Students present their final assignments in workshops
Students present their final assignments in workshops

In the second semester of 2017, Associates of the CfCSC introduced COMU7102 (Communication for Social Change: Foundations) as part of the new 32 unit Master of Communication Program. We interviewed some of our exceptional Master students about their experiences in the course. Angela Field, Tomas Piccinini, Pradizza (Dizz) Putri, and Fendi Widianto are four students from diverse work and academic backgrounds who participated in the discussion.

With fifteen years of experience in the broadcasting industry prior to returning to university studies, Angela has always been passionate about the use of media for empowerment and engagement.  "Working for the big broadcasting networks just wasn't for me 100% of the time. Doing this course was a way for me to dip my toe in and see whether CSC is for me, and so far I'm loving it,” she said.

Dizz and Fendi both found themselves curious about what CSC could do for their work with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and were intrigued by the content. 

Enrolled in the Master of Business, Tomas describes himself as "an outlier", finding the course while he was struggling to build a sustainability hub at the university.  Tomas says the Centre was recommended to him “by a PhD student in Peru”, and he enrolled hoping he would learn more about engagement processes.

The course, which was taught for the first time in 2017, introduced both Communication for Social Change and Public Relations & Professional Communication students to a broad range of CSC foundational topics.

Students were familiarised with LEGO® Serious Play®, learned about communication relating to health, climate change and disability, found out there was a lot more to discuss about Disney's Moana than they may have realised, and were introduced to the important concepts of participation and social movements in the CSC field.

Covering such a broad range of topics might have been challenging, if it wasn't so interesting for the students.  Many found that learning from so many different experts and researchers during their workshops was an enlightening and intriguing experience.

Dizz found that it broadened her ideas of what CSC could be. 

 "I really liked it. There were many researchers who we'd never met before, we'd never seen their work before," she said. “It's really firmed up our ideas of what CSC can be like in the field." 

Tomas found that the researchers' passion evoked his.  "They're all PhD students or researchers who are passionate about their field, and they got us invested in it," he said. “It was really empowering."

They were further empowered by their own assignments, which were case studies and presentations about real-world projects in the CSC field.

For some, the course provided further inspiration in an area they were already passionate about. 

“It's definitely fuelling a fire that was already there," said Angela. “For me, having the flexibility to explore work in Cambodia in particular has been something I've really enjoyed."

But how do the students feel about their future learning opportunities in CSC after completing this course?

Fendi cannot wait to expand on his foundational knowledge of the field. "I'd like to learn more about designing projects and CSC strategies," he said. “For instance, I really enjoyed the LEGO® tutorial as a participant, but what I thought after the lesson was as a designer how do I implement this?"

Angela found herself with questions about methodology. "I understand this was a foundational course, and I lapped up everything we learned, but I'm hoping in future courses we can learn more about measuring the impact of these projects," she said.

And Tomas can see himself using his new foundational knowledge in all of his future research with the Business School.  "Before I started this course, my head was stuck in the business bubble, but having this new perspective on social movements and the context of so much of our business decision-making has given me a new framework for my future research."

While each student came from different backgrounds and expected different things from the course, each came away with a wider perspective and new ideas.

Upon reflection the students found that, overall, the course was able to broaden their ideas about communication practices, giving them inspiration for their future studies and work, in and outside of the field.

 

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