participate, but was slightly shocked when the course became available in MOLE and I found out that it was going to be a little more work than I had anticipated. I’ve discussed before about the importance of having a considered development plan and making an informed choice about the events you are participating in. My first reaction to seeing the course content was definitely “this isn’t what I signed up for” but to be honest, I hadn’t delved further into the course content or requirements so it will teach me to practise what I preach in the future. Nevertheless, I decided to stick with it and fully immerse myself into the learning experience, and I’m really glad that I did.
The course was broken down into weekly topics which were mainly delivered online through short lecture-style videos and additional reading. To fulfil the requirements of the course, participants had to complete an online quiz (designed to check learning) and a task, which had to be posted onto the course blog. There was also the option of attending weekly workshops, delivered by the Creative Media Team, where you could go through that weekly task and receive advice directly from the experts. I really liked the blended learning approach – I found working through the online material easy to fit into my daily schedule and I attended almost all of the face to face workshops to cement my learning and to have dedicated time each week to complete my coursework. I also found the course blog to be a great vehicle to reflect on how I’d approached the tasks, what I’d learned from completing the tasks and what I’d do differently in the future. The blog is only visible to the other members of the cohort and helps to create a learning community.
I’d highly recommend the Introduction to Creative Media to anyone interested in developing skills in photography, Photoshop, audio recording and manipulation, and video recording and editing. If you’re a researcher at the University of Sheffield, the course can help you develop the tools to effectively promote your work and engage others with your research by producing visual and audio content to be used on blogs, podcasts and vlogs.
What started as an exercise in road-testing a course has seen me develop new skills which have already benefitted me professionally and personally (that fancy camera that I’ve had for two years is finally off automatic mode!). The course has made me think about different ways of approaching work related tasks and I’m hoping to contribute in a more significant way than before to the Think Ahead online offer.