Category Archives: Interactivity

The Hero Project: A media engagement experiment

Many student journalists choose the field of journalism and public relations because they want their life to have an impact. And teaching about engagement can help them in their desire to create change.

Research examining engagement tends to fall in three areas: 1) civic engagement, 2) student engagement and 3) employee engagement. Research definitions of engagement tend to reflect the aim of helping people to develop identity, learn how to participate and flourish as a community.

  • “…having both a behavioral component, termed participation, and an emotional component, termed identification” (Finn & Voelkl, 1993; p. 249).
  • “Civic engagement is any activity where people come together in their role as citizens” (Diller, 2001, p. 22).

In the field in journalism, educators have been criticized about teaching students about newsroom socialization rather than teaching them to tailor information to encourage citizens to participate. The intent of a liberal arts education was designed to nurture students to be problem solvers, creative thinkers, and critical scholars (Higginbotham 1961; Wick & Phillips, 2008).

As educators, we should critically evaluate whether our teaching efforts are helping to empower students to create public action and awareness. When teaching engagement, students should be asking themselves whether their efforts reflect a world they want to make and whether their efforts accurately represent people. Engagement has the potential to create a sense of connectedness and self-efficacy among humans, which can lead to loyalty to an individual and organization.

The cultivation of intellectual and critical thinkers starts with encouraging them to connect to people outside their usual social circles. Several organizational leaders are encouraging news reporters to connect their social media identities to stories, post requests for story ideas on social media channels and meet with online community members in a F2F environment.

The line between public relations and journalism is blurring. Both fields recognize the importance of relationships for future sustainability, however many public relations professionals understand the significance of relationships better.

Journalists often view themselves as serving specific communities. Researchers have often referred to community as a physical location. However, a community can refer to a geographic area or refer to a group of people with similar interests. The process of sharing information allows journalists to be more aware of the diversity of communities that exist.

It is important to have a plan in mind when crafting exercises that teach students about media engagement. I had spent fall semester 2011 structuring assignments for my spring 2012 honors Online Media class. I hope that sharing my plan will help or inspire other people to experiment.

In my Online Media class at Arizona State University, I taught social media, visual communication and coding… and time constraints would not allow the full experiment to take place. Time constraints are a common problem for educators who are digitally literate. In this post, I will discuss how I envisioned the assignment, what actually happened, and what how I would like to expand upon this experiment in the future.

The class final project theme centered on examining the meaning of hero. I specifically wanted students dissect the construct of hero. The group discussed and focused on nine sub-themes: 1) the philosophical dissection of the construct, 2) why we needs heroes, 3) superheroes, 4) video games, 5) children’s definition of heroes, 6) how other cultures define heroes, 7) musicians, 8) celebrities and 9) villains.

Plan for Engagement Experiment

First Day
I asked the mostly sophomore-level students to post their thoughts and reactions about The Hero Project to a Tumblr blog. I envisioned students sharing their personal thoughts on this blog throughout the semester. Blog posts can encourage classroom community and topic reflection. And I planned to share this blog on the final project website.

Second Week
Each student was to be responsible for a social media channel and one person was responsible with commenting on sites related to our niche. They were required to set up a social media profile, market the project, create content, connect with others with similar interests and promote the project following publication via their assigned channel. The setup portion of the assignment was to be due during the second week of the semester. The social media sites chosen were Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, Quora, Flickr, Delicious, and blog comments.

Third Week
On the Tumblr blog, each student shared the best practices for engagement related to their social media channel.

Sixth Week
We discussed the creation of a promotional video related to the project. I showed examples of videos in class for inspiration: Jacob’s Story, Will it blend?, Free Hugs and Bad Project. Based on Jacob’s story, the students thought it would be engaging to bring a white board to the streets asking people who their hero was and why. Two students did shoot the slideshow, however it was created at the end of the semester.

Eighth Week
The class of nine students was required to create a multimedia piece summarizing the effect their personal hero had on them. They were asked to interview their personal hero and/or interview themselves talking about their hero. I graded them on creativity and focus, rather than production quality. You can view their videos on their class Tumblr site. The majority of the class members voted that this were their favorite assignment of the semester. Here is some of their feedback:

  • “Making this personal hero video was a very cathartic experience … I think it communicates the message I was going for and I would love to make it longer.”
  • “We don’t often get the chance to express ourselves personally in journalism class, and I enjoyed being able to tell my own story for a change. I can’t wait to share this video with my dad. He had no idea while working on this that I was calling him my hero.”
  • “No matter what grade I get, this will probably end up being my favorite assignment of the semester. It was deeply personal, and dug at the core of what makes who I am.”

I encourage educators to allow at least one assignment that challenges students to apply a different or more personal lens related to the class focus.

Fifteenth Week
The crew coded and created a website called The Hero Project. And they posted their final thoughts about the project on the Tumblr blog. Ideally, I wanted them to interact more in social media spheres, however I am quite proud of what they did accomplish.

The Future

Ideally, I would like to teach a class called “Engaging Communities.” In such a class, I would like teaching crowdsourcing/curation, engagement, search, alternative forms of storytelling, verification and much more.

My students did begin to understand that they need to learn how to connect their content to people in the online environment. I wanted students to post suggested hashtags, live Twitter feeds, live chats and Ustreams, social media share buttons near stories and create a resources page and sidebars to encourage people to engage the content offline and online.

I have accepted a position at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism for fall 2012. I am co-teaching and helping design a journalism capstone class in this department. Based on my experience with this experiment this past Spring semester, I am inspired to continue. Here are some of my plans for the fall semester course:

During the first week students, students will search social media channels and search engines for story idea inspiration around an assigned theme. Sites could include:

Students will pitch their ideas on a G+ class circle. They will then vote (+1) and comment critically on the ideas. They will be required to observe and create content for niche communities throughout the semester. Team members will also be required to create crowdsourced stories, experiment with storytelling and engage in niche communities throughout the semester.

When I taught at Bloomsburg University in PA, I noticed that students would grow creatively and intellectually when given the opportunity to express themselves. Several academic studies show that the desire to be creative is a top reason why many journalism students choose the major of journalism. This fall semester, I am assigning every student to visually summarize their interpretation of the team’s topic using multimedia. The multimedia piece could be a montage of feet or it could be them expressing their thoughts to the camera about the niche topic. The more creative projects will receive higher grades. They will embed the SEOed video on the team’s Tumblr blog. And I also plan to still have them create promotional videos.

My goal ultimately with these assignments is to send a message that I want them to approach journalism from different angles. Many educators spend a great amount of time telling them what is and what is not journalism. In my class, I want them to take risks that reflect their desire to inform, help and motivate people. Research in political communication and other fields has shown that mobilizing efforts do influence positive behavior within individuals. Thus, