In his “Introduction to Sociology” and Advanced Sociology “Media, Culture and Society” courses, University of South Carolina Upstate instructor Rod Scherich has created a multimedia approach to teaching the concepts of this science.
Scherich notes in his course descriptions that “We live in an age when the media dominates our social, political, and personal interactions. Introductory textbooks to sociology are finally recognizing media as an agent of socialization…it is vital for us to become active, critical consumers of media.”
Using a multimedia approach that incorporates a Twitter social media platform and micro blog provides students an opportunity to engage in collaborative dialogue not only with fellow students in the physical classroom, but via the virtual classroom, as well.
“Collaboration is a key difference between our world today and the world of yesterday,” said Scherich. “My sociology students learn something new and relevant about the world and by posting it on Twitter, the knowledge is shared.”
“The (media) tools people have today are redefining traditionally thought of definitions of crisis communications, and they’re influencing social movements like Arab Spring and Occupy,” said Scherich. “In the Arab Spring movement, students were able to able to use social media and their phones to say ‘Hey, this is what’s happening to us now.’ Then the mainstream media picked up the news.”
He’s quick to point out, though, that it’s not just Twitter or other social media outlets, it’s the concepts.
“The bottom line is that we’re reinforcing the fundamentals of sociology in ways the students are able to work with,” stressed Scherich. “I started this course to hopefully create a dynamic course for USC Upstate.”
Continuing in his study of these newer approaches, Scherich is attending the “Communication, Crisis and Critique in Contemporary Capitalism” conference hosted by the European Sociological Association October 18-20.
“I’m going to this conference to ask questions and try to further understand what they’re doing,” he said. “There will be people from all over interested in communications and media and they’re going to present different papers on the subject, so I’m real excited about being exposed to that.”