Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Examination of the Use and Value of "Celebrity" in a Chinese Context: A General Education (GE) Teaching Case Study

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Examination of the Use and Value of "Celebrity" in a Chinese Context: A General Education (GE) Teaching Case Study

Article excerpt

More than serving as a spokesperson of a product/brand, celebrities and figures of fame play an important role in the creative sector. A new General Education (GE) course entitled "Celebrity and Entertainment Business" maps the increasingly central importance of fame and celebrity from a mass communication and marketing perspective. In this course, students will investigate the culture of celebrity in relation to entertainment, media, advocacy, identity, and business models. It aims to introduce the phenomenon of stardom, including some case studies of individual film, television, advertising, popular music, and political stars, and to investigate the media influence of celebrities in a Chinese cultural context.

In this paper, we will share the teaching experience of an interdisciplinary GE course named "Celebrity and Entertainment Business" by locating the position of the course in the GE program at the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and by explaining the concepts and teaching methods of the course.

General Education in HKBU

The GE program at HKBU was designed to provide students with the foundation of a well-rounded university education and to train students to be critical thinkers and independent learners so that students are equipped not only with in-depth knowledge of their academic specialty, but also with a broad range of general knowledge. To achieve these goals, the program is structured according to the core-distribution model (Hanstedt, 2012) in which distributional requirements are combined with core requirements. The distribution requirements include five areas of learning, which are arts, business, communication/visual arts, science/Chinese medicine, and social sciences (General Education Office, 2014).

In the current structure of the GE program at HKBU, courses are arranged under five major areas, (i) Arts. Courses in the area of arts aim to lead students to reflect on the place of arts and humanities in society and human history to foster an appreciation of human achievements through language, culture and thought, (ii) Business. Courses in business highlight how business and management principles shape contemporary human experience, and business- and management-related concepts are used to analyze business issues and evaluate economic activities, (iii) Communication/visual arts. Courses in this area are drawn from media studies, journalism, and visual arts. While some courses adopt a historical or analytical perspective, some are more related to the production of creative works. These courses aim to introduce students to various modes of communication, to enable them to develop skills essential required to exchange information, and to understand the process of generating meanings, (iv) Sciences/Chinese Medicine. Courses in this area emphasize the importance of demonstration, observation and experimentation in cultivating an understanding of the basic principles of sciences or Chinese medicine for non-science majors. Students will leam to develop a questioning mind and to relate those concepts to daily life to appreciate their significance in society, (v) Social sciences. Courses in social sciences aim to instill students with an understanding of how social sciences understand human behavior and social/cultural life. Key areas covered by the courses include identity, community, social justice, cultural heritage, public policy, and so forth.

In addition to the five areas of learning, interdisciplinary courses cover two or more areas of learning. The interdisciplinary courses strive to integrate knowledge and approaches from various academic disciplines to help students recognize and synthesize different perspectives on a given issue. The courses give students the opportunity to think outside of the box and aims to cultivate critical thinking and a sense of open-mindedness.

Background of the Course

"Celebrity and Entertainment Business" is one of the interdisciplinary GE courses. …

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