Communication Connection

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Department News

Introducing New Media

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

By Alex Greene

In the Department of Communication Studies we learn a lot about different forms of media and even use them to complete assignments. New Media, a new class taught by Dr. Roberts this spring semester, introduces communication studies students to the issues and different ways of using new forms of media in hopes of relating it to the many other courses in this major, such as IMC and Public Relations. In my interview with Dr. Roberts on his new class, he stated, “Learning how to communicate on a platform, to me that’s the communication studies approach to new media, it’s thinking about who your audience is and then how you craft your message.”

Instead of learning how to create and build websites, which could be one approach to the study of new media, Dr. Roberts’ primary focus is how we as communication studies students can incorporate new media, such as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, into our study.  

This class looks at the everyday use of computers and smart phones, and how the growing popularity of these new media have changed the way corporations communicate with their audience. “This is important because it’s happening right now, because this is something that affects your world, your life, now,” Roberts explained of the prevalence of new media in this curriculum.  Dr. Roberts has had guest speakers come visit the class to speak on their experience with new media. Recently, he had James LaPorta discuss journalism and social media. LaPorta’s experience includes featuring in, as well as writing for, different news sources, such as the Washington Post. Bringing someone like James LaPorta in to speak to his class allows Dr. Roberts to give his students the opportunity to see that new media is and always will be prevalent in the field of communication studies.

Reflecting on the semester so far, Dr. Roberts shared that he hopes to have more real life application opportunities for his students in new media in the future. He wants his students to be able to read about a concept and apply it in some way. For example, he is interested in his students making a three-minute YouTube video sharing something they are passionate about in order to show what it means to make a spreadable video with a limited amount of time to explain a topic thoroughly. Activities like this focus on the students. He wants his students to feel challenged, that they’re learning a lot, and that they are able to dig deep into the material he provides them. Dr. Roberts also wants to make sure there is something included in the class that everyone can relate to. “Everyone feels like there is something speaking to their world inside the class,” he mentions. Whether the Internet, social media, video games, or film, Dr. Roberts covers each of these forms of new media and more throughout his class.

When asked what students are expected to think about throughout this course, Dr. Roberts responded with a series of questions, “What do these platforms allow us to do, how are people using them, how can we use them, and then how do we measure what is a successful piece of communication?” Through the study of different types of new media, and looking at the development of this media over time, Dr. Roberts wants his students to look at new media critically by asking themselves these questions. If you are looking for a new class and want to better understand new media and its relation to the field of communication, New Media with Dr. Roberts is perfect for you.