The article below was featured in Campus Technology Magazine and online on May 15, 2013.
Tiny Radio in Class: Podcasting Returns to Campus
By Dian Schaffhauser
When 99% Invisible blew through its fundraising goal on Kickstarter by four times, the “tiny radio show about design” brought renewed attention to the lost art of audio podcasting. It also piqued the attention of Associate Professor John McArthur, director of undergraduate programs for the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. McArthur had been seeking out a topic to try in a pilot seminar he was holding this spring as part of a department exploration to figure out how faculty and students might interact in a more collaborative way on campus.
And that’s exactly what happened. In the course of the seminar McArthur’s students used podcasting as a mechanism to learn how to compose arguments in the form of telling a story. Plus, it gave them a chance to interact with faculty in a mode that put them in the role of “producer.”
How a Podcast Report is Put Together
In an era of quickly produced videos that go viral on YouTube, the concept of producing a podcast may seem a bit antiquated. Why go audio when visual rules the day?
Entrepreneur Magazine’s latest issue featured a Q & A column about corporate use of Pinterest. I was featured in the column, written by Kim Lachance Shandrow. Here’s an excerpt:
3. What types of images will best showcase my brand without being spammy?
Choose brightly colored, interesting pictures that show your followers how they can use your products and services in interesting, non-promotional situations.
“Images tell the story of your clientele and their relationship to your brand,” says John A. McArthur, an assistant professor of communication at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina, who integrates Pinterest into his curriculum. “Consider how your customers would use your product or service and provide images that would speak to their experience.”
Instead of pinning promotional pictures of paint cans, Benjamin Moore highlights its products Pinterest in unexpected ways. For example, the paint maker’s popular “chalk it up!” board showcases its Chalkboard Paint in dozens of creative DIY projects, including chalkboard paint-dipped wine glasses and chalkboard-painted motorcycle helmets.
To read the full article, visit Entrepreneur magazine online.
Queens University of Charlotte and Dr. John A. McArthur were featured on CampusTechnology.com in a story about experimenting with Pinterest in the college classroom. The article highlights the COMM 360: Charlotte and the Convention course and its use of Pinterest as an archive tool.
Below are two excerpts from the article, which can be read in its entirety on CampusTechnology.com
Faculty wanted a way to archive the student experience; so as part of the assignment, participants were asked to chronicle their experiences on Pinterest. According to John McArthur, an assistant professor in the Knight School of Communication at Queens, the faculty are always on the lookout “for what’s next.” …
(S)tudents began to view Pinterest as an “online photo gallery as opposed to a real-time updateable site like Twitter or Instagram.” From that perspective, he adds, “it became more of an archive than a timeline.”
With experience, McArthur now believes that Pinterest is best suited for “very niche courses” because it provides a “great opportunity for instructors to create student-generated archives of information related to class material,” less a digital portfolio than a tool students use to share things they come across in the news or online.
For example, he’s currently using it in a class on proxemics to study how space and technology combine. When students come across a particular story that might relate to the topic, they’ll pin it to the class Pinterest board…
McArthur encourages others to just try out the site. “Experimentation is the pathway to innovation with social media in the classroom,” he says. “Explain to [your] students that it’s an experiment we’re trying together, and we’re going to see how it works. Part of the outcome is to learn a social media platform you’re not familiar with–have a good time with it.”
Thanks to Dian Schaffhauser for her interest in our classrooms in the Knight School and thorough reporting. Read more about our Pinterest experiment here.
Students in my communication seminar on proxemics in the Knight School conducted a wheelchair accessibility audit of campus. The audit helped students to better understand how people different from themselves understand and use built space.
The following story was featured on the Queens University of Charlotte website about the project:
Navigating the campus with new eyes
Students in a senior seminar in the Knight School of Communication are studying the field of proxemics and how it can improve the way people interact with the space around them.
As a part of the seminar, students recently devoted a sunny, fall afternoon to conducting a handicapped accessibility audit of their campus. Their goal was to simulate for themselves how people in wheelchairs experience the environment. The class borrowed wheelchairs, divided into two teams, explored the campus and recorded their experiences.
“My interest in proxemics is in how to design spaces so they can be best used by the people who inhabit them,” says Dr. John McArthur, assistant professor of communication and Director of Undergraduate Programs, who leads the seminar.
Raulston Boger, a student in the seminar, says the exercise opened her eyes to the challenges of individuals with disabilities. “We’re having to go out of our way to get into a specific building because there’s only one on-ramp – just the little stuff we take advantage of everyday.”
An accessibility audit reveals how individuals with different needs negotiate their way through a particular environment, McArthur says, and identifies a location’s strengths and weaknesses. Often, an audit reveals simple solutions that make a big impact on a user experience – such as moving a potted plant away from a narrow entrance.
