Winter 2017 RSS feed for this section

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Using Vine Videos To Teach Montage Theory in the Media Communication Classroom

Carie Cunningham and Jennifer Ware

This media communication activity teaches undergraduates about Eisenstein’s montage theory while building basic video composition skills. Students work on a time-based video recording activity that provides them with practice fundamental shot framing techniques: wide shots, medium shots, close-ups, interviews, tilts, and pans to create a montage.

Continue Reading

How to Write Visually

Joe Gisondi and Brian Poulter

In his book Photojournalism: The Professional’s Approach, author Kenneth Kobre describes and defines strategies for making great journalistic photographs based on a hierarchy developed by Joe Elbert, the veteran photo editor at the Washington Post.

Elbert explains there are four levels of photojournalism: Informational, Graphic, Emotional and Intimate. Each category can lead to great journalism. These same principles can be applied to writing, where, like in photojournalism, the further one moves up the hierarchy toward intimate, the more likely one will succeed.

Let’s address how this photojournalism methodology applies to writing.

Continue Reading

Cultivating Honest Hearts and Knowing Heads: An Experiential Learning Project to Increase Campus-wide Levels of Trust and Responsibility Through a Student-Led Campaign

Lisa Lyon Payne

Recent headlines about the Harvard cheating scandal and articles chronicling the rise in cheating culture and increase in academic violations over the past 30 years (McCabe, Treviño, & Butterfield, 2001) have pushed the topic of academic integrity to the forefront of the higher education agenda. Thomas Jefferson once said “an honest heart” is “the first blessing,” and he suggested that “a knowing head is the second.” This Jefferson quotation can be found on the inside cover of the Honor Code given to all Virginia Wesleyan College students, emphasizing to students the college’s mission to serve as a supportive community committed to social responsibility, ethical conduct and higher learning. Jefferson was a leader in the interdisciplinary approach that comes with a liberal arts education where students are taught to ask and answer questions and think innovatively—a hallmark of learning in small communication programs.

Continue Reading