Within one month of the end of the program, the director/lead administrator must submit a summary report to the Overseas Study Advisory Council (OSAC) via the Office of Overseas Study. To do so, please complete this form and provide the requested information. For the three Educational Program Outcomes questions, please ensure that you *provide enough detail for OSAC to be able to adequately review and reauthorize the program.* The 500 word limit for each of these questions allows for approximately one full page of text per question. If there is not enough information provided, the report will need to be revised and resubmitted. Note: for ease of use, and for your own records, it is advised that answers be drafted in a word document and then cut/pasted into the form itself. There is no feature to save your work and return to it later.
Report submitter name: Eliza Erxleben
Report submitter email address: email@example.com
Program name/title: Short Film Making in Prague
Program location(s): Prague, Czech Republic
Program dates (ex. 2022, June 15 – July 3): 13 May – 3 June 2023
Program instructor(s): Professor Susan Kelly
Program instructor(s) email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
IU Campus: IUB
IUB School: The Media School
Number of participants: 12
Summary description of the student participants (credit/non-credit enrollment, graduate/undergraduate status, most common major, class standing, distribution by campus, etc.)
All students were undergraduates taking the course for 3-credits
All students were residents of the IU Bloomington campus
Students were all rising juniors, juniors, or graduating seniors
Eleven students were in the Media School, one was in the Theater Dept.
Two students were in Journalism
One student was in Advertising
Six students had concentrations in Film, Television and Digital Production
One student was a Theater major
Two students had concentrations in Cinema Studies
All IU faculty and staff who served as on-site staff for the program completed the required online Campus Security Authority training
For programs that fall under the IU Programs Involving Children policies, institutional protocols were followed
Outcomes: How did it go? Please provide concrete examples of how the integration of the overseas setting (e.g. excursions, fieldwork, structure) enhanced the educational and intercultural experience for students *in practice* (vs. how you thought it was going to happen). Describe how you feel these activities could be improved in the future to enhance student learning. (limited to 500 words)
The combination of the daily trip through Prague to the classroom (held inside castle’s walls), plus the city tour, the Terezin tour, the trip to Berlin, and the daily city exploration prompts, and journal entries all worked to help students gain and broaden their understanding and knowledge of other cultures and translate this into short films.
During the Prague city tour our guide helped bring the current conflict in Ukraine into focus by helping the students understand why and how much the Czech people distrust Russia because of their own history of being invaded by Russia and the suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968. Students largely did not, and had not, thought about the Ukraine war until they saw it daily on TV in Prague, and heard stories about how many Ukrainian refugees the Czech Republic was taking in. They had no history of Prague until this trip and were reduced to tears by the moving stories by our guide. Because of this, three student films featured archival footage of the demonstrations during the velvet revolution and two student films explored the founding history of the city.
The students essentially had no knowledge of WWII or the holocaust (yikes!). The trip to Terezin was gut wrenching for them. We had multiple group hugs and crying sessions while at the camp. Three student films explored facets of their reactions to what they learned, saw, and felt.
The students had a museum pass while in Berlin, which let them see about a gazillion museums in three days. Most took advantage and had their heads spun around by all the art. They were particularly drawn to the Egyptian relics. Four student films focused on what the art in the museums evoked in them.
Berlin is also a city that acknowledges Germany’s role in WWII with public art and historical exhibits. The students who followed this itinerary reported a deeper understanding of Germany’s role in WWII and spoke about making the connection between the concentration camp in Terezin with the stories told by the public art in Berlin. They got how the two countries had a shared history, much in the same way they began to understand why so many of the Czech people feel a deep connection to the Ukrainian people through their shared invasion by Russia. These connections appeared in their daily journal entries and subsequently in some of their films.
The daily city exploration prompts students out into Prague. One student ended up making a documentary about an immigrant’s experience opening a bakery in Prague, another student made a film focusing on the public art in Prague, another looked at the history of communism in Prague and the velvet revolution.
Because this was the first time I taught the course at the CIEE facility, and as a smart phone only short film class, I did quite a bit of watch, listen, and learn. This may have appeared as a weakness to students as I adjusted some assignments for better class outcomes, but that is the nature of teaching, we keep learning and shifting with our students and circumstances.
