The Interactive Voice is Professor Robert Kalm’s course blog for Quinnipiac University’s graduate class, 506 Writing for Interactive Media. Sections are also taught by Professors Lisa M. Nichols and Jennifer Bouchard.

This MS in Communications course exists entirely on the Web to teach content creation and the language of idea execution within the online world. Students explore interactive communications by creating and experimenting with pseudonymous Web presences free of their bylines.

The professor and class communicate primarily through blog posts, comments, tweets under the hashtag #506iv, and other forms of social media to build online conversations. A convincing, engaging virtual classroom fosters students who can interact well in virtual arenas everywhere. This is a skill to promote. We believe in the online classroom.

A student early in the course history posted her “idea pitch” assignment in the form of a letter to a famous individual she admired and that individual responded with interest, both exciting and terrifying the student. In that exchange one sees the potential of the course. It is like no previous writing course and should evolve as such. Our students can publish immediately and little has prepared them for the opportunity or responsibility.

ICM 506 is designed to reinvigorate the student’s desire to write, research, develop, and implement their own concepts. Through encouraging personal interests and viewpoints, we not only reboot their writing ability, but also give them a sound starting point for the semesters ahead. We ask for words with goals, so students ask, why am I in a graduate program? What do I hope to begin?

This design also responds to the broad experience and diversity in our student body. Young students fresh out of undergraduate school or with a few years experience in the difficult economy, as well as veteran reporters and producers struggling to grasp the volatile media landscape, can all benefit from a written review of their goals and reevaluation of their communication abilities. Exploring the variety of their concerns interactively makes the class richer for every student.

This is a writing course. The course faculty are writers. Our course thesis is: words are the cornerstone of all forms of communication, whether articles, screenplays, algorithms, wireframes, proposals, or tweets. If you cannot define your goals in words, then you do not understand them yet.

Like all theses, ours is debatable. Our individual lectures are similar strong theses provoking strong written responses from the students. These argumentative lectures stress writing as part of a debate in order to stress the conversation that is now part of all interactive media. We do not want immature students that boast, preach, or snark; we want interactive students that participate, learn, and share.

The course has evolved into an Interactive Voice itself, generating an ebook, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts, in addition to this blog. This allows the professor to experiment with a Web presence right alongside the class.

Blog posts include lectures written by the professor and, eventually, articles by course alumni and Interactive Media professionals. Either are welcome to submit content. You can see inventive and remarkable examples of student participation in the course here.

If you are interested in participating in 506 or in the ICM program as a student, please contact the admissions office.

Students with questions about the course should contact the professor:


Professor Robert Kalm
Email: robert.kalm(at)quinnipiac.edu
Skype: dotkalm Twitter: @bumpspark
Questions can be emailed or posted to Twitter using the #506iv hashtag.

The Interactive Voice is now on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tagboard.