Screen Studies is a valuable resource for institutions that teach film studies, filmmaking, screenwriting, and more. Learn from the BIMM Institute’s Craig Ennis how Screen Studies has helped course tutors address challenges in curriculum development and day-to-day delivery of course content.
As a bespoke film school we have the advantage of having a particularly focused group of students, keen to develop their skills and knowledge. However, the industry focused and practical nature of the course provides its own challenges, along with the academic underpinning of the modules.
At the same time we have students from a diverse FE background. Our student body mainly consists of those coming from arts courses and technical vocational courses, as well as traditional ‘A’ Levels. Prior student engagement with academic reading and research is very varied.
Screen Studies has helped us develop strategies to address both of these challenges, both in curriculum development and day-to-day delivery.
Staff support for the resource has been very high, the intrinsic value of it was immediately recognized by the whole faculty. Other online libraries seem to offer a much smaller selection of film-specific material. It has made the pairing of specific lecturers with up-to-date written material very easy in both the practical and the theoretical classes.
The tutors have been genuinely enthusiastic when pointing students towards the site which is often referenced and used in classes. For the most part the students have embraced this enthusiasm. In camera and lighting and post-production sessions, students have been keen to engage with the ‘flipped’ reading ahead of time. This helps maximise the amount of ‘hands on’ time during the sessions, and is a popular strategy amongst the students. Students have also been encouraged to book equipment outside of class time to practise with the kit and implement the theory for themselves. This engagement has helped them understand how to provide referenced context in the written elements of the modules.
The differences in academic ability and engagement are most pronounced in film studies modules. The confident students can navigate the site easily and see the value in the range of material available to them. The students who are being introduced to academic concepts for the first time are reassured by the auteur studies and focused study resources. They have been able to lean on these heavily to develop their ability to interpret materials and synthesize arguments. The site is also used practically in one-to-one academic tutorials for all students, to identify bespoke reading materials that are relevant to their own individual essays.