As a possible area of improvement, I gave far less critical feedback on student projects than I give when teaching in Bloomington, or that students received when the class was taught through FAMU. When students made films through FAMU the faculty there gave such direct and challenging feedback that students were largely reduced to tears. American students find the European teaching approach very difficult. While I am a proponent of direct and illuminating discussion of student’s creative choices in their films, and I do think our students are mollycoddled from birth, I don’t think telling someone their work is crap, which has happened at FAMU, should be done. I know I could have spent more time critiquing student work, but would that have added an unnecessary stress to what is already a bit of an overwhelming experience for these kids? Rather than critique, I asked softball questions about choices made, did they achieve their goal, were they happy with their work: broad, easy to answer, emotion-based rather than logic-based questions requiring emotional rather than critical thinking. In the writing of this I realize more critical thinking is needed.
Outcomes: How did it go? Please describe the reflection activities undertaken in the field and how they impacted the student learning experience *in practice* (vs. how you originally envisioned it working), including a couple of examples that illustrate this. How do you feel these opportunities for reflection could be adjusted in the future to enhance student learning? (limited to 500 words)
In this three-week creativity workshop, students think about, write about, develop, structure and photograph/capture stories they discover. From city exploration prompts, we will find inspiration from the sights, sounds and emotional complexity of the beautiful cities of Prague and Berlin. With a focus on nimble, streamlined storytelling, students use smart phones as the primary recording technology.
In the classroom we brainstorm, workshop, share, develop, shape and discuss stories and creative choices. Most of the time is spent outside the classroom exploring the environment and finding stories.
Students participated in several reflection activities:
Daily Pages were due at the beginning of each class. Students date each entry, write, and then take a picture of the pages to show the professor. Instructions:
- Set a timer
- Write for a minimum of 10 minutes without stopping or picking up your hand (or longer).
- Keep your hand moving. No matter what, don’t stop.
Write whatever comes to your mind. If you keep your hand moving, the
writing will win.
- You are free to write the worst junk in the world. This is a mind dump. Just
- If you can, be specific. Use nouns, verbs, colors, textures that specify rather
- Don’t think. Stick with your “first thoughts” not your thoughts on thoughts.
Forget everything else outside of the immediate words you are writing down.
Stay with those words, in that moment.
- Don't worry about spelling, punctuations or grammar. Keep your hand
moving and write clearly enough so you can read it later if you want.
- Fear yourself of expectations and judgements, and kill your critic.
- If somethig comes up while you're writing, keep writing about it. Dig down,
face fears, be surprised.
- Let this mulch and burble. What stories can be found in this writing?
City exploration prompts and journal entries examples (there were 15 total prompts):
- Walk across the Charles Bridge (Karluv most)
- Look at the 30 statues and single one out. Who are these people to have
earned a spot on the bridge? What did they do? Imagone one as a child,
such at St Luthgard and imagine choices they made, or decisions they had
to make, or decisions made for them by their culture. After thinking about
this person, made permanent in stone, shift your gaze to the crowd. Find
someone in the crowd and imagine what they will do/have done to
become a statue on a bridge.
- Take a picture of the statues and of the person you've lighted upon.
- From your imagination, what do they have in common (statue and person)?
- List character traits they share that led to their inevitable commemoration
- How do they feel about their lives on their death bed? Why? What have they
sacrificed by their choices? What have they gained by their choices? What is
their last thought before they die?
- Write about it and/or take pictures/videos, or make an audio journal about it.
Plan to share with the class.
I am torn if this is a weakness or not: Even though I provided many reading options, I did not require the readings nor hold students accountable for readings using assessment tools such as quizzes. The essence of the class might have been disrupted by taking this traditional path of education: read and test. Just writing this has convinced me it was not a weakness, but I’ll leave it here for further contemplation.
Students needed more structure on the trip to Berlin. By this I mean I need to tell them exactly what they have to do and see and report on. I gave them multiple itineraries, but did not require any of them, so some students reported being overwhelmed by all the choices and longed to get back to the more manageable Prague.
