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What Is Taught about Diversity and How Is It Taught? A 2015 Update of Diversity Teaching at U.S. Journalism and Mass Communication Programs

Masudul Biswas, Ralph Izard, and Sepi Roshan

Abstract: Using survey method, this study explores how diversity courses are offered, what is taught in those courses and how learning outcomes are assessed in those courses in 64 U.S. journalism and mass communication programs. This study also seeks to determine the preferred teaching approach to diversity in these programs and whether there is a relationship between the status of a program’s offering of a dedicated course on diversity and its teaching approach. One of the key findings of this study is integrating diversity content across the curriculum is popular among both the programs that offer a course on diversity and the programs that do not offer a course on diversity. Another finding, unexplored in some past studies, suggests that these programs use critical thinking-oriented independent and applied assignments significantly over testing as assessment tools of diversity learning outcomes.

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Byte-Sized Learning: A Review of Video Tutorial Engagement in a Digital Media Skills Course

Jodie M. Gil & Vern Williams

Abstract: This study seeks to explain how students interact with video tutorials offered as a complement to a digital media skills course in a Journalism department. Using YouTube analytics and a student opinion survey, the study seeks to determine if the students’ descriptions of their video use match the actual metrics tracked by YouTube. The study serves as an exploration for future studies on the effectiveness of the tutorial videos on student learning in the class.

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Exploring the Use of Personalized Learning Plans in the Journalism Capstone Environment

Sally Haney

Abstract: This paper assesses the role of student-authored Learning Plans (LPs) in a senior journalism capstone course at an undergraduate university in western Canada. Students, working as senior editors of a community online news publication in a masthead course, developed and regularly updated individualized LPs. Their LPs were used as a means to strategize and revise learning activities, assess progress, and negotiate grades. A qualitative analysis of data revealed ways in which students engaged with their LPs. Results suggest the plans played a role in increasing student responsibility for learning, creating flexibility for students to manage their unique roles, and helping students to better identify their learning achievements and challenges. The analysis also showed a high degree of alignment between student-proposed evaluations and professor-determined evaluations of student learning. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of ways LPS could be incorporated in other environments, as well as some cautions about implementation.

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ACEJMC Assessment in a Smaller Program: Addressing Statistical Learning in a Mass Communication Research Course

Jeffrey B. Hedrick and J. Patrick McGrail

Abstract: The current study investigates the curriculum strategy chosen by one smaller program to address statistical learning. Changes were implemented addressing basic numerical and basic statistical concepts within ACEJMC Standard Two. An exploratory math course that includes short instruction in statistics replaced intermediate algebra as the math requirement, stipulated as the pre- or co-requisite for the mass communication research course. An evaluation instrument was formulated to assess whether prior statistics instruction might be related to higher scores for a course embedded assessment within the research course. Prior math education, as indicated through students’ math grades and their ACT/SAT scores, served as a numerical predictor of successful student performance with coursework that requires statistical proficiency. The results support previous studies that found journalism majors tend to score highest, on average, that women tend to outperform men, and that previous math grades and ACT scores tend to be moderate predictors of success.

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Twitter-vism: Student Narratives and Perceptions of Learning from an Undergraduate Research Experience on Twitter Activism

Lora Helvie-Mason and Sarah Maben

Abstract: Researchers analyzed 91 narratives from first-year students about what they learned from an undergraduate research project on multicultural activism in Twitter. Students in a first-year seminar collected and coded tweets from Twitter feeds promoting social, political, and humanitarian causes. In groups, they produced research papers and conference-style oral presentations. In the reflective writings about what they learned, students self-reported a greater awareness and understanding about themselves, collegiate research, Twitter, and advocacy issues. Faculty members reveal their own reflections and recommend changes for future implementation.

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Out-of-class Communication and Personal Learning Environments via Social Media: Students’ Perceptions and Implications for Faculty Social Media Use

Carolyn Kim

Abstract: Social media has been a growing influence in higher education throughout the past decade (Amador & Amador, 2014; Junco, 2012). The increased use of social technologies in education also brings implications for faculty credibility in the eyes of digital natives and questions about pedagogical value. This study examines the perceptions students have of faculty who use social media in terms of both credibility and academic success. Findings indicate that, while there are risks that need to be addressed, faculty have the opportunity to have unprecedented out-of-class communication (OCC) through use of social media, and the capacity to develop Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) that are uniquely appropriate to individual learners and styles.

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Collaborating Across Boundaries to Engage Journalism Students in Computational Thinking

Kim Pearson, Monisha Pulimood, and Diane Bates

Abstract: Journalism educators seek ways to create a positive environment for learning computational journalism. This paper describes a multi-semester collaboration between undergraduate journalism and computer science students. Data indicate that such collaborations can strengthen journalism students’ confidence in their ability to employ computing tools and methods. However, journalism students did not show as much positive change as did students in computer science and other majors. Future research will focus on student preparation for such collaborations. This research contributes to the search for teaching and curriculum design strategies for integrating computational thinking into the journalism curriculum.

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Multimedia Journalism Professors on an Island: Resources, Support Lacking at Small Programs

Elia Powers and Jacqueline Soteropoulos Incollingo

Abstract: This exploratory study examines how professors teaching multimedia journalism courses at programs of varying sizes describe the level of institutional support they receive, the pedagogical challenges they face, and what they hope their students learn at a time when industry demands are shifting rapidly and journalism educators are expected to keep pace. In-depth interviews and a review of syllabi reveal that professors at many of the small journalism programs frequently described operating on an island with little oversight or support—unlike their colleagues at large programs. Multimedia journalism courses focused primarily on high-demand digital skills rather than ethics and theory. Commonly referenced challenges included a lack of institutional resources and difficulties keeping up with the latest industry tools. Implications for the future of journalism education are discussed.

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Teaching Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns

Joshua M. Bentley, Judith McIntosh White, David Weiss, and Julie D. Shields

Abstract: Despite the ascendance of integrated marketing communications (IMC) in the professional sector and the academy, surprisingly little scholarly work addresses the teaching of integrated marketing campaigns or implementation of the theory and practice of integration in the teaching of those courses. The present study addresses these gaps. Quantitative and qualitative content analyses were conducted on 39 integrated communication campaign plan books developed by students taking courses in the small strategic communication sequence housed in the communication department of a large university. While the majority of the campaigns evidenced integration of multiple IMC tactics, the degree and nature of integration were inconsistent. Additionally, there were significant differences in campaign content, inclusion and implementation of IMC tactics, and adherence to theoretical and/or ethical underpinnings, depending upon the instructor’s prior professional background.

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“It Throws you into the Ring”: Learning from Live-Tweeting

Emily Kinsky and Kimberly Bruce

Abstract: This study examines the use of live-tweeting as a required class assignment in three mass communication courses. The authors integrated live-tweeting of major events (e.g., Olympic Games, Academy Awards, March Madness) into the courses and surveyed students across multiple semesters to discover what they learned from the experience. Students said they learned to think quickly, write concisely and present themselves professionally. They also appreciated the opportunity to build their network on Twitter and to observe others’ tweets.

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