CUTF Introduction: Harry Potter and the Multimedia Midterm Project

Annabeth Collis

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…

I’m Annabeth Collis, and I’m a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m majoring in English Literature and also getting a certificate in Children’s Literature. For my CUTF project, I am working with Dr. Lori Campbell-Tanner in her class ENGLIT 0647: Harry Potter: Blood, Power, Culture.

As a fellowship participant and recipient, I am responsible for overseeing the midterm projects for Dr. Campbell-Tanner’s course. For the midterm, students enrolled in this course will be creating a multimedia project (referred to as “Magic Study 1” on the course syllabus) that involves both a written analysis component and a visual component. In addition to their written exploration of one, specific aspect of the Harry Potter series, students will be creating either a video essay or a PowerPoint presentation to accompany their literary analysis. As the students select, develop, and refine their topics for their presentations, I will be counselling the students on their projects. At this point in the semester, I have also already completed my own example project for the students to reference and have given a demonstration of the presentation component of the project. My example analysis and PowerPoint will be available on the class Canvas page for the entirety of the term. By having this example available to them as they conduct their own research and analysis, students will be familiar with the expectations for this project and will understand that there are a variety of visual techniques and strategies for communicating their thoughts and ideas via a visual medium.

As an individual who has experienced this class as a student and now as an undergraduate teaching assistant, I have a deep appreciation for the objectives of this course and how beneficial this class can be to students who are studying a wide array of academic disciplines. Dr. Campbell-Tanner’s course — and more specifically, this midterm project — allows students to hone in on aspects of the Harry Potter novels that directly relate to real-world social, material, and political issues. With this multimedia midterm project, students will get the chance to examine Rowling’s recent comments, controversies, and maintained involvement with Harry Potter and will have the chance to explore how the Harry Potter series portrays and interacts with race, gender, and methods of activism.

Right now, my current professional goals involve doing as much learning, reading, writing, and teaching as I can while at Pitt. Because I am not quite sure what I want to do after college, I want to have as many experiences as I can to help me discover what my next steps are after I graduate. As of right now, I know that I enjoy teaching and working with students. I also love writing, both in fictional and academic capacities, so having a career that involves these things would also be ideal. Regardless of if I pursue teaching or writing, this CUTF project will give me more chances to experience teaching at the collegiate level and to help students develop their literary ideas. By working closely with the students in this class, I know that I will be exposed to even more ideas about the Harry Potter novels that I have not yet considered. In the process of completing this CUTF project, I will learn more about Rowling’s iconic novels while also learning about teaching and interacting with students.

To end this post, I will share a little bit about my life outside of the classroom: I’m from a suburb of Buffalo, New York, and one thing I love about my hometown is that it’s only 25 minutes away from Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is one of my favorite places to go whenever I’m home, whether I’m hiking in the Niagara Gorge with my brother or walking along the edge of the Falls at night when the lights are shining on the water. The picture at the beginning of the blog post is me at Niagara Falls this past June.

I’m very excited that I have the opportunity to participate in the CUTF, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the other fellows are doing in their classes!

Mischief managed.

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