mashup contest: student created video parodies

CNI Project Briefing Tuesday December 11 at 10:30 by Anu Vedantham, director of the Weigle Information Commons and Peter Decherney, Assistant Professor of English and Cinema Studies

Weigle Information Commons (collaborative digital multimedia lab) film trailer mashup contest in collaboration with faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Permission culture vs. remix culture – clash between the two, issues in free culture and copyright. Copyright police (MPAA) targeting higher education. Incoming freshmen are digital natives adept at technology but perpelxed by restrictions and copyright law. U Penn 2008 Video mashup contest rules – any video that uses existing video and remixes it. Tools of digital video manipulation have made digital video remixing has become a part of daily life. Parodied film trailers take well known film trailers and pitch them as other genres (, exposing advertising tactics and deep understanding of digital media. Idea of “transformativeness” that is the nature of parody – transforms the original work to the extent that it performs a different artistic and cultural function. Goal of Penn’s mashup contest was to introduce these ideas to students and integrate mashups into coursework in lieu of terms papers and other traditional assignments.

Contest brought a lot of people into the Information Commons to learn about iMovie, etc., and it helped stimulate discussions about copyright and fair use. Susscessful mashups require storyboarding, groupwork, etc, and sophistication in visual literacy skills. There are many ongoing projects at UPenn that involve video mashups and remixing of popular culture.

All 8 entries to the 2007 mashup contest can be viewed online.

Presentation website – examples of faculty creating classroom assignments that involve remix technologies and how these change the student experience. How are particular clips selected and mashed to convey new and unintended meaning. Using Second Life and other social networks to promote viral marketing among student peers. Students seem to “fall in love” with the remixing process even though it tends to take much more time to complete than a paper. Many more students start projects than finish them. The future of integrating video into assignments in higher education – increasingly, there is more collaboration in classwork, and this lends itself to multimedia development.

The information commons has enabled a whole new area of classroom work – faculty can assign multimedia projects knowing that students have a learning and production reource at the WIC. Writing faculty are starting to create video assignments.

Blending elements of information literacy, technology literacy, and visual literacy – video assignments do this incredibly well. Who are the Penn faculty that are starting to create these new assignments? Traditional early adopters forward their legitimacy. “Being able to farm out the technical education [to the information commons] is the key factor”. The most resistance came from the Humanities faculty, whereas Social Sciences, etc. faculty caught on fast. Penn students all come to the Information Commons to study, whereas many faculty still don’t know it exists… orienting and educating faculty to WIC services and video assignments.

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