"One Way To Tell 50 Stories"


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A presentation given at Northern Voice 2010:
The Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC attracts bright students passionate about the UBC Farm, food and the environment. The problem is that these student are not always able to communicate their message out to the general public.

In LFS 400, we taught students that it was their role to take their passion and education to educate others. In a multidisciplinary partnership, including CBC Journalist Kathryn Gretsinger, LFS Faculty Professor Andrew Riseman and social media enthusiasts Duncan McHugh & Cyprien Lomas, we helped students find their stories, gave them the skills and confidence to tell them and ensured they followed the golden rules of journalism.

Using podcasting as the medium of choice, students learned how to interview, present arguments based on expertise and model good scientific discussion through "unbiased" stories—in short they became citizen journalists / citizen scientists.

Using the podcasts, this session will tell about the course and the impact it had on the students. We will also explore its potential to influence social media literacy in the broader curriculum of The Faculty of Land and Food Systems.


Cyprien Lomas: After years of interest in social media, he finally managed to convince enough people (including a faculty member) to give it a go.

Duncan McHugh: LFS Learning Centre's unassuming technology expert and teacher. Also a member of this year's Northern Voice organizing committee.

Andrew Riseman: Faculty of Land and Food System plant breeding specialist, UBC Farm academic co-lead, techno-suspicious but full of crazy ideas.

Kathryn Gretsinger: CBC Radio personality extraordinaire, now journalism educator extraordinaire and superb story coach; able to tease out a story wherever it lies.

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  • "One Way To Tell 50 Stories"

    1. 1. Telling Stories in Land and Food Systems Andrew Riseman Kathryn Gretsinger Cyprien Lomas Duncan McHugh University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada Northern Voice 2010 May 7th, 2010 Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License
    2. 2. ・ How did this course come to be? ・ How did we do it? ・ What were challenges? ・ What were results? ・ How did openness benefit this course? Special Topics in Agriculture
    3. 3. ・ Very passionate about their research ・ Somewhat isolated ・ Many have a lack of awareness as to how to tell a story LFS students
    4. 4. ・ Engaging their research in a new way ・ Improving their communication skills ・ Expressing themselves using digital tools ・ Spreading their message to a broader audience LFS students
    5. 5. ・ Mostly re-purposing lectures ・ Useful, not very dynamic Academic podcasting
    6. 6. ・ Cross-campus collaboration The PEPI Group
    7. 7. ・ Cross-campus collaboration ・ Putting the technology into students’ hands ・ Sought to create an open source, ‘academic iTunes’ ・ Evolved into a partnership between LFS & SoJ The PEPI Group
    8. 8. ・ 4th year seminar in issues related to the UBC Farm ・ Traditionally assignments were essays ・ UBC Farm is the only working farm in Vancouver ・ UBC Farm is threatened by development ・ Two-part assignment AGRO 461 & UBC Farm
    9. 9. ・ Sought to use journalism skills to teach to six LFS students to create engaging and rigorous audio documentaries ・ Four-member teaching team: ・ Agriculture prof ・ Journalism prof ・ Tech instructor ・ Sanctioned Supporter This year’s course
    10. 10. ・ Students didn't have a framework for this type of work ・ Four rules of journalism     ・ Storytelling, not just feeling ・ Crafting a narrative out of an interview This year’s course
    11. 11. ・ Students were taught the difference between advocacy and journalism ・ As newspapers and other media suffer cutbacks, room for citizen journalists to have a voice What is citizen journalism?
    12. 12. ・ Streeter: students were sent out to ask strangers a question ・ Voicer: simple story piece that combines basic audio editing, sound recording, interviewing and narration Early results
    13. 13. ・ New skills for students to pick up ・ “ Copyright awareness” ・ “ How to get good recording” ・ “ The use of audio recorders” ・ “ Basic audio editing” Technology workshops
    14. 14. ・ Sakai ・ Audacity Tools
    15. 15. ・ Audio piece, ~10mins in length ・ Workshopped extensively ・ Sense of accountability to students and the work ・ CBC competition ・ CC licensed Final project
    16. 16. Final project
    17. 17. ・ new technology ・ lack of time ・ the need to change culture ・ scarcity of resources [pilot] Challenges
    18. 18. Student Reflections
    19. 19. Next year
    20. 20. ・ One way to tell 50 stories ・ Better breed of podcasts ・ Student satisfaction ・ raised the bar and they stepped up ・ tangible product to share with those outside of the university ・ giving students the tools they need to be heard     ・ epiphanies can't be planned Conclusion
    21. 21. Questions?
    22. 22. Thanks! Andrew Riseman [email_address] Kathryn Gretsinger [email_address] Cyprien Lomas [email_address] Duncan McHugh [email_address] Faculty of Land and Food Systems The University of British Columbia www.landfood.ubc.ca/learningcentre