Introduce yourself and what is your role within the Media and Communications department?
I’m Peter Marcato, I am a lecturer here at Swinburne Uni in media and communication, and teach across undergraduate and postgraduate. In areas like broadcasting including radio and podcasting, and also a little bit of journalism too.
What can you tell us about your experience working at Swinburne, and the overall campus environment?
Yeah, I think it’s a good environment that we work in.
The good part about Swinburne is we’re quite a practical university. So, you learn a whole bunch of new skills, you refine skills you’ve already got.
Particularly for students who come in in the post grad area, who are looking to move from one industry to another and they want to build their skills in that particular area. It’s quite hands on in that regard, because you can do a lot of courses, and they are quite theoretical in terms of reading a lot of materials, writing a lot of essays and that sort of thing. So, there is a bit of a combination there but the good part is, one of the key selling points is that it’s quite a practical course.
The University also I guess has a real diversity to it. It’s great particularly in the post graduate space, that we have international students. Not just from one particular area, but from all over the world and the experiences that they bring to the overall group in terms of what we are studying and what we are talking about, particularly in the media space, because it can be different in so many different places, I think is a great thing. The campus is pretty well set out, yes there is a lot of people on campus, but that adds to a sense of vibrancy around it and we can also start working on projects and give students the opportunity to come up with their own projects, and their own ideas and help facilitate and support those as well.
As a broadcaster and someone who works in the industry, what skills can students undertaking this course gain upon the completion of the degree?
So, for those who have no experience, I will just use radio as the example. For those who have no experience, what we are doing with our course offering now is working on the basics. So, what are the basic skills? How do you operate the various bits and pieces of equipment? What is it about presentation style and how do you develop your presentation style? We work on things like voice over for example, so we get that sense of okay, here’s how you use your voice.
We cover areas such as radio news, we look at talkback radio, we look at marketing and promotion too. It’s designed to give an overview of the industry. For those who are more advanced there’s going to be more of an advanced stream that’s going to run, that’s going to be based around audio feature and audio documentary. So, for those students who do have those skills but want to develop them to a higher level, there will be that opportunity as well to develop a major project based around audio, and of course looking at podcasting too, because there has obviously been that explosion in podcasting and looking at how podcasts are created. But also, the key elements because we know that with the technology now it is easy to set up your own podcast. But how do you actually get that to cut through the thousands and thousands of podcasts that are out there in the marketplace at the moment and what are the key things you need to identify?
What can you tell us about the wider Master of Media and Communications degree?
We have have done postgraduate study before, in a number of different areas. It’s been for a large degree; it’s been lots of academic sort of things. So, if you want to go and do your PHD and all that sort of stuff, then come and do honours, the honours year and that still happens.
But now we’ve got a lot more of a practical stream and the idea was to try and get students in together to cover some of the general areas that you need to know. So for example, talking about freelancing, and how you establish yourself, if you want to go out on your own and have your own career.
That ability to go out and network, and work with people not just in the Australian context, but also internationally as well. To be able to take on multi-media projects, was also another big focus for us. So, not just focussed on audio, not just focussed on video, but how you put the whole thing together, to create things like for example this website.
So, all of these different elements are coming together and then obviously the practical skills. So, if you are not familiar with audio and you want to work on audio, we give you that opportunity. The same thing with video, the same thing with operating in the social media environment, because obviously we have seen an explosion in that area too. So, we want to make sure that there was a wide variety of skills, but also having a strong group mentality as well. So, in that first year working through the grad certificate and the grad diploma, you have got the opportunity to all be together and to all share your experiences and then have the opportunity to take that, to a Master’s level where you can really refine those.
For those who are interested in finding more information on the Master of Media and Communications course, where can they find it?
So www.swinburne.edu.au is the place to go, which if you look at all of our course offerings, you can get not just information and overview of the course, but you can actually see specifically what each unit is, and what it entails and how it actually all fits together. Not a lot of universities have that, we have a lot of information on the website.
Open Day which occurs just before second semester starts each year, is a good opportunity to come down, we do have post graduate opportunities there. The website also will have information for specifically for post grad information nights. Now not during the day but nights, so people who work for example, or are caring for children and that sort of thing, and can’t get down to the campus during the day, there are night information sessions which run periodically throughout the year. And the other important thing is, that you can sign up at the start of the year, you can also enrol if you want to mid-year as well. So there’s plenty of opportunity to decide, and you can also go at your own pace. So, you can do the full course if you go to Master’s level and do it over 2 years, or you can spread it out and take a little bit longer depending on your individual circumstances.