Digital Course Packs Launch. New Tool to Help Teachers Use NewsU

6:27 PM Aug. 26, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

As we work with our academic partners, we find new ways to help teachers in the classroom. And that means we also help students with their journalism education.

Our latest tool is something we are calling a "Digital Course Pack." Working with University of South Florida journalism professor Wayne Garcia, we created an assessment package for a series of self-directed courses. Garcia is using three different Digital Course Packs in three different classes this semester. The course packs are assigned, much like a textbook, and they count for 15 percent of a student's grade.

We see Digital Course Packs as an online supplement to in-class meetings and traditional texts. And while educators have always had the ability to use our self-directed modules as part of their teaching, Digital Course Packs provide additional critical features: tracking and assessments.

We assess the student's learning via multiple-choice quizzes and track other information such as time spent and number of log-ons. To keep track of all of this information we created a new feature on NewsU, the Instructor Dashboard. Here's a view of a student's activity on the dashboard.

You can see the Digital Course Packs that currently being used in our Courses page.

Our ultimate goal is to create a system that would allow professors to select the courses they want and automatically generate a custom Digital Course Pack. Until that happens, learn more about course packs on our Tools for Educators page for Certificate and Course Packs, or drop us an email via info (at) newsu (dot) org. Put DCP in the subject line if you want more information.

As usual, we'll watch this e-learning experience and report back. And, thank you Professor Garcia for your ideas and support.