11. Teaching media tools

City University of New York (http://www.journalism.cuny.edu/) have experimented with media tools, teaching with hybrid modules. Jeff Jarvis, CUNY journalism professor, in an article by Nieman Journalism Lab, suggests the following model for teaching journalistic media tools using online instruction, individual and small group tutoring and certification-through-creation:

  • Setting outcomes based on goals: For a student to learn how make web video, for example, we need to research the necessary skills and list the functions and concepts students are required to learn, tool-by-tool and step-by-step. Researching these outcomes will be invaluable in understanding the needs of the industry and preparing students for opportunities in jobs and startups.
  • Curating online instructional tools: There are already many good ways to learn tools through services such as Lynda, videos on YouTube, and, yes, textbooks. Students should be free to select the tools that help them learn best so long as they meet the required outcomes. The more we curate these instructional materials and the less we create them, the better.
  • Tutoring: Imagine a Genius Bar with faculty and certified students available to answer to questions or to provide individual or small-group instruction that helps push students’ ambitions.
  • Providing journalistic context: Faculty set the frame of reference for the journalistic use of these tools through the selection of assignments and through classroom instruction and discussion.
  • Certification: Students should prove their competency with these tools not through tests but through creating work for their portfolios, which could be judged by experts against a set of established criteria.
  • Students could be ranked at five levels of knowledge for each tool and task (a skills resume that can be shared with prospective employers). Those levels:
  • Understanding the journalistic uses of a tool. A student may learn what HTML5 can do in creating interactive experiences without programming them, making the student a more informed and creative member of a newsroom or startup team.
  • The ability to specify use of a tool. The student can work directly with a developer to spec, say, a data visualization.
  • The ability to adapt templates or code. The student can take an application or a design and adapt it for a particular use.
  • The ability to create. For example, a competent web video student will be able to do everything needed, from camera work through editing and distribution, to make a quality video.
  • Certified expertise. A student is certified as an expert in a tool, capable of teaching the tool and its uses to others in the school and the workplace. These students can help staff the Genius Bar.

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