Published: April 7, 2014

Generic film reels

Photo Courtesy of at Flickr Creative Commons

Students do more than just kick back and watch movies in Dr. Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz’s film courses.  Acevedo-Muñoz makes sure he both gives thoughtful lectures and offers students the opportunities to work with the best in film technology.  Students nominated him for the 2013 ASSETT Teaching with Technology Award for his commitment to teaching students.

Rethinking PowerPoint

“Technology must sustain and enhance classroom teaching,” says Acevedo-Muñoz.  He maintains students' attention in class with effective PowerPoints.  One student wrote in his nomination of Acevedo-Muñoz for the ASSETT Teaching with Technology Award, “He utilizes PowerPoint to its full potential while lecturing on interesting and entertaining material in the world of film theory.”  Acevedo-Muñoz explains, “I often add movie stills and screen grabs to show DVD materials to illustrate text in PowerPoint.”  He strives to keep text to a minimum on his slides because he ascribes to research that, “Students retain more when they inscribe.”  Acevedo-Muñoz expects students to be fully engaged in his class and take notes!

Providing the Ultimate in Film Studies and Film Making Technology

Further, Acevedo-Muñoz believes it is important for students to have ideal film making opportunities and movie viewing experiences.  He says the Film Studies Department is currently:

... Transitioning our editing curriculum to industry standard so that our students have access to the ultimate in technology.  We have 20 digital editing stations for the exclusive use of our students.  We built a rendering farm--the fastest of its kind in Boulder.  It has 20 Mac 4G towers that all work as a single supercomputer…

Film making students have access to this technology so that they may become well versed in these state-of-the-art mediums of their field.

Listening to Students

Dr. Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz explains the importance of studying traditional film making while also offering state of the art technology

Dr. Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz explains the importance of studying traditional film making while also offering state of the art technology

However, Acevedo-Muñoz explains that committing to providing the cutting edge of technology comes at a high price--literally.  To make such expensive purchasing decisions, the Film Studies Department relies largely on the input of a Student Fees Committee to determine how to utilize funds most appropriately.  Acevedo-Muñoz says that the student-run Fees Committee must, “Approve every move we make with technology…Our students know better which way technology is going.”  Using student input, the CU Film Studies Department maintains extensive state-of-the-art resources for students.

At the same time that the Film Department strives to stay on the cutting edge, Acevedo-Muñoz explains that “CU Film Studies is ... committed to the history and artisanal mode of production in our medium [on which] this department was founded.”  Therefore, film making students also have the opportunity to experience more traditional means: “Our students are still learning analog methods of production.  [It’s important to get] your hands dirty with the craft.  It gives a better sense of what the art is.”  For similar reasons, Acevedo-Muñoz also requires film studies students to view films in the film auditorium in ATLAS .  Students expressed appreciation for the opportunity, saying, “[Acevedo-Muñoz] shows films how they are meant to be seen by using the outstanding equipment available in ATLAS.”

In nominating Acevedo-Muñoz for the 2013 ASSETT Teaching with Technology award, one student wrote, “Ernesto has been both a phenomenal teacher and mentor throughout my college career at the University of Colorado."  Acevedo-Muñoz says, “We are looking forward to the challenge of the future.  We are acquiring the latest technology.  We’re catching up really fast.”