The Film and Media Studies (FMST) Program is dedicated to integrating film and media theory and history with creative practice. In order to further this goal, the FMST Program built a virtual bridge between their two required introductory classes, FMST 100: Gateway to Film and Media Studies and ARTS 181: Introduction to Filmmaking. In traditional film schools, critical, historical, and theoretical work is often separated from media creation. FMST Program faculty believe these historical divides to be artificial and counterproductive to holistic learning about film and media. The virtual bridge constructed through this ITEL project allowed faculty to build and monitor common assignments and for students to move work between the two courses. By linking the two classes through MediaThread and creating two joint assignments, project investigators Bernard Cook and Lilian Hughes hoped that students would begin drawing more direct connections between the two classes.
Through analyzing completed joint-assignments and eliciting feedback from the students, Cook & Hughes found that the technology created greater efficiency in teaching and learning and a more sustained and reflective engagement between theorizing and creating. Results from this project indicated that all of the students in both FMST 100 and ARTS 181 showed a clear understanding and appreciation of the relationship between the courses. The Virtual Bridge project allowed students to discover connections between their theoretical and historical learning and their creative scholarship. Despite the positive findings, Cook & Hughes note that perhaps MediaThread is not the ideal platform to act as the Virtual Bridge, since it does not have a media annotation software.
Moving forward, the Film & Media Studies program is focused on two goals in regards to achieving integrative thinking. First, faculty are investigating server options to store course material and student work. They believe increasing access to course materials will increase the students' ability to achieve curricular learning goals. It is important to the Film & Media Studies program to link creative expression with critical and historical analysis, being able to share, annotate, analyze, re-post, and remix scenes, clips, short medial, and feature-length media. Faculty seek to explore how video creation can offer new opportunities for critical and theoretical argument about the nature and possibilities of media itself. To further develop connections in student learning, the faculty members plan to continue to experiment with technology and with curricular and pedagogical design to support the coordination of learning in ARTS 181 and FMST 100.