Friday, December 21, 2012
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College broadcast and digital communications students from the "Video Production" and "Capstone" courses participated in a non-traditional final exams this month and spread Christmas cheer to residents at the Shenango Home and the Overlook Clinic.
"Instead of a traditional exam during finals period, I wanted to do something that would help students burn off some nervous energy from all the papers and studying during the week. I also wanted to connect it to the outcomes in the courses related to the themes of digital media, teamwork and creating content/messages for a target audience," said Brad Weaver, communications studies lecturer.
He enlisted the help of Seth Morrow, director of Titan Traverse, Westminster College's Adventure Education and Leadership Development program. The program includes a rope course, trust building and problem-solving activities, and a variety of wilderness-based adventure activities.
"I hoped to broaden the students' perspective of community," Morrow said. "Many students view their community as simply the organizations and friendships they have on campus. I wanted to provide a way for them to experience their neighbors right next door to the College."
Morrow created an Amazing Race-like event where students raced in teams of three on a scavenger hunt across New Wilmington. They rushed to locations like the Christian Missionary Alliance Church where the local minister gave the students clues and supplies. They also completed tasks like shooting a play-by-play video of a team member climbing the rock wall at the Field House.
The final clue sent the video production students to the Shenango Home and the capstone students to the Overlook Clinic, where they filled out Christmas cards for residents with holiday wishes from the staff and crew of the Westminster Cable Network (WCN). One hundred cards were delivered to the Shenango Home and 200 to the Overlook Clinic.
"This was so much fun and we had a little competition that connected back to our video production roots," said senior Kaitlin Roth. "The twist here at the end was a great idea. Writing out Christmas cards and delivering them makes it even better. It's nice to reach out and be part of the bigger community."
The video production course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of television production. Students obtain experiences in camera operation, audio, lighting, and editing procedures in correlated laboratory sessions. Participating in television productions is also required.
The broadcast and digital communications capstone course requires the student to research and produce a documentary linked to service-learning goals established at the College. The course is split into two semesters. The first semester focuses on the research and production of the projects. The second semester engages students in the production, post-production and presentation and assessment of the documentaries.
"I'm so happy to be doing this. I know the people at the Overlook will appreciate our Christmas wishes," said senior Courtney Crown. "This really connects back to the service-learning component of our capstone projects."
"It puts you in the holiday spirit to know something you did will make someone smile," said sophomore Anthony Thomas. "This is the kind of exam you will remember and grounds you to know how little things have an impact."
"It is important to engage our students in community service so that the values of humility and selflessness are preserved," Morrow said. "I believe the students were able to get a glimpse of the simple ways that we can serve people."
Contact Weaver at (724) 946-7238 or email for additional information.
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 377 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.
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Students sign cards for residents of the Shenango Home and Overlook Clinic.
A student signs Christmas wishes for residents at a local senior living center.
A student takes video of a fellow student climbing the rock wall as part of their final exam.