The following story was featured here on the Queens University of Charlotte website, September 12, 2012:
Raulston Boger and Anna Kirwan had no idea what to expect when they received their DNC internship assignment from the Knight School of Communication. They were appointed to the DNC Host Committee, responsible for planning and executing the entire convention. Friday before the convention Anna said, “We have a training tomorrow and hopefully I’ll know more then. I have no idea what my schedule will be.” Little did they know they would soon have a front row view of the entire convention – an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“This convention is going to be the most open and accessible in history,” said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. That’s exactly what it turned out to be for Raulston and Anna. Just a few days into their internship, they were neck-deep in the convention buzz. Working from 8:30 a.m. until late at night, they escorted delegates and dignitaries from the security perimeter to Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Convention Center. They were in charge of getting the various guests to news sets or other meetings. “We escorted Stephanie Cutter, President Barack Obama’s deputy campaign manager, to each of the news agencies for briefings of the day’s events,” said Anna. The long hours certainly yielded perks.
Raulston and Anna found themselves with floor seats and backstage credentials to the featured DNC evening events at the arena, including the speeches given by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Former President Bill Clinton. Raulston says, “I was sitting behind the speech writers, watching them follow along. After Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker gave his address, his speech writer asked me for my opinion!”
Raulston and Anna were among more than one hundred Queens students assigned to various internships during the DNC. “We wanted our students to be connected to our city and to experience it at a unique point in its history,” said Dr. John McArthur, assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs for Queens’ Knight School of Communication. “We wanted to let the city serve as an urban laboratory during the convention.”
The Knight School cancelled classes for a week in order to allow its students this once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning opportunity. Dr. McArthur says, “The faculty of the Knight School voted unanimously to bring down the walls of our school during DNC 2012 to allow our students to learn together about the communicative power of events.” Raulston and Anna learned lessons ranging from the power of communication to personal growth.
Raulston says, “This was a once in a lifetime experience and I learned how to share it with others by tweeting. It just has a more powerful effect than talking about it after the fact.” Anna says, “It was a lot of work, but I didn’t even realize it because I wanted to do it. I learned that when you give things your all, you get the most out of it. “
Two days of seminars (followed by a week of volunteering) would normally be enough to leave students glassy-eyed and exhausted. The “Charlotte and the Convention” conference at Queens University of Charlotte was a clear exception. After over 30 different speakers and as many topics, students poured out of the classroom enthusiatic about engaging with the Democratic National Convention as members of the Charlotte community. Here’s a quick re-cap of our two days with links to more information:
Introductory information about the conference and our students
Sessions and Speakers
All of our sessions were recorded and will potentially be released at a later date. Below are links to further information about each of the following sessions:
Queens University of Charlotte spearheaded a multi-story campaign about the work in COMM 360 and covered the following stories:
The following article was featured by Queens University of Charlotte on Sept. 5, 2012:
In precisely 40 minutes and 120 slides, five Queens’ faculty members and an alumnus regaled students with six presentations tied to the Democratic National Convention. The topics ranged from the history of political protests to the increasing role of influence that graphic designers play in politics.
The presenters used a unique methodology known as Pecha Kucha, Japanese for chit-chat, in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, resulting in six minutes and 40 seconds total per speaker. Because the slides were pre-timed, the presenters had to carefully craft their respective remarks to maintain the concise, fast-paced nature of the presentation format.
Mike Wirth, assistant professor of new media design, presented shifts in branding political candidates; Dr. Erin DeBell, Spanish instructor, spoke on the numbers of Hispanic voters; Dr. John McArthur, assistant professor of communication, discussed convention space planning; Queens alumnus Jim Shoff talked about third places; Dr. Jessica Braswell, assistant professor of environmental science, spoke about the convention’s effect on the environment; and, Dr. Jennifer Bratyanski, history lecturer, provided a look at the history of protest at political conventions.
During the presentations, students gleaned specific knowledge related to the DNC in Charlotte, from how to participate in historic events scheduled in the center of the city to the environmental impact visitors will bring during their stay.
The Pecha Kucha presentations were part of a two-day course offered by The Knight School of Communication titled COMM 360: Charlotte & the Convention. More than 100 students enrolled in the innovative class, designed for students to focus on Charlotte and take advantage of our week in the national spotlight as a valuable internship.
This morning, Jennifer Hull and I appeared on Fox News Rising in Charlotte to promote the COMM 360 experience starting August 30, 2012 at Queens University of Charlotte. Watch the video on the FoxCharlotte website.
Here’s the planned schedule:
Items in red are open to the public and likely to be full. Please arrive early.
