As our culture becomes increasingly visual – what has been called the ‚pictorial turn’ – written academic papers appear less and less to be the only viable means for documenting learning experiences based on university course work. One goal of this webpage is then to make an argument for recognizing the merit of final projects which depart from the traditional forms of academic essays and written and oral exams. This instructor’s experience has been that individuals put an extraordinary effort into academic work in which they can express forms of experience that go beyond the verbal and the analytical. This includes final projects based on making films or creating visual objects, creative writing, and performances. Students who choose to document their learning in this way also write short essays in which they make explicit how their projects reflect on the course work out of which they grew.
A second goal of this webpage is to celebrate students’ creative efforts. Unless they embark upon university careers, students often lack forums for letting the world know about their exceptional work. This is much more the case if they do not express themselves the most persuasively in academic papers. Thus this page aims to publicize the creative efforts of those students who wish to act or to create films while pursuing an academic degree or combine creative writing with literary studies.
Finally, the third goal of this page is to reflect on the increasing importance of television and other multimodal forms for cultural analysis. Cultural studies needs to become more articulate about the meanings of medial forms and about methods for attaining visual and media literacy. Tools for describing ideologies inherent to various medial forms also need to be named. This page then also highlights student work which is engaged in media analysis.
Please join me in applauding your great efforts.