Friday, June 04, 2010

Henry Jenkins' From Youtube to YouNiversity

Henry Jenkins is the creator of the Comparative Media Studies (CMS) graduate program at MIT, and can be considered an innovator in digital culture. At its core, his MIT program has encouraged students to think across media, across historical periods, across national borders, across academic disciplines, across the divide between theory and practice and across the divides between the academy and the rest of society. Although he has moved on to being Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, his blog entries continue to be as interesting as ever.
Blogs represent a powerful tool for engaging in these larger public conversations. At my university, we noticed that a growing number of students were developing blogs focused on their thesis research. Many of them were making valuable professional contacts; some had developed real visibility while working on their master's degrees; and a few received high-level job offers based on the professional connections they made on their blogs. Blogging has also deepened their research, providing feedback on their arguments, connecting them to previously unknown authorities, and pushing them forward in ways that no thesis committee could match. Now all of our research teams are blogging not only about their own work but also about key developments in their fields.
As Jenkins argues, academic programs are only starting to explore how they might deploy these new media platforms -- blogs and podcasts especially -- to expand the visibility of their research and scholarship. Watch Jenkin's ideas in this intriguing video - it certainly adds flavour to the argument of the participatory culture of learning.

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