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Include real-world experience in your course

Contributed by Katharine Kittredge on 01/16/20 

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ITHACON, the nation’s second-oldest comic book convention is being held at Ithaca College on March 21 & 22 in Emerson Suites.

Last year, we drew 2,000 participants and offered more than 30 educational programs for local children and adults.  For an overview, see

Here are some ways that you can take advantage of this opportunity to have your students do community service/real world-based projects without leaving campus: 

Four ways to use ITHACON in your course:

1.  Students attend a panel, or meet comic creators at the event.

a) Make it one of the media events (among a range of choices) that they may attend this semester.

b) Offer extra credit if they attend one of the panels on a current aspect of popular culture.

c)  Give them the assignment to interview one of the creators exhibiting at the convention.

 2.   Students volunteer.

a)   This can be counted as community service, especially if they are assisting at one of the educational community events directed at children (example: helping in one of the crafting rooms, or at the Art Challenge table)

b)   Students volunteer to assist the creators who are exhibiting.  This encourages students to practice networking skills (example: be a floor monitor during the event, or assist the artists to set up or break down their exhibits.)

c)  Students moderate a panel. 

3.  Students do a project that culminates with ITHACON.

a)   Exhibit work done in the first part of this semester, or completed in previous semesters (examples: short film premiers, reading of creative work, exhibiting artwork).

b)  A team of students researches a topic and presents their findings as a panel, complete with powerpoint or other media enhancement. (example: 4 students research the role of women in the Black Panther comics, with each student presenting on a specific era; or students present  a compilation of youtube Star Wars spoofs and then discuss them with the audience).

 4.  Students create a workshop for local children or adult community members. 

a) Students propose the workshop to ITHACON coordinator, and indicate their space, staffing, and supply needs.  Past student-led workshops have included: cosplay, simple animation, web site design, video gaming, fanzine creation, making sound effects, and designing a D&D character.

Questions?  Contact Katharine Kittredge at


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