Ball State Professor to Introduce Movies During Turner Classic Movies ‘Mad About Musicals’

Ben Mankiewizc and Vanessa Ament. Photo provided.Ben Mankiewizc and Vanessa Ament. Photo provided.

By: Marc Ransford—

Muncie, INReady to sing, dance and learn? Film lover and Ball State telecommunications professor Vanessa Ament will provide on-air film introductions in June when Turner Classic Movies (TCM) pays homage to Hollywood musicals during “Mad about Musicals,” which is part of a free online course created by the university.

Ament, the Edmund F. and Virginia B.Ball Endowed Chair of Telecommunications, will introduce films during the first week of June with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz and promises her online class will be fun and full of interesting musical trivia.

Ament’s participation is a result of a partnership between TCM, Ball State and Canvas to offer a free online multimedia course about the history of the musical genre and its evolution with culture and technology. Enrollment is open until June 17, and fans can sign up for the course at

“This is an exciting partnership because so many people love musicals and TCM has the best collection of musicals dating back decades,” she said. “Not only will you be able to watch great musicals but by taking the online class, you can learn so much about what makes them great.”

Ament’s expertise is based on her work as a Foley artist (sound reproduction) and voice actor for such films as “Platoon” (1986), “Predator” (1987), and “Die Hard.”

“It was really fun to put together the course lessons with movie clips,” Ament said. “From my standpoint, it was incredible to find out the stories behind the movies. And I am a big Judy Garland fan. So, it was fun to learn about her roles and impact on several major movies.”

The course also features:

  • Interviews with guests such as Academy Award-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, discussing sound in the Hollywood musical, and film scholar Richard Edwards examining the connection between musicals and melodrama
  • Online games to test expertise and create friendly competition
  • Ongoing social conversation with fellow participants on TCM message boards and on social media with #TCMusicals

More than 44,000 participants enrolled in TCM’s past three successful massive open online courses (MOOCs). All of them generated industry-leading class completion rates and very high satisfaction rates while introducing new audiences to TCM.

You can watch a promotional clip about the online class below.



Read Ament’s TCM profile: