online journalism · teaching

Planning an introductory online course

Yes I know – slap my hand – I haven’t been blogging regularly at all. A big no-no in the blogging world and I really don’t have an excuse other than the Christmas holiday period and time (something that I always seem to be lacking).

With a new year beginning I am again revisiting my courses and working out exactly what I will teach the students this semester. For a number of reasons I am reworking my introductory online journalism course and would like your input.

I have decided to break the 12-week course (so much to teach in so little time) into three modules:

  • Online reporting and writing
  • Multimedia
  • Blogging

Online reporting and writing

In this module I am focusing on Bill Dunphy’s fabulous seven steps to reporting like a digital native and the basics of online writing (see my previous post). As the assessment I will have students find and write an online news story that includes links, creative commons sourced image and an interactive element. The interactive element can be a GoogleMap, timeline (thinking of using Timetoast) or some sort of Mashup (perhaps using YahooPipes).


This module will focus on choosing the right medium to tell a story and try to get students to think beyond the written word. Our course map has recently changed which has had an impact on the teaching of multimedia in this subject. Previously they would have done an introductory tv subject before starting my online course, which meant that they arrived with video editing skills. They will now do this subject following my course, so I need to scale back my emphasis on online video (this will be picked up in the advanced online subject). As a result I will have students complete an audio slideshow as assessment for this unit.


The final module will be blogging. I have blogged previously on why I think it is important for journalism students to blog and this module will hopefully encourage students to start blogging of their own accord. The assessment naturally for this will be a series of blog posts on media analysis.

So dear readers, my question for you is: What do you think? Is there anything else that you think I should be covering?

2 thoughts on “Planning an introductory online course

  1. Hi Renee,

    What about a discussion on ethics of online journalism. For example, sourcing images of victims of violence/accidents from social networking sites like Facebook, etc. Where to draw the line legally and morally.

    One issue I see as an increasing concern.

  2. Thanks for the input Mark. I do one session on web ethics – mainly pointing out the grey areas that don’t exit so much in other mediums. But you are right as the mainstream media increasingly relies on social networking sites to source images and information for breaking news.

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