It was an unlikely scenario: an online strategic communication professor having an “aha!” pedagogy moment in a village in the dense jungle of Cambodia. But there I was, approaching the community of Prey O’Mal, riding along a dirt road with three graduate students and a bundle of camera equipment we barely knew how to use squeezed between our legs. We’d been riding in the back of a motorcycle-powered tuk-tuk on a remote dirt road for nearly 90 minutes, about to tackle a project I never could have imagined being a part of — because, well, I teach in an online communications program.
Racing against the sun, as the tuk-tuk pulled to a halt, we jumped out, almost entirely unclear what to do next. Oh, sure, I knew why we were there and what we were supposed to produce: short videos for a nonprofit to help it tell the story of the sustainability projects created by local villagers. Another faculty and staff member and I had helped our students plan and prepare, fine-tuning our video production and interviewing skills, and we had developed shot lists and storyboard drafts. But in scenarios like this, you can’t avoid ambiguity. We didn’t speak the language. We were entirely unfamiliar with our surroundings. Most of us were new to video. And the sun was going down.