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New media technology shapes Professor Dailey’s teaching style

October 1, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Communication Studies

Entering his 21st year of teaching, Dr. John C. Dailey, new assistant professor of radio/television/video, has been on the cutting edge of media technology for years, and now he hopes to share some of his hard-earned wisdom with Ozarks students.

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Dr. John C. Dailey, new assistant professor of radio/television/video, hopes to share some of his hard-earned wisdom with Ozarks students.

Dr. Dailey, known by his students simply as Dr. John, grew up in Springfield, Mo., and comes from a long line of educators.

"I suppose teaching is in my genes. Both sets of parents and both sets of grandparents have taught at some time in my life. My grandfather, Dr. Lawrence Edgar Pummill, was chair of the mathematics department at Missouri State University for years. As a little kid, I remember walking with my grandfather on campus at Missouri State and how much everyone loved him. He was an amazing teacher, and my mom always told me I would love the life of a college professor," Dailey said.

Despite his early awareness of the world of education, Dailey didn’t begin his career planning to be a teacher.

"As an undergraduate student, I was undecided. After six years, I had transferred twice and finally received my bachelor’s in general studies in 1980 from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Along the way, I discovered television, and it was just too much fun to think about doing anything else."

Dailey spent the 1980s and early ’90s developing his broadcasting career.

"I started working for an NBC affiliate in Lexington primarily doing things like operating studio cameras, working with lighting, and set design. Basically, I was a floor director," he said. "Eventually, I got into working in the control room and was fascinated by all those pretty buttons. I especially enjoyed learning how special effects work. I was one of those people who took the manuals home to study them, and I ended up teaching myself how early digital effects systems worked."

Dailey’s knowledge of early digital systems proved invaluable to his career and was his first opportunity to teach technology to others.

"I basically became an interpreter for others at the station, explaining how these complicated systems worked," he said. "I became a director and moved across town to begin working for a CBS affiliate. As a director and master control operator, I was teaching people all the time how to do various things, and I did really like it. I seem to have infinite patience for teaching people technology, because I realize that not everyone will learn it the same way."

After spending a decade working in broadcasting, Dailey decided to pursue graduate work with the hope of eventually becoming a college professor.

"I received my master’s degree in communication from University of Kentucky," Dailey said. "After that, I wanted to move back to Missouri to be closer to family. I began studying for my Ph.D. at University of Missouri at Columbia while teaching some undergraduate classes. Because I had a professional career in broadcasting, I was able to teach basically anything I wanted. It was great, because I was able to design fun and interesting multi-media classes."

Dailey’s approach to teaching multi-media technology has proven itself time again, and he has big plans for his time at Ozarks.

"I’ve been hired twice to basically invent new multi-media programs; first at Missouri State, then again at Ball State," Dailey said.  "One of the reasons I came to Ozarks was to help move forward with new media courses. It will start out slowly with just a course or two, but as time goes on, there will be more courses about new interactive media.  For example, this spring I plan to teach a course about web design for mass media use. It will focus more on websites that are used for television outlets, newspapers, etc. More often than not, stories go on the web first, so it’s important for students to learn how to utilize these new media formats."

Dailey was also attracted to Ozarks for more personal reasons.

"I’ve always been at very large, secular state schools," he said. "I always felt like I was outvoted in the way I believed.  I wanted to go to a smaller school where I could get to know the students better. I wanted to be able to do more work with fewer people."

Dailey is already making his mark at Ozarks by implementing new media, like blogs, into his classes.

"The blogs I use in my classes are a way for students to collect their thoughts about the reading before class. I’ve found that it’s really hard, even for students who are prepared, to just extemporaneously answer questions in class. I decided I didn’t want that to happen in my classes. Twenty-four hours before class, my students are supposed to post about the reading and spend that time commenting on their classmates’ posts. Invariably, when we get to class, we already have all these ideas for discussion. It’s worked out really well."