“Only open journalism reveals the whole picture.” The Guardian
I spend a lot of classroom time talking about open journalism practices, discussing how digital technologies have changed forever the relationship between journalists and the “people formerly known as the audience.” (Rosen 2006). No longer can journalists lock themselves away in closed newsrooms, acting as gatekeepers of information. (UK PSF K1, K2, A1, A2)
But when it comes to my own educational practices, how open am I?
I certainly make use of other academics’ openness. For example, Mindy McAdams is a professor at the University of Florida, where she teaches courses about online journalism. A lot of what she teaches is cutting edge and there aren’t many academics qualified to cover it (eg multimedia journalism, coding) but she is generous enough to share her syllabi, materials and lots of blog posts about her teaching. That’s a great resource and helpful in achieving UKPSF A5, K1, K2, V3, V4.
I don’t feel I have enough that is of value to share in this way. However, I do want to be part of this Community of Practice, using social connections to collaborate rather than struggling to produce resources on my own (Tosato and Bodi 2011). So a first step is to engage in the comments section on key blogs, which I’ve already started doing in a small way. I also engage on twitter and note that it doesn’t take long for people with similar interests to find and follow me.
On December 10th, PBS’ MediaShift hosted the first #EdShift Twitter chat about how students and teachers build collaborations and community in journalism classrooms. It’s been Storified and, again, is a great resource emerging from an open community of like-minded professionals. Next time, maybe I’ll join in!
I do share my teaching materials with other HPLs new to teaching at Salford. This feels a little awkward. I only have a few more years’ experience than they have so I explain that by sharing I’m not claiming to be the last word on the subject or to have the most stylish slides! But they might be a helpful starting point.
Are there opportunities to be more open at course or institutional level? I was interested in David Wiley’s experiment in creating a minimalist online course in parallel to his campus-based course (Hilton III, Graham, Rich & Wiley 2010). It made me think about what institutions can gain from opening up and sharing for non monetary gain. They might gain prestige and enhanced reputation from the wider recognition their teaching programme would get. They might also futureproof themselves from possible competition from MOOCs and other innovations (Weller and Anderson 2013). However, the study into Wiley’s experiment was very small-scale and responses from students were limited making it hard to draw useful generalisations.
As part of my research for this reflection, I came across a Data Journalism MOOC starting early 2014. I’ve signed up! (UK PSF A5) It’s taught by data journalism experts whose work I already know so I’m excited to be part of their project. It’s a whole new niche area of journalism so I need to skill up (and pass these skills on to students) but can’t afford the £100s normally charged for f2f courses in this subject. I’m also intrigued by the whole MOOC experience.
In 2007, Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York, came up with a new rule for journalists in his blog, Buzzmachine - “Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.” (Jarvis 2007) It’s a call for newspapers to stop replicating each other’s stories and instead concentrate dwindling resources on finding their unique value and producing something special. Perhaps this is applicable to universities too.
Maybe HE institutions have the resilience to use technology in a way which enables them to adapt their practices whilst still keeping their core function and surviving (Weller and Anderson 2013) - something which the newspaper industry has largely failed to do.
http://datadrivenjournalism.net/course/ Accessed 15.12.13.
Guardian Three Little Pigs advert retrieved 13.12.13. http://www.theguardiani.com/media/video/2012/feb/29/open-journalism-three-little-pigs-advert
Hilton III, J. L., Graham, C., Rich, P., & Wiley, D. (2010). Using online technologies to extend a classroom to learners at a distance. Distance Education, 31(1), 77-92.
Jarvis, J. (2007) Buzzmachine blog. Retrieved from http://buzzmachine.com/2007/02/22/new-rule-cover-what-you-do-best-link-to-the-rest/. Accessed on 13.12.13.
McAdams, M. Retrieved from http://www.macloo.com/syllabi/. Accessed on 13.12.13.
PBS MediaShift (2013). Collaborative Journalism Education: #EdShift. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/12/collaborative-journalism-education-edshift/ Accessed 15.12.13.
Rosen, J. (2006) Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosen/the-people-formerly-known_1_b_24113.html. Accessed on 13.12.13.
Tosato, P., & Bodi, G. (2011). Collaborative Environments to Foster Creativity, Reuse and Sharing of OER. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning (Special Edition OER) available electronically from: http://www. eurodl. org.
The Higher Education Academy (2011) UK Professional Standards Framework. Available from: http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ukpsf
Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education. European Journal of Open, Distance and Elearning (EURODL), 2013(1).