Tuesday, June 28, 2011

UI faculty and staff talk about the university’s responsibility to prepare students to deal with the rapidly emerging eBook technology.

Dan Berkowitz (Journalism and Mass Communications) “In journalism schools across the country, some faculty still use the phrase “new media” to describe technology that’s ten years old or more. As the industry reinvents itself, electronically-available content has become important. To train students to be able to adapt as journalists, journalism schools need to engage in a dual-pronged effort. Students need a broad range of media skills, plus they will have to know how to launch new endeavors. To succeed in the digital creative industry, they will need to be able to manage entrepreneurial projects.”

Christopher Merrill (International Writing Program) “It’s part of our teaching mission to prepare students to be able to respond to fast-moving environments. We have a responsibility to provide solid ground of all kinds of skills they’ll need to have in order to respond. Students, with the training they receive from Iowa, will be able to build on traditions of creative work, gathering knowledge, writing, and publishing. We need to give them a foundation so that they will be adaptable, flexible, and knowledgeable enough to be creative, innovative, and productive.”

Russell Valentino (The Iowa Review; Cinema and Comparative Literature) “As a research institution, we have an obligation to treat emerging e-publishing technologies as we would treat media such as film. Students come to a university like Iowa not only to study the latest in high-definition camera work and digital editing, but also to understand the history of the medium. Here, they can study 16mm film and learn about film production and distribution, along with history, theory, and related disciplines like photography and theater. They have the opportunity, through a comprehensive program with ties to related disciplines, to gain a sense of the ways things have been, not just the way things are right now. We give students a broader view through history and theory so that their work will have more depth, which will inform where the medium might be going, and give them the means to take a leading role in shaping it. The same is true of literature and publishing. Iowa is very well placed to provide this kind of comprehensive approach.”