Conference news
Posted: October 19, 2007 06:32 PM
Teach What You Know, Learn What You Don't
Sree Sreenivasan
(Photo by Aaron Roberts)
Journalism schools have to better integrate technology into their classrooms to meet the growing demands of the industry, a panel of educators said today.

Four educators shared the growing pains involved with teaching convergence.

Columbia Graduate School of Journalism: Mainstreaming technology

Sree Sreenivasan, dean of students at Columbia, said it was an “eye-opening” experience when a magazine major at the university was asked by an interviewer what kind of multimedia experience the student had. He had heard the question asked of print news reporters, but not of magazine students.

At that point he knew online integration was crucial for every student.

Columbia updated its program by mainstreaming online skills to all journalism majors in core classes -- teaching skills such as Web writing, audio and covering breaking news online. The university also created a hands-on, interactive, multimedia-focused course, the New Media Newsroom.

“It’s a blended newsroom of traditional and nontraditional new media students,” Sreenivasan said.

University of Wisconsin, Madison: Filling the void

The University of Wisconsin is in the beginning stages of designing its convergent curriculum. Professor Sue Robinson shared the difficulties of implementing a new program, such as finding resources on campus -- computers, classroom space – and creating time in student schedules.

She also talked about the challenges of bringing other faculty members into the fold, and about the importance of turning around new courses quickly. Robinson said her job was to incorporate convergence into the curriculum.

The school is already doing several things, such as using blogs and Podcasts. She suggested educators teach “by showing.”

University of Florida: Change convergent courses often

University of Florida professor Mindy McAdams changes her syllabi at least every three years. “In my opinion it’s the only way you can teach this stuff ethically because otherwise it’s out of date.”

She was full of tips for other educators. Among them:
• Assign small assignments weekly, rather than projects that are overwhelming;
• Don’t assume students watch news video online;
• Spark critical thinking by showing students award-winning work of online news organizations.

Don’t isolate online journalism classes, she said. Classes must reflect real newsrooms.

Ryerson University: Educational add-on

Joyce Smith directs the online journalism sequence at Ryerson University. She said students who decide to study online stay an extra year and graduate with a supplemental degree.

Her students get real-world experience along with classroom study. Students have the opportunity to shape their course schedules, she said.

All the educators emphasized the importance of the new training. “The kids have to be forced to get this,” McAdams said.

-- Jen Monroe


It was great to have this element included in the ONA meeting... thanks!

But one clarification: students at Ryerson don't stay another year to complete their degree if they choose online... they do it all in four-years, just like their trad BJ peers.

October 20, 2007 09:46 PM by Joyce Smith (Permalink)

It’s interesting to see what other schools are doing to get students ready for how journalism is evolving. I’m a print journalism major at Quinnipiac University, where they strive to make us well-rounded students. Basically, they don’t want the comm. kids to be left with no jobs so we take all these outside classes “just in case.” (Or at least that’s the way it appears to most of us). I really wish they offered more courses similar to the ones you posted about so we actually will be prepared for what we want to do.

Kendra Butters
Class of 2009
Quinnipiac University

October 22, 2007 05:02 PM by Kendra (Permalink)

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Back to 2007 conference page

8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

Questions about membership, registration or sponsorship opportunities? E-mail Executive Director Lori Schwab.

Questions about conference lineup or volunteering? E-mail Conference Chair Ju-Don Roberts.

Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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