Instructor Reflection – NYC, Home of the Homeless (1.1)

By Daniel Phelps

In creating this assignment I wanted to bring together the themes expressed in the readings, research, and various content creation methods that were explored through the semester.

By analyzing the success of other viral videos and Internet memes, the assignment was able to engage the students on a personal level of media understanding. By using examples of what they were unknowingly popularizing in their existing social networks (email, IM, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and blogs), their level of engagement and contribution saw a dramatic increase at what is normally a downturn in the semester. This level of excitement enabled an active discussion of class themes and approaches that carried the students into the final exam.

What makes Anna Charles’ project unique is how she was able to examine the life themes that have driven her and her family while applying them to this open “viral video” project.

Anna’s “NYC, Home For The Homeless” project uses the method of juxtaposition to reinforce her theme of the hidden homeless. Don’t Worry Be Happy provides a lighthearted melody for the visuals and data provided in the piece. The visuals mixed with the music provide an entertaining experience contrasted by a stark reality.

I also enjoy the gaming aspect that that the project uses to draw viewers into the visuals. “How many homeless do you see?”  This question asks the viewer to actively participate with her rhetoric, thus exemplifying the themes expressed in her narrative.  Without this call to action, the project is left without the secondary purpose of educating the audience with the facts of the matter.