Community Media in Canada: A Modular Platform for Sharing and Engagement

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipientStuart Poyntz and Katherine Reilly, School of Communication

Project teamDean Belder, Sophie Dempsey, Chris Jeschelnik, Kate Raso, and Alexadre Tse, research assistants

Timeframe: September 2012 to February 2014

Funding: $5,000

Courses addressed:

  • CMNS 210 – Media History
  • CMNS 220 – Television
  • CMNS 230 – Cultural Industries in Canada
  • CMNS 387 – Media and Education
  • CMNS 322 – Documentary Media
  • CMNS 437 – Media Democratization
  • CMNS 425 – Applied Communication for Social Issues
  • CMNS 426 – Video Design for Social Communication

Final report: View the final project report (PDF)

From the final report: "The results of student interviews showed that students in CMNS333 used the platform in three main ways: to build an overall framework of understanding, to provide starting points or anchors for searches in other (more academic) databases, and as an example of writing style.  One student reported that “I think just looking at the site was just sort of like a breath of fresh air to me because, like I said, I’m a history minor, and I do like to see things in a timeline, in a narrative, because I like making those connections between events.” Read more >>

Description: Community media has long had a direct impact on the dynamic relationship between community knowledge sharing and cultural reproduction. Community media changes over time with the evolution of new communications technologies, policy environments, cultural contexts, and the like. This project aims to explore the trend towards modular web-based open-source learning environments as a way to help students engage with both the history of Canadian community media and contemporary community media initiatives. The ultimate aim is to enhance learning about community media at the university level.

We will create a dynamic, modular, web-based, open-source timeline of community media in Canada. This timeline will contain case-study modules that will be available to educators as a resource for instruction and/or evaluation. Instructors and/or students will also be able to upload contemporary or historical material to the timeline such that it becomes a dynamic networked repository of the history of community media in Canada. The site could be used simply as a source for instructional materials, but we hope that it will also provide a framework for student contact with local community media efforts, particularly in cases where students produce materials based on research about, or involvement in, community media efforts.

Questions addressed:

  • How do faculty integrate this learning resource into their teaching practice, and what are the limitations on their use of this resource?
  • To what extent and in what ways did this learning resource enhance (or not) course learning?
  • What technical requirements and maintenance costs are associated with the ongoing use of this learning resource, and what is our plan to ensure such resources are in place following the end of Teaching and Learning Development Grant funding for this project?

Knowledge sharing: The development and testing of this learning resource will be showcased as part of the School of Communication’s 40th-year anniversary celebrations, set to take place in 2013. The web resource will be profiled as part of this event, the development of the project and its relationship with the history of the School will be profiled on our School website, and Katherine Reilly, Stuart Poyntz, and/or our RAs will present workshops outlining how the resource can be used (given the findings from this study) in future iterations of the above courses. Pending successful implementation of this first phase of the project, we will invite the participation of our sister schools in BC and eventually programs located in other major Canadian cities. 

Poyntz, S., & Reilly, K. (2014, July). Curation and the digital classroom – design, participation, and structure in online learning resources. Paper presentation at International Conference on Improving University Teaching Conference, July 23-25, 2014, UBC, BC.