Introducing PERF201 – Performance and Circus Studies and MAS213 – Screen Production 2. This week we look at how iLearn is used for subjects very practical and hands on in nature. Both subjects require artistic creation, getting students out of the ‘classroom’ (as we know it) and into performance theatres or edit suites and therefore rely heavily on iLearn for communication, collaboration and resources depository.

MAS213Screen Production – allows students the opportunity to collaboratively produce a short film. The unit is delivered through online exercises, practical tutorials, an intensive creative week and structured production tasks.

Unit convenor Dr Karen Pearlman has organised the subject by weeks, with short video lectures interspersed. Karen says, because student attention span can be low she keeps everything concise, including the videos.

PERF201 – Performance and Circus Studies – gives students an introduction to new performance forms and the opportunity to create performance work. Unit Convenor Dr Jon Burtt uses resources from Cirque Du Soleil to teach students acrobatics, juggling, trapeze or even contemporary flying. These resources are housed in iLearn along with theoretical readings.

Student using the ring in Performance and Circus Studies unit.

Student using the ring in Performance and Circus Studies unit.

“you’re not doing this to get a mark, you’re doing this because these are your contacts in the industry that you want to get into”Both units, in all their practicality, teach skills beneficial for students far beyond their university life. Karen says she encourages students, from day one, to take responsibility for their projects and for one another,

Jon, in convening such a niche subject, emphasised the skills students gain through performance,”this is something that teaches all these life skills, to deal with the pressures like exams and a job interview”.

Both Karen and Jon value student to student and student to teacher interaction, so without consecutive weekly tutorials and lectures, the use of discussion boards in both units is imperative for communications.

Karen uses discussion boards for all student enquiries and questions. When she receives questions via email, she asks students to repost these on the discussion boards, along with her answers, “the discussion board gets a lot of use, mostly assignment clarification”.

Jon utilises the discussion boards in iLearn also, however he notes these are much more useful with his 1st and 2nd year students opposed to third years, “I can post something on the 3rd year class facebook group, there’s 29 students and 23 of them have looked at it in an hour”, so insists it’s important to know who your [student] audience is, and what they use.

Karen’s approach to learning and teaching is that students are responsible for their own learning, quoting “what you get out is what you put in”.

Karen considers it a victory when students don’t complain about iLearn,

“if your students aren’t saying anything, and do all of the required work, you have probably done something right”.

A showreel video from the PERF201 – Performance and Circus Studies performances.

Posted by Lauren Bacigalupo

Events and Project Officer, Learning and Innovation Hub

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