We're Looking for Partners for the Spring Semester of our Intro to Journalism Course [J101]

5:16 PM Oct. 11, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

We have just crossed the halfway mark for our Introduction to Journalism e-learning class. We've done eight Live Lectures and will have our eighth Live Chat later this week.

As part of NewsU's Introduction to Journalism (J101) pilot program, more than 240 students from our partner schools, Missouri State University, Florida Atlantic University and Cal State, Fullerton, are leveraging the expertise of Poynter as part of a 16-week, college-credit course. The students are learning the basic skills and values of journalism through the use of live video teaching by Poynter faculty and adjuncts, as well as lessons drawn from more than two dozen self-directed modules on NewsU.

Now, our efforts turn to finding the next group of pioneering schools for this innovative journalism education program.

We've learned a great deal about how to conduct this form of education, and I believe we have done a good job giving students a positive experience. Here's what one student had to say:

Making Connections: Learning How Students Want to Learn

1:24 PM Sep. 23, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

As we finish the first third of our semester, it seems like a good time to look at how the Live Lectures are working.

Good news: The Live Lecture from Poynter faculty has been outstanding. The teaching has been consistent, engaging and to the point of helping students understand journalism. The less than happy news: Students have decided they prefer the "anytime" approach to viewing. While the folks at Poynter NewsU think this is fine, I can't help but be a bit wistful for the missed opportunity for students to engage with the Poynter lecturer.

However, we wanted to learn and adjust. So, we dropped the second lecture,

E-Learning Classroom is Open for Learning and Teaching

4:50 PM Aug. 20, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

On Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, we turned on our first 16-week e-learning module for university students. As you know, we'll be teaching across multiple campuses and with different tools from our online training kit. Of course we don't know whether these students have had much experience with online education. All the research indicates they might taken an online class, especially if they have been in college for a couple of years. Even our own NewsU evaluations surveys have shown a big jump in the number of participants who have had e-learning experience. In 2005, 48 percent said "yes." In 2011, that number was 70 percent.

We have spent lots of time thinking about the student experience as we designed both the content and the interface for this course. Given our different methods of online teaching -- synchronous and asynchronous -- we recognize that more content could cause confusion and hinder effective learning.

Our solutions took two approaches.

First, make sure the online navigation was clear and with specific instructions to the students. In other words, it wasn't going to be enough just to say "go learn from this module." It was more important to say "go to this module, read this section and look these elements."

Inside Look at J101, a Unique E-Learning Project: Counting the Days Until School Starts

8:58 PM Aug. 07, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

We are fewer than three weeks away from the launch of our latest project, a 16-week introduction to journalism course taught in partnership with three universities. Using e-learning tools developed during the past six years, Poynter NewsU is about to start an exciting new chapter of online journalism training. We've gotten this far thanks in part to a grant from the Carnegie Corporation and the creative thinking of the folks working at Poynter.

Thanks also goes to our three partner schools: Florida Atlantic University, Missouri State University and California State University, Fullerton.

Our goal with this blog is to provide resources about the project and try to capture of our learning so others might benefit. If you have questions or thoughts, drop us a line at info@newsu.org. Or use one of "Feedback" boxes on the site.

We have a nifty flyer about our journalism e-learning course with some kind words from our academic partners.

Happy Learning,

Howard Finberg, interactive learning director @ Poynter

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