One Step Closer

Southern Oregon University kicked off its Fall term last week with a return via remote learning in most classes, and Communication program faculty and students led the way with inventive online learning experiences to help get the campus community ready for in-person learning on Oct. 11.

In Associate Professor Erik Palmer’s section of COMM221 — Creative Industries, students drew themselves as creative superheroes, using all their greatest creative superpowers. Students shared their work using Mural, the online whiteboard platform widely adopted by organizations to foster creativity and collaboration in the kinds of remote working situations increasingly encountered in the professional world.

Hand-drawn superhero illustrations, including Representation Person, Fashonista, and Crispin Jenkins
Students in COMM221 — Creative Industries kicked off Fall term by sharing Creative Superheroes depicting the students’ most compelling creative superpowers.

In one case, Interdisciplinary Studies senior Ollie Chernaik created Representation Person, with the super power of crafting representative fiction for minority groups.

“I care about representation in the media,” said Chernaik. “My goal in entering creative industries such as television is to broaden representation.”

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Precious Yamaguchi debuted a whole new course, COMM442 — Global Communication & Social Change, and her students started off by using another whiteboard platform, Google Jamboard, to collect memories of international travel by her students.

Digital whiteboard with photographs of student travel destinations.

“It’s a very well-traveled class,” Yamaguchi said, “with destinations ranging from the Galapagos, Vietnam, Hawaii, San Juan Islands, and more!”

In Associate Professor Alena Ruggerio’s section of COMM342 — Persuasion, students jumped into Breakout Rooms via Zoom to analyze persuasive artifacts created by students in prior terms.

Rainbow bookmark with LGBTQ support message.

One group assessed an artifact designed by 2021 Outstanding Senior in Communication Studies Quinn-Evelynn Drummond. She is now studying in graduate school with a research assistantship at the Feminist Media Studio at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

“This bookmark uses persuasion theories to encourage secondary school teachers to volunteer as faculty advisors to their school’s chapter of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network,” Ruggerio said.

In the current section of DCIN313 — Design Problems in Sound & Light, an introductory discussion about everyday selfies helped the teacher learn from the students, leading to this post in the Instagram feed of Senior Instructor Chris Lucas:

Screen capture of Instagram post of Senior Instructor Chris Lucas.

“I wanted to talk about form and style and all the decisions we make,” Lucas said. “Craft matters, even for simple and disposable forms of media communication, because the class is ultimately about being a lot more planful, deliberate, and thoughtful about image-making.”

According to Lucas, some of the advice he got from students included: a) don’t show your arm, b) don’t put the camera too close to your face because it distorts your features, c) better to photograph a higher angle down toward the face than up, d) use light from the back or side not the front, e) use window light, f) clean or non-distracting backgrounds are better, but g) backgrounds can communicate a lot about you if you want, h) don’t use obvious filters because it looks like you’re hiding something, and i) use a tripod or have a friend take your selfie.

This extra round of remote learning arrives as SOU fully deploys its vaccination protocol for students, staff and faculty on our campuses in Ashland and Medford, Oregon. Because of high rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Southern Oregon, the University agreed to delay full reopening until Oct. 11, giving the health care systems in Jackson and Josephine Counties additional time to respond to the regional impacts of the pandemic.

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Earn BA/BS Degrees and Certificates in Communication Studies, Social Media & Public Engagement, or Digital Cinema @SOUAshland. #ThatIsSOU

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Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Comm, Media & Cinema @ Southern Oregon University

Earn BA/BS Degrees and Certificates in Communication Studies, Social Media & Public Engagement, or Digital Cinema @SOUAshland. #ThatIsSOU

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