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Cause in a Classroom

Purpose

Cause in a Classroom is the name for the methodology and visually showcased results of some of the field work assignments my college-level students have engaged in. It also highlights the related methodology I designed when I ran a small internship program at Brooklyn College.

Whether it's a field work assignment or the internship program, both are designed to help the students develop professionally, academically and personally. This approach is anchored by emphasizing, through workshops, classroom content and authentic, community-based engagement, the development of soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, creativity, communication skills, etc. Their accomplishments can be showcased visually using a Wix website and/or on Linkedin. According to a survey by the National Academy of Colleges and Employers, among the top 10 skills employers are seeking in candidates are teamwork, problem solving, communication skills (written and verbal), leadership and creativity. My field-work assignments are purposely designed to help the students develop and showcase these exact skills.

 

Short Internship Programs at Brooklyn College

I designed and ran a small internship program, SLATE (Service Learning Aimed Toward Employment), that integrated soft and hard skills for the interns to more effectively serve local populations in need. The workshops placed a strong emphasis on social media and multimedia for professional purposes and social good. The participants either served local nonprofits or on-campus organizations.

 

Video highlights of the short internship program I created and coordinated at Brooklyn College, part one (5 min.).

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I filmed both of these videos (part 1 and 2) on my iphone with budget lighting and audio equipment, a skill set that I taught the interns during workshops at Brooklyn College. The interns applied these skills sets to support local nonprofits with their social media needs and to visually showcase their accomplishments on their Linkedin profiles.  
 

 

Online Courses that Integrated Fieldwork 

During COVID, I assigned fieldwork assignments (only outdoor work was permitted) in my online Critical Thinking classes at BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College). In teams, the students integrated text, photos and videos that profile, through academic and creative expression, pressing issues in their own neighborhoods when classes shifted online during COVID. All fieldwork assignment teams posted their work on a free version of Wix.  

Service Learning Integrated with Academics in General Education courses

 

Student testimonials about their project-based work in the Critical Thinking course at BMCC. Video length: 5 min.

In our Critical Thinking class at BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY), the freshman students applied their course academics by helping clients at local nonprofits. This 5-min. video documents the students' engagement with social media platforms that showcases their engagement and self-empowering accomplishments.

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Multimedia-Research Projects develop critically important soft and hard-skill sets for professional and personal development.

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Multimedia Projects 

In our Critical Thinking class at Brooklyn College in 2017, the students were assigned a multimedia-research project that focused on the challenges they faced as incoming freshman. The students used social media platforms to document and showcase their engagement with these assigned projects. We integrating their hard skills (i.e., reading and writing) with developing their "soft skills," such as leadership, teamwork and conflict-resolution development. Length of video:5 min.

About Me

A Leibman has taught students at CUNY (BMCC, Brooklyn College and John Jay College) for the past 12 years. During that time, his teaching methodology has evolved towards integrating both soft and hard skills into his department's curriculum to help his students develop academically and professionally. 

In addition to passionately exploring innovative methods to provide college students relevant and socially consequential assignments, he's the creator of SeaofSalvation.comwhich serves as his professional video and photography portfolio. His videography/short filmmaking experience is extensive. He has worked as a full-time TV-news field cameraman/editor/producer (NBC affiliate stations in Sioux Falls and Atlantic City) and as a freelance studio cameraman on live news shows at MSNBC and CNN. 

He has shot, edited and produced short documentaries that have appeared in film festivals. He is currently teaching iphone videography workshops, as that skill set is increasingly in demand for professional and academic purposes as video explodes on all of the social media platforms. When he's not working, he can often be found enjoying warm and cold water swims with his pals at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, or as its affectionately called,  “The medicinal waters off the coast of Southern Brooklyn".

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