My journey in MEDLIT Project began back in 2016 when Prof. Ezhar Tamam appointed me as one of the team members. I am honored and excited to be part of this project, working with knowledgeable and experienced researchers. For that, I must thank Prof. Ezhar, to whom I owed this truly wonderful opportunity. The MEDLIT project is an important milestone for me as it marks my first engagement in an international research project. Of course, this project has developed and changed me in more ways than one – not only as an academician and a researcher but more importantly, as a human being.
Being part of the Erasmus+ team not only provides me with an invaluable research experience for my future career advancement, but it also nurtures my personal strength. Working with the Erasmus+ research team has brought forth many important lessons and skills. For example, I was able to establish and maintain a network of local and international research counterparts, including from Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Thailand, and Vietnam. Collaborating with my foreign counterparts has allowed me to experience different working styles, which in turn, enabled me to learn, understand, and therefore, appreciate cultural differences. Our differences aside, working as a team seemed effortless. In addition, the MEDLIT project has also enabled me to create a network of media practitioners and government agencies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum.
I also had the chance to get myself acquainted with the broadcasting industry in a different country. A case in point was our visits to the ORF TV station and the OKTO TV in 2017. Both visits had given me insights and deeper understanding of the media landscape in Vienna. At OKTO TV, I was fortunate to learn more about the tricks of the trade, such as producing TV programs using both single-camera production and multi-camera production, in various stages of production. This is such an invaluable experience, which I will never forget. Full cooperation and commitment from all the team members enabled us to produce our own program within the given time. If anything, this shows that, through thick and thin, we managed to stand together and deliver as a strong team!
All the travels – be it for meetings or workshops – to Vietnam, Bangkok, and Vienna were really an eye-opener for me. First, I got to experience a conducive new working environment; and second, I also got the chance to learn about people, culture and places that are different from my own.
My journey in MEDLIT research was paved with stepping stones that would no doubt be useful in my career advancement as an academician. Starting with the very first meeting held in Kuala Lumpur to understand the various facets and dimensions of media literacy, we began to develop items for the questionnaire. This gives me the opportunity to learn from other team members. Especially instrumental to this process was Prof. Ezhar, who lends his expertise in quantitative study. The meeting also served as an ice-breaker, allowing me to know and collaborate with team members from the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK). Through this partnership, we learn about and capitalize on each other’s strengths. Conducting the Delphi Study also gives me a new experience in methodological approach. I learnt that it was not easy to get our stakeholders to participate as respondents – especially those in the top managerial level who have a busy schedule. Time also presented another challenge, considering the depth and breadth of the research.
Furthermore, I have also deepened and broadened my conception of theoretical knowledge on media system and media culture. Lectures delivered by Prof. Thomas Bauer throughout our MEDLIT workshops and meetings gave me a deeper understanding on media emancipation. In addition, developing MOOC for Media Literacy also gives me a new insight on teaching – which I could use as one of my teaching tools in the future.
Working in such a big project has not been easy, but I tried my level best to meet the deadlines and expectations in completing the tasks as a project member. There were times that the tasks appeared very daunting, made even more arduous by my full-time work commitment as a lecturer. Not only that, there were also challenges to get commitment from the other team members. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, full cooperation and commitment from all team members is required at all time to deliver the best quality of work within then stipulated given time. Despite these challenges, the experience that I gained throughout my journey in the MEDLIT project only serves as a solid platform for me to actively participate in future research.
All in all, the experience is enriching – as an academician, a researcher, and ultimately as a human being. I was able to deepen and broaden my knowledge and in the process, make me a better person. Perhaps Julius Caesar says it best – “Experience is the teacher of all things.”