James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

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Posted on | September 22, 2012 | No Comments

James’ Journal Sept 22

Every week, time permitting, I use this opportunity to recap what I have been doing in my professional and academic life.

This week at Zayed University classes were in full swing and students began to settle into the routine.

In my COM315 class, Media Writing 2, we got down to business and students agreed to take on the project of imagining a CCMS newsletter.

This will be a newsletter with a twist. Media writing 2 is not just about the writing process but also and more about operationalizing converged media. So students got down to business and began pitching stories and imagining how they might tell their story not only in words but also using other devices.

What was noteworthy about COM315 was that not a singe student had a complaint with the 2 writing assignments they did over the week!

My ethics course COM240 has 32 students in it and given the content and numbers there is a lot of mind bending happening. We started by looking at the idea of truth and what we might or might not include when telling a news story. The example we used was from the NYT and the 9/11 coverage. The story we used showed people jumping from the Twin Towers and our question was do we need to see these images to tell the story?

My COM 280, new media class, was a wake-up call. While we will and have begun to look at the traditional, old media, ideas of layout and design we also introduced the idea of social media as a tool to push content consumption.

What became clear, immediately, was that the BYOD concept does not work in this particular ZU class. Day one I introduced PTCH.com an iphone app that ONLY works on an iPhone and was greeted by the low number of iPhones in the class and the fact that the app was not as easy to download as anticipated. In an effort to work through the issues I also introduced Viddy.com and Majisto.com, which work on iPads and android products.

This is a great class because we are doing new media BUT also exploring and building on old media techniques that are essential to enhanced storytelling. Students are making videos on their phones for the Sunday class using the apps mentioned above.

The take home of the week was do not believe the hype of the internet we are not all as equally connected as it might seem.

On Nightline it was an interesting week.

I am constantly impressed by the level of interaction on Nightline and the way people can reframe the questions asked.

What is clear is there is a strong community built around Nightline that is from all walks of life.

Sunday we did 2 call-in shows.

First we asked whether the road systems were getting any better and then whether or not education in Dubai is good value.

Are we driving better?

Actually many who called and texted seemed to think things had changed for the better over the last 7 years. Although the school zone is still a huge issue with the rules seemingly being thrown out the window.

Our second question asked for your opinion on whether or not you feel you are getting good education value in Dubai. The short answer was no!

It would seem many people who contacted the show were not happy with the edu-business model and believed that the way we are education today does not hold up when compared to the past, maybe this is nostalgia.

Many have issues with teaching methods as well. It would seem that educators today need to do a better job communicating what they do and why!

Callum and Ian joined me for CarTalk and this was a great hour. We had more calls than we could take and the questions spanned from trading in a Ford for a GTI to the value of a Caprice! And of course the boys had their share of opinions. In the end it was only mine that really mattered, as usual! Next week we may try a 2 hour show!

Then we moved onto the question of living where your visa is issued! This is something that the Abu Dhabi Government has brought into effect for AUH government employees. And what would happen if every Emirate did this? Well, the response was swift and sure, please NO!

Magnus joined me from Sweden to talk technology and talk we did. All of the show notes are at www.dxbtech.net. Neither of us are jumping on the new iPhone 5 but Magnus, by the end of the show, was pretty sure he would try to find a trade-in deal. We looked at some cool Facebook stats regarding images and more. This is a great hour of tech conversation.

Then the question we asked was who should be policing what we eat? Do we need food police? Parents have demonstrated that they cannot pack a healthy lunch for school kids so what about the office? Do we need a crackdown? Who is educating us about food anyway? I was told I was too dramatic. I think the obesity, heart disease and diabetes stats are dramatic and we are doing too little! This was a nice informative show.

It was fitting to follow the food police show with Marcus Smith from Innerfight.com. Marcus is a true fitness fanatic. We spoke about getting into shape and staying in shape, motivation and more. This is an hour of radio that really needs to be listened to.

Paul Kelly from Triplew.me and Richard Hussein from Lionheart recordings joined me to talk about the music industry from the other side, making and selling records. This is what I call inspirational radio. Richard had a great story and in the end it was a go for it situation. WOW.

And that was the week.

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