Outcomes: How did it go? What were the key learning outcomes for the program (academic, cultural, personal and professional) and how were they measured? Please provide a summary of the outcomes, including your thoughts on the outcomes data itself (limited to 500 words)
Learning Goals- By the end of this course students will have:
- lived in a European capital city
- navigated a domestic and an international airport
- lived with an unknown roomate for three weeks
- traveled, studied and shared stories with fellow IU students
- conquered public transportation in teo international captial cities
- visited Terezin, a former concentration camp from WWII
- visited Berlin; explored Prague, inside and out
- written morning pages
- kept a daily travel journal by documenting exploration prompts
- developed daily experiences into stories
- created written and visual stories from prompts
- compiled a portfolio of travel stories
Learning Experiences- In order to achieve the learning goals for this course,
- travel on their own to Prague
- live in Prague for three weeks with a roomate
- take public transportation troughout Prague and Berlin
- visit Tererzin and Berlin
- have a free weekend to travel and explore Prague
- write for ten minutes or more everyday
- keep a journal of your travel experiences by responding to exploration
- develop ideas from exploration prompts into stories
- make three short visual stories from exploration prompts
- create a portfolio of journal entries and short films
Students were measured through course assignments and post-program experience survey.
1. 50% 12 City exploration prompts with journal entries: written, visual, or
2. 50% 4 short visual stories
The students and I created a grade contract negotiated at the beginning of the course. I sat with each of them and determined what grade they wanted and then created a contract of what was needed to achieve that grade. Each student achieved their contracted grade which resulted in grades of “A” for each student. Post-program experience results included in attachments.
Describe any concerns about the program facilities, housing, logistics, on-site staff support, etc.
Classes were held at the beautiful CIEE facility within castle walls.
- Students shared apartments in the same CIEE owned building, either two or
four per apartment. Each had a living space, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
- We had a great Holiday Inn Express in Berlin with a great breakfast included.
- Students were provided with one meal a day (breakfast) and a welcome
dinner. Beyond that they were responsible for their own food.
List any issues concerning student academic performance, health, safety, conduct or behavior experienced on the program: Describe any concerns that you or others might have. For significant incidents, please submit the Office of Overseas Study Incident Report form with your report
There were no reported issues other than a lost walled. No one even
caught a cold, which is amazing. And no Covid! Some students reported
feeling homesick, which is expected.
If applicable, submit Office of Overseas Study Incident Response form here. N/A
Describe any aspects of the program that changed from the original proposal or the most recent iteration of the program
Provide reflections on any issues or concerns that were raised by the Overseas Study Advisory Council during the program approval process.
Describe any changes you would recommend for the future, if any
- I think the biggest issue what students and their parents were confused
by the actual cost of the program. I think just the cost of Prague was
advertised, so the course fees paid to IU came as a sticker shock. We
need to be more careful about how we advertise the program cost. This
has been addressed with our planning and communications team. Give
more accurate information about the actual cost of the program to
students and parents.
- Built into the budget was $100 per student. CIEE had this in case (Czech
Korunas) when we arrived, and we distributed it to each student. This helped
the students bypass the inital fear of using the ATM cards and machines and
gave them money for food as long as they could make it last. One one
student had cash left at the end of the three weeks and one student lost
half of his cash.
- We need a contract with CIEE in hand before promoting the class and
- It would be great if we had more applicants, but I know how hard everyone
works to get the word out.
- Give more structured assignments on the Berlin trip; Spend one more night
- Find a better way to get museum passes in Berlin and move the orientation
in Berlin to our hotel. We had to travel far too much to get between places.
- Build-in a goodbye dinner.
Indicate when you anticipate that the program would likely take place again.
Completed Program Location Form(s) - Clery Act Compliance
Summary of student program evaluation data
If the program had a service-learning focus or engaged students in volunteer experience, please include a letter from the host community or host organization(s) (or other appropriate documentation) which outlines the outcomes for the host community.
Optional: If you have any photos from your trip that you would like to share for use on our website and social media, please upload them here. Please give preference to high-resolution photos that include IU students. If you have any more info or captions you would like to share alongside the photos, please enter that in the question field below.
Photo captions: If possible, please include additional info about the photos. (e.g. smith_greece.jpg - Pictured here is a group of IU students on our class trip to The Acropolis of Athens.)