When zoom replaces the cinema: Reimagining film studies online during covid-19 through collaborative teaching and community building

Luke Creely, Roberto Letizi, Whitney Monaghan, Grace Russell, Simon Troon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review


Teaching film studies traditionally involves a social process predicated on students and educators gathering communally to view films. COVID-19 has ruptured this process, forcing us to reimagine our teaching and how we might recreate or approximate the interpersonal and social dynamics that are unique and valuable to our discipline. In this article, we reflect on our experience of collaborative teaching in a first year “Introduction to Film Studies” subject at Monash University. The progression of real world circumstances in Australia enforced a series of rapid and significant transformations from a face-to-face teaching model to an entirely digital learning experience for our cohort of 340 students. Our teaching team consisted of five early career screen studies scholars with an established working relationship. Teaching this subject together, we developed a set of collaborative student-centred strategies for engagement, community building and student retention.

This article will discuss several key challenges that we were forced to work through:
transforming our curriculum and content into material for an online environment, learning to navigate the fora at our disposal (Zoom, Google docs, our institution’s Learning Management System), and facilitating active learning via synchronous online tutorials, asynchronous weekly lectures, and a carefully selected film syllabus. Finally, we will consider the fundamental impulse behind these remaking processes: how to create a dynamic film culture online to make film studies meaningful (personally, politically, intellectually, socially) and also a site of relief for our students during this catastrophic moment.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cinema and Media Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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