Grade 11 students ventured off on a tour of Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) last week. On Wednesday, April 17, we had the opportunity to experience what a lecture is like at CMU. The university is very small, with less than 600 students, providing students with the opportunity to actively participate in discussion-based lectures. We were given the opportunity to experience what it was like to sit in on a class lecture with professors explaining what that specific class had to offer, their major focal points, and how they teach. We split into two groups depending on which course we were more interested in.
Journalism: Does it make peace or war?
Sound & Screen: The Dynamic Between Seeing and Hearing
Editor's note: Both chose one lecture over the other – Natasha, Journalism; Saije, Sound & Screen – and so we are sharing their thoughtful reflections at the end of this post — continue reading.
We believe most of our peers felt very comfortable with the small class size and learning environment at CMU, as the student–professor ratio is so similar to ours at Balmoral Hall. It truly allows for a one-on-one, engaging, and hands-on learning experience for students. Later, after the sit-in, we were taken on a tour of the CMU campus where we were able to walk the halls and get a feel for university life. Also, we were able to see the CMU auditorium, where multiple events and music performances take place, and, following the auditorium tour, we were taken to the CMU athletic centre where we learned that CMU participates in the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC), playing against teams like Brandon University and Providence University. After a refreshing walk across to the library, we were able to see the wonderfully modern architecture and a multitude of students studying for exams, concluding the tour. We were also treated with a quick gelati treat from Folio Café.
Overall, we truly feel that CMU has such a rich and welcoming learning environment and is definitely a great place to study for students looking for a small, close-to-home university with strong hands-on learning and a great student–professor ratio. We would like to thank Mrs. McDonald for organizing this tour for the Grade 11s, who truly appreciated the experience, as well as Ms Boonstra and Ms O'Brien-Klewchuk for attending with us.
Journalism: Does it make peace or war? by Natasha Hofer, Grade 11
Through interactive discussion, David Balzer, assistant professor of communications and media, addressed peace journalism, the art of communication, and how stories are constructed. He began by examining the idea of communication and the role that media plays in this communication. The power to send messages to the public about current events belongs to news outlets, who create and shape dialogue in society. This responsibility comes with huge amounts of power. How this power is used is at the discretion of the news outlets. The professor recounted his own experiences in the field and explained how this power can be exercised. He shared a story about when he worked at a local radio station called CJOB. He explained one way that he kept control over the discussions on the channel. When someone called in to the station and began to talk, he could cut them off at the end of a breath, to either make his own comments on the topic or change the subject. We also learned about how stories are constructed. They start with a lead which includes the five Ws (what, where, when, why, and who), followed by important facts, then the "least important information." The information that a journalist decides to put in a story, and where they put this information within the story, can change the readers' perception of the events that occurred. One part of the lecture that I found particularly interesting was when we watched a speech Donald Trump gave in Saudi Arabia and discussed keywords and ideas that we thought should be included in a story about the event. This hands-on approach to teaching really added to the interactive nature of the lecture and provided a deeper understanding of the choices journalists make when deciding what to include in a story. The professor also explained that since journalists tend to gravitate towards stories of violence and extremism, a new form of journalism has been developed to balance this out called peace journalism. Peace journalists report on positive events going on globally that are leading to a more peaceful world.
Sound & Screen: The Dynamic Between Seeing and Hearing by Saije Catcheway, Grade 11
To speak on behalf of my experience and what the tour had to offer, it was truly something special. Anna Nekola, assistant professor of music, did such a lovely job at sharing not only what Sound & Screen is and what they do but also her admiration and knowledge of the course poured out for us in such a caring and teachable way. She gave us examples from some film clips and asked us to recognize how the sound affected the way we felt and viewed the film. Ultimately, what she was teaching can be summarized in a quote from the music writer, Nicolas Cook, on how music is a hidden persuader: "If the sound behind an image could make you see it differently, then the altered image makes you hear the sound differently."