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UW Set Design Students Skype with a Playwright

Drama 210 students at the University of Washington finished their quarter projects last week. Students worked in teams to build set design models for the contemporary play Magnificent Waste by Caridad Svich. But instead of gathering inspiration from the script alone, students were able to Skype with Svich, to ask questions at the beginning of the quarter and show her the finished product at the end. For most students in the class, the interaction via Skype made a big difference in their project processes. Sarah Sutin, a pre-architecture student, had this to say about the experience:

When I first read the play I was taken aback at all the immorality and how toxic the characters seem. My picture of the story was bleak. But speaking to the playwright broke my own conceptions and let me see some soul to the story that I had been too shocked to accept. It brought the characters and their world into a more touchable reality.

Their professor, Robert Mark Morgan, has worked with numerous playwrights in the past–many of whom are always eager to be a part of the project. He makes a point to select contemporary writers who take on current issues, or what he calls “the theater of tomorrow”. Both Morgan and his students agree that there is value in this face-to-face communication, as well as extra incentive to do well on the project.

To read the full article from UW Today, click here.

Social Media Class Skypes with Internet Celebs

At the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, students enrolled in the course Social Media Optimization & the New Web learn and become “experts” on web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. They stay up-to-date on the latest trends on the Internet by reading and thinking critically about the industry and reporting on the changes that are occurring.

An interesting part of the class is that students get to Skype with several industry leaders:

Craig Newmark – founder of Craigslist
David Meerman Scott – author of the New Rules of Marketing & PR
Guy Kawasaki – author of The Art of the Start
Zadi Diaz – host of Epic Fu
John Batelle – founder of Wired

Find out more at Inside Higher Ed: Social Media Class Skypes with Internet Celebs

7 Things You Should Know About Skype

Skype is a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) application that lets users make free phone calls between Skype-equipped computers and inexpensive calls between Skype computers and landline or cell phones. Skype functions on a P2P model rather than as a centralized application, and it offers features such as voicemail, call forwarding, conference calling, and video chat. In most circumstances, Skype provides access to voice and video communication for a fraction of what other options cost. It allows more frequent contact between colleagues, collaborators, and friends and permits connections with those not likely to be in touch through conventional phone systems.

Link: http://www.educause.edu/node/162373