All events will be held in Ketner Auditorium (Sykes Buidling) on the Queens Campus.
|August 30, 2012|
|Welcome & Introduction||9:00 AM||Welcome||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Session 1||9:15 AM||Charlotte History||Tom Hanchett|
|Session 2||10:30 AM||PANEL: The Communicative Power of Events||Leanne Pupchek, Mohammed el-Nawawy, Bob Whalen, Kim Gregory (moderator)|
|Session 3||11:15 AM||Political Conventions: Then & Now||Mark Kelso|
|LUNCH BREAK||12:15 PM|
|Session 4||1:30 PM||Social Media changes Journalism||Jason Silverstein|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Using Pinterest||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Developing a nose for news||Rebecca Anderson/Molly Hedrick|
|Concurrent sessions 1||3:00 PM||TECHniques: Editing Video||Jim Neale|
|Session 5||4:00 PM||Protesting Politics||Maggie Commins|
|DINNER BREAK||5:00 PM|
|Session 6||6:30 PM||PANEL: Carolina Stories Project||Alexis Carreiro (moderator)|
August 31, 2012
|Opening of day||9:00 AM||Welcome and Opening Reminders||Mac McArthur/Jennifer Hull|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Following DNC on 2nd screens||Reena Arora|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Photojournalism||Jim Neale|
|Concurrent sessions 2||9:15 AM||TECHniques: Interviewing||Bob Page|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: DNCC Communication Center|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: ABC News|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: Daily Show|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: QCityMetro|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: The Charlotte Observer|
|Concurrent sessions 3||10:15 AM||Know your placement: PPL of DNC|
|Session 7||11:00 AM||PANEL: Race, Faith and Social Justice||Diane Mowery, Daina Nathaniel, Norris Frederick, Zachary White (moderator)|
|LUNCH BREAK||12:00 PM|
|Session 8||1:15 PM||Charlotte and the Convention
|Erin DeBell, Jim Shoff, Mike Wirth, Kristen Bostedo-Conway, Mac McArthur, Jennifer Bratyanski, Jessica Braswell|
|Session 8 (con’t)||2:15 PM||Convention Security||Clarence Birkhead|
|Session 9||3:00 PM||PANEL: Media Makers
Covering the Convention
|Alexis Carreiro (moderator)|
|Session 10||4:15 PM||Digital Citizenship||Eric Freedman & Alexis Carreiro|
|EVENT CONCLUDES||5:00 PM|
This column ran in the Charlotte Observer on September 30, 2011
on the opinion/editorial page.
The link above will take you to the column on the Observer’s website.
Our city might learn a lot from the Democratic National Convention this September, if we all become students.
My friends and I share a joke about internships. While in college, I explained to a group the differing functions of an MRI and an fMRI. My friend Jessica responded jovially with, “Did you do an MRI internship or something?”
To her surprise, I had. The joke continues, over a decade later, that I’ve done internships in everything.
At Queens University of Charlotte, all students complete two semester-long internships before graduation. This requirement has inspired our faculty to think experientially as we design courses.
This fall, professors in the Knight School of Communication are embarking on a learning opportunity like none I’ve heard of before. We are “bringing down the walls” of the school by inviting students to focus on Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention.
Before the DNC, students will learn about Charlotte and the role of political conventions in America. Local historians, media makers, and city leaders will investigate the relationship between the life of a city and events it hosts, joining with professors from not only communication and political science, but also environmental science, new media design, history, philosophy and religion.
During the convention, students will work in our city. Some will intern for national media personalities. Others will assist the host committee in their communication center. Some will tell our stories alongside journalists in the press gallery, in the corridors of the Charlotte Observer, and on Charlotte’s streets. Still others will volunteer with the PPL, a first-of-its-kind cultural initiative unique to Charlotte.
And they will learn what it means for Charlotte to exist in the national spotlight and to function under scrutiny for national security. They might even invest in political action or explore the American political process, partisanship and its boundaries.
Our hope is that our students – and the people of our city – treat the convention like a week-long internship.
Internships have the ability to give students a window into options that lie ahead. In my case, internships taught me a little about what I wanted to do with my life, and a lot about what I didn’t want to do.
The convention might do the same thing for Charlotte. The paths that lie before our city are many. As September draws closer, our city can and should prepare to learn a few things – what we want to become, and what we might choose not to be.
Between now and the convention, Charlotte’s citizens should reflect on our city and what we value.
Then, during the convention, join us in the Knight School by becoming a student. Study the city. Learn from visitors. Watch, read, and listen to stories being told about the Queen City and her people. Respond. And, if you come across a good story, share it.
Our week in the national spotlight can be a valuable, city-wide internship. At the very least, let’s take some time to think about what we are learning.
John A.McArthur, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs in the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte. He can be reached at http://jamcarthur.com
Each year, Lambda Pi Eta awards a faculty service award to one faculty member in the James L. Knight School of Communication for service to the undergraduate program. This year, I was honored to receive the award which is voted upon by the honor students in the school. I am humbled by my students’ excitement for learning and their recognition of my service to the school. Thanks to all the students for this distinct honor.