Sunday, April 29, 2007

WMUB should help faculty in the classroom

I have been a listener and contributor for most of my years here at
Miami. I have found the programming to be both informative and often
incite full. Lately, I have been wondering whether it's full
potential to truly educate and inform is significantly realized by
our student body. After polling students in my classes for several
semesters I have come to the conclusion that it is not. I do not
know whether the station has any data to show what percentage of our
students listen to WMUB specifically, or NPR in general, but my
suspicion would be that they (for the most part) do not.

I sincerely believe that the time has come to connect WMUB to our
academic endeavor - in both a purposeful and calculated way. Name a
discipline - and I'm confident I can find multiple relatively recent
segments pertaining to that discipline. To me, it seems like WMUB
needs to begin to emphasize its utility in helping students and
faculty in the classroom. At the same time, it appears to me that
WMUB/NPR is the perfect adjunct to teaching. I personally require my
students to find and listen to at least one broadcast or podcast
relating to topics under discussion.

In my mind, the "Academic Division" of WMUB would work to coordinate
with faculty to help them with the latest comprehensive discussions
in their discipline. Submit your syllabus and let us help you find
information on-line or in broadcast that will help you develop your
class. Coordinating NPR programming with the needs for current
discipline specific content relevant to a whole host of course
offerings would seem like a pretty worthwhile endeavor. I would also
think that with some creative marketing faculty would welcome the
opportunity to have varying points of view on course content,
present day data on the impact of important events or conditions, and/
or news that supplements the curriculum. "Bring your syllabus to
life" might be one of several marketing strategies.

In my mind, I cannot think of a more creative use for a university
public radio station. Not only would this bring the station more in
line with the mission of the university, but it would have the added
impact of increasing listeners and perhaps membership; but more
importantly, it would have the potential to enhance the learning
experience of our students.

The "Academic Division" of WMUB could also work in conjunction with
individual faculty to help them work with their students to "produce"
research for broadcast. Not to say that the old standby - the
Research Paper - is dead, but more and more in the classroom students
are being encouraged to "produce" in other forms. Power Point, multi-
media, overheads, and drama have all begun to find their niche in
classroom assessment - why not broadcasting. Is that area only for
the Communication department? How about a joint/interdisciplinary
project between a group from say, COM 258 and Geography Geo 201, that
results in a 1/2 hour broadcast on the impact of the growing Hispanic
community in Hamilton County? I think that the possibilities are vast.

WMUB has a tremendous impact on the local community and I believe
significant numbers of university faculty and staff also benefit and
participate to a great extent; however, I think that the greatest
opportunity for growth and relevance lies in the 16,000+ students in
the immediate Oxford area. Hey, just think of all the potential NPR
listeners we'll have an opportunity to create.

Just some rambling thoughts from an ardent fan of public radio. You
can file them in the "for what it's worth" column.

--Douglas W. Green M.A.
Assistant Director for Learning Assistance Programs and
Coordinator of Learning Disabilities Services
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio


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