October 17, 2019

Professor proposes online platform to connect worldwide campuses

“People think, well, ‘We’re Webster Leiden. We’re Webster Geneva, Webster Ghana,’ not ‘We’re Webster,’” Professor Paul Anstiss said. “I would like to think that this brings in everybody. It connects us together.”

Media Communications Professor Paul Anstiss said he has made it his mission to connect all of Webster’s campuses. 

Anstiss aims to launch a media platform where Webster students, U.S. and abroad, can show off their work. Anstiss said he is unsure what platform will be used for the showcase. The platform will be launched by the end of the term. 

Communications and Journalism Department Chair Gary Ford said he could see the platform resembling something like a wire service, network or website. 

Anstiss has taught communication courses at Webster’s Leiden campus for the past eight years. This is the first semester that Anstiss has worked at the St. Louis campus. 

The work-sharing platform will serve as a means to unite all of Webster’s locations according to Anstiss. Students could use the site as a means to share their favorite places to eat around their campus, recipes and hangouts. Students may submit work such as photography, short stories, poems and articles about happenings on their campus.

“People think, well, ‘We’re Webster Leiden. We’re Webster Geneva, Webster Ghana,’ not ‘We’re Webster,’” Anstiss said. “I would like to think that this brings in everybody. It connects us together.”

Dean of Communications Eric Rothebuhler said the university has tried ways to connect all of the campuses in the past. However, the ideas usually do not last. The university either runs into technical problems or the students lose interest. 

Students abroad could take air shifts at The Galaxy Radio or produce podcasts that The Galaxy would play in St. Louis. The communications department used to have a class where students used video conferencing to present projects to one another according to Rothenbuhler. 

However, nothing ever stuck. 

“What we haven’t had is one complete, all encompassing depository–like a hub of everything,” Rothenbuhler said. If we can create that, it’d be a wonderful thing.” 

Ford said the university’s past attempts to connect the campuses eventually fizzled away as people either ran out of steam. 

Ford said he feels optimistic that Anstiss will achieve what has not worked in the past because of his media background. 

Anstiss formerly worked as a reporter for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). He covered topics spanning from conflicts in Somalia and Bosnia to climate change in Antarctica. 

“We thought it would be great of someone with his background to do what we’ve tried to do two or three times,” Ford said. 

Anstiss recruited the help of his students to get the platform up and running. 

Anstiss said the platform will not only connect students worldwide but also create media experience for the students who will eventually run the platform. 

The platform will be operated by students once it’s up and running, Anstiss said. The submitted work would go to a repository for whomever is running the site to post. 

Anstiss said he hopes the platform may provide students with media experience.

“I do see it as an opportunity for someone who wants to break into the world of media which is very very difficult,” Anstiss said. “These days, it’s very much about the experience. I hope that, as well as a showcase, it gives people experience that they can take with them to help them get into the job market.” 

Rothenbuhler said they have struggled with the technical aspects of launching the platform. 

“Technology is always a problem,” Rothenbuhler said. “Some students are writing papers, some are making videos, animations or designing games. How do you manage the bandwidth so that all people around the world can play a video and see it?” 

Nevertheless, Anstiss said he feels determined to launch the platform before he returns to Europe.

“I’m very excited, Anstiss said. “I hope that my enthusiasm might spark a light and get other people interested too.” 

To submit content for the showcase, email Professor Anstiss at pc.anstiss@gmail.com 

 

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