Celebrating the Media Literacy Partnership: Our Capstone Event
As our Mediated Comm. Theory “capstone” class (CO419) came to a close, our semester-long CBL project with the kids at Davis Commons was also in its final stage. We had taken exams and written papers during the semester, but for our final assignment, our job was a presentation of sorts, but not the kind where students stand up in front of the class and try not to read exactly what’s on their power point slides. Instead, we were responsible for coordinating an on-campus capstone event so that we could present Stonehill College and college life in general to the Davis Commons kids, in part as a way to celebrate our CBL partnership with them, but also in hopes of instilling in them the very real possibility and the aspiration to one day go to college themselves.
In the weeks leading up to the event, we each had our own responsibilities to complete. Some CO419 students were in charge of standard event-planning logistics, such as creating invitations, setting up the room, securing donated items for the kids’ “goody bags,” buying food, arranging photography, etc… Other students worked on planning a campus tour that would kick off our event for the Davis Commons youth. Finally, some students worked on editing our class CBL video so that it could be screened at the event. Needless to say, there were plenty of tasks to complete before an event such as ours could take place.
When the big day arrived in mid-December, we started off the event by meeting the Davis Commons kids at their bus and taking them on a campus tour lead by some of the students in the class. They were shown many parts of campus, including where the basketball teams play and where one of our students lives. We were lucky enough to talk to a few of the Women’s Basketball players as they were having a pre-practice shoot, which the kids seemed very excited about. A bit later, we headed to a student’s dorm room in the Senior Courts. The whole walk over the kids had a slew of questions for all the CO419 students that were leading the tour. This helped them get an even more personal relationship with us as some of the questions were about our time at Stonehill. They were very excited to see the living quarters of a college student (in all its glory) as the kids talked about who they would be roommates with when they got to college, furthering the idea that the tour makes their desire to go to college even more real.
The tour finished at the boardroom of Alumni Hall, where the second stage of the event was to take place. Here, the kids were served pizza and beverages, and later cookies and cake. In the time before and during the meal, the Davis Commons kids were encouraged to interact with us, and reflect on their semester spent learning about media literacy. After the meal, we screened the video we made with footage throughout our semester at Davis Commons, including interviews with the kids and interactions between the Stonehill and Davis Commons students. The video was a great way to cap off the semester spent with each other as it encapsulated our weekly visits to Davis Commons and showed the progress made in teaching them about media literacy. After the video, which of course ended with a blooper real and subsequent laughter, we gave the kids gift bags full of various Stonehill paraphernalia, including t-shirts, pens, and foam fingers which they very much appreciated. We talked some more with the students about the video and their overall experience, then said our goodbyes.
The event, which consisted of the campus tour, dinner and a film screening, was a perfect way to wrap up our Mediated Communication Theory class and our Community Based Learning experience with the kids from Davis Commons. After spending the entire semester at Davis Commons and getting to know the youth in their after-school program environment, it was great to have them gain a sense of what our life is like at Stonehill. In addition, screening our class video as part of the event gave our class a sense of fulfillment as we worked very hard all semester to capture our teaching experiences and interactions with the Davis Commons kids on video to create a “How to teach Media Literacy” video. It was especially great to see the progress in the kids’ understanding and grasp of media literacy, since that was, after all, the main goal of our CBL work. The video also reminded the Davis Commons kids of all that they learned through our CBL partnership, and coupled with the tour we hope that they were able to gain an overarching sense of fulfillment for the work they had done so far, as well as an even more significant sense of hope, determination, and realization that college is a realistic ambition worth striving for. Overall, our event was successful and enjoyable, and more importantly, it served as a true capstone experience for all involved.