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SYMPOSIUM INTRO: Whither Old Textbooks? The Merits of Page-musty Smells vs. Tablet Texts

Lisa Carponelli-Lovell

The inevitable call comes from the bookstore. They needed your textbook adoptions for the next semester—yesterday. Often, it can be the decision that makes or breaks your newswriting and reporting class. Stick with the tried-and-true edition of your “old school” textbook or branch out and find something cheaper and more digital-friendly?

There is no shortage of journalism textbooks.

Please also see these related supporting essays:
“Book Club” Class Session in Media Writing Course
Sarah Maben

DIY Textbook
Catherine Strong

Text Review: Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method (Seventh Edition)
Maureen E. Boyle

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SYMPOSIUM INTRO: iPads and Tablets in the JMC Curriculum

Last year when I proposed SPIG run a bootcamp at the annual conference to address how we’re using iPads and tablets in the classroom, I wasn’t sure there would be more than five people sitting around a hotel meeting room in Chicago. But more than 20 people came, and alongside generous and stimulating presentations by Kenneth Pybus (Abilene Christian) and Ralph E. Hanson (University of Nebraska at Kearney), attendees exchanged tips and questions, proving that the conversation on tablets in the journalism and mass communication curriculum was just beginning.

Vivian B. Martin is an associate professor and directs the journalism program at Central Connecticut State University.

Please see these related supporting essays:
Reporting with the iPadJournos: Educating the Next Generation of Mobile and Social Media Journalists
by Marcus Messner
When iPad Meets J101: Can Video and Basic Newswriting Co-exist in the Classroom?
by Maureen E. Boyle
Using iPads and iPhones in Communication Classes
by Cathy Yungmann

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SYMPOSIUM INTRO: A Is for Assessment

Vivian B. Martin

As educators, we’re always in evaluation mode, whether we’re preparing that first syllabus for the new academic term, grading papers, or gently steering a classroom discussion that has gone off track due to students’ inattention or limited comprehension. Assessment guru Barbara Walvoord calls assessment a “natural, inescapable, human, and scholarly act” in which all good teachers can’t help but engage (2010, p.2). We’re always asking whether students are learning what we’re trying to teach. Increasingly, though, faculty across all disciplines are learning that their natural remedies must be turned into official measurements and documents to satisfy accreditors, administrators, and others. The additional work on top of teaching and other demands has made assessment the dreaded A-word many faculty resist. As a respondent to a TJMC survey put it, “I’m all for taking a look at your program and deciding what you’d like to do and how’d you like to get there. But the way assessment works, you are really just jumping hoops and not truly assessing.”

Please see these related supporting essays:
A is for Assessment: The Assessment Plan: A Work Constantly in Progress
by Lola Burnham
A is for Assessment: Teaching to the Test? Administration of a Senior Comprehensive Exam
by Tracy Lauder

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SYMPOSIUM INTRO: Reforming the Journalism Curriculum: Explosives or Scalpel?

Vivian B. Martin

Journalism education has been a target of criticism for most of its existence. Working journalists insist it’s too abstract and that the best education is on-the-job training. Academics fear it is too practical and smacks of trade school. But in recent years, we journalism professors may have been the ones scrutinizing journalism the most, as new technology, shrinking opportunities in traditional news media, and the redefinition of the profession have forced changes in what and how we teach. Calls to blow up the journalism curriculum are fast becoming a cliché; yet they convey the urgency many journalism educators feel as they face students who must gain new skills, often skills their middle-aged professors don’t possess, while also learning the fundamentals. The list of requirements is longer, but the semester isn’t. Further, the labyrinth that programs must navigate to make changes to the curriculum or find the resources for new technology can kill off the most modest plans before they are conceived […]

Please also see these related supporting essays:
Reforming J101: Fire in the Hole: Curricular Explosion, Fearless Journalism Pedagogy, and Media Convergence by Michael A. Longinow
Reforming J101: Establishing an Online Presence by Carrie M. Buchanan
Reforming J101: What I Learned From the Rush to Publish by Mary Alice Basconi

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