My courses in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism deviate significantly from the traditional model of lectures, PowerPoints, note-taking, and major written exams. Instead, these "Scholarship In Practice" courses blend class meetings and course content with regular use of newer technologies, social networks, mobile devices and Blackboard, Maryland's course management system. The goals of these non-traditional courses include: (1) becoming more technologically literate beyond just texting and Facebook to learn course content , (2) learning how to collaborate virtually while gaining new skills and knowledge about journalism, digital information, and processes of communication with multiple audiences.
INFORMATION, TECHNOLOGY, VISUAL, MEDIA LITERACY
Digital information from an increasing number of sources and technologies is now available anywhere, any time. Your management of public and private information benefits from better technological, visual and media literacy. Accordingly, the objectives of these courses are to: (1) enhance your knowledge and use of digital technologies to research, produce and exchange different types of information, (2) compare and contrast newer technologies with traditional media, and (3) evaluate and respond to the social, psychological, political and privacy issues we face.
Depending on the course (150 Intro to Mass Comm, 489q Online Audiences, 689m Mobille Journalism or 289i Information 3.0), students learn more about diverse audiences as they seek, select and share digital information. We explore and discuss Web 2.0, location-based data, social networks (focusing on their use in journalism), ethics, perceived bias in news, trust in the media, and mobile media production. The important thing is to not make all decisions or formulate your opinions about technology based on today's technology. The technology will likely look much different two to three years from today. Therefore, we also attempt to look into the future for what will surely become a more complicated and demanding digital world.
TECHNOLOGY WELCOMED AND UTILIZED
Devices owned by the student (i.e. a laptop, cell or "Smart"phone, Ipod, digital camera, etc.) are supported throughout the semester. Thanks to a generous grant from the University, I will also lend the latest version of Apple's iPod Touch to each student. Laptops are welcomed in class within the guidelines for the interactive learning environement. Students without a laptop can sign one out for use during class.
Instead of traditional cumulative written or essay exams, most of the credit in these courses is earned by completing several assignments. Each student earns points with an online research ePortfolio (i.e. blog) that synthesizes course concepts with the student's research and field of interest or major.
Students are expected to complete assignments on time and regularly compose original, clear, accurate, evidence-based content instead of having to take a "final exam." This requires regular engagement with the class starting with week one. Note that all of these journalism courses are writing intensive and require students to be at least open to and somewhat comfortable learning and/or using newer technologies for research, collaboration and assessments. Those who are NOT comfortable with technology or welcome its use in the classroom should not consider these courses.
For more info, contact:
Ronald Yaros, Ph.D.
Philip Merrill College of Journalism