Re: In-Class Exercises

Daniel Bickley (
Wed, 21 Apr 1999 10:25:13 -0700 (PDT)

Kris: Two ideas I would suggest for you to consider:

>* reading articles about a real public library censorship case, breaking
>into two groups, then having the groups present the opposing

A suburban public library here in the San Francisco Bay Area is involved in
a very interesting censorship case that would be excellent for in-class
debate because there are compelling arguments to be made on both sides of
the issue, unlike in most censorship cases.

The issue involves the request by parent groups that the public library put
"blocking" software in place on the computers in the library so that
children cannot access pornographic and "hate" web sites. The library has
refused to do so, since such software would also prevent adults from
accessing the sites. The parents in turn question whether the library is
the appropriate place for adults to be looking at x-rated web sites in any
event. To me, there are interesting arguments on both sides of this
question, and thus it could stimulate a better in-class debate than many
censorship issues.

>* watching two short documentaries, different styles, subject matter, and
>intended audiences -- then writing 100 word reviews.

A variant on this idea would be to watch two videos with different styles
and approaches but on similar topics, then asking the students to justify
(verbally and/or in writing) which they would _purchase_ for their
collections. Such an exercise forces the students to consider audience,
collection development, budget issues, etc., as they would in the real
world, and also calls on them to make _persuasive_ arguments (rather than
simply judgmental ones, as in a review), an important real-world skill in
any organization or bureaucracy.

Just a couple of thoughts to take or leave.

Best regards,

Dan Bickley

Daniel Bickley
Media Marketing Specialist
University of California Extension
Center for Media and Independent Learning
2000 Center Street, Fourth Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704-1223

Phone: 510-642-1340
Fax: 510-643-9271