The “foreign expert permit” I got this time classified me as a “university teacher of media communications”. This very classification was a hint that this was more likely to be affirmed tenure — rather than a temporary “language teacher permit”. The “foreign experts” office in Beijing were very helpful — they even got my postcode on the licence, in case things went missing.
I’ve deliberately chosen a lighter teaching schedule as I’m going to be doing loads of scholarly papers from now on (my lessons right now are “just” English and Communication Theory). These two years in London have linked me with a lot of influential academics and I’m also a lot “richer” in media-related knowledge. Those many hours at Harrow Library were a big boon — although I’ll likely miss the “speaking permitted” part of the library on the 1st floor…
By the way, I now teach classes with upwards of a hundred students. Whilst it’s great spending many hours in front of the mic teaching them the basics of academic English and media, something in me says that there’s more results when classes are smaller. So I guess there’s already a new challenge for me. Oh well… it’s not I’ve never be challenged before. Bring ’em on, kids! Let me not merely teach, but also inspire you all! ▶
I am academically involved here at the Communication University of China with lessons and research underway — and as part of these commitments, I was asked to give two seminars to International Media students here for their MA. The specific lesson I presented was in Theories of Communication.
We had upwards of around 30 students, and students were basically from all over the world — Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. It was my task to present two lessons to them, which I did with pleasure:
- Special Lecture: Social Media and China: This was easily my trademark lesson, where I told students how social media worked in China — and I could easily pull this off, as I had years of experience.
- Media Matters! The Role of Media in Information Society: This was as “theoretical” as was “practical”, and as my PhD dissertation didn’t stray away too far from this, I could merge experience with theory. ▶
As of late I’ve graduated in semi-stealth with a PhD (or rather, “Doctor of Arts”) in communications (especially social media) from the Communication University of China. (It’s where, supposedly, people must have been taught how to communicate with one other — although I’ll lay off the “making-fun-of-my-alma-mater” for now…)
Seriously, I’ve kept the PhD thing very low key. That’s because there’s a lot of wild academics in China who are wild — because they’ve that PhD thingy themselves.
For the last three years, I’ve been, instead, travelling by train as much as I can. I wanted to discover, outside classes, the real China. The poor bits. The rich bits. The bits and bobs that are ugly, cruel, crass, but also those that are cool, neat, advanced, “wow”-ish and most importantly, real.
After three years of the whole PhD show, I can say that not only have I come out with an original dissertation on how to tame social media better (whilst not losing out to either anarchy or authoritarianism), but that I’ve also seen the country — China — much better. ▶
For my MA in presenting and linguistics at the Communication University of China, my thesis was on first comparisons between main news shows in China and those in other countries. About three years passed since I got my MA, so I thought it would be a good time to do a return visit to my professor’s class and to give them up an update on how things were doing in recent years.
I had all of my video clips as presented in my original thesis ready, and quite a few of these were rather more updated. Obviously, due to the fact that my thesis compared Chinese news with those from a host of other countries — including Switzerland, Germany, and even North Korea, this from the outset was going to be something completely different. The highlight, interestingly, was from North Korean TV, where the propaganda announcer read the news in a hysterical voice which sounded like totally unlike any other news channel I focused on. Some found it funny; others were just staring trying to figure out what was being said. ▶
Just graduated today from the university… Master of Arts. Wow. These are a few of the greatest shots from my graduation at the China Media University (Communication University of China). I got a Master’s Degree in Arts – and a doctorate is on the drawing board!
Macs, media, and new projects, as well as an eventual doctorate in law… that’s next for me! I’m going to keep the Mac user group afloat, while hoping to get into the media biz, and at the same time, do other “innovative projects”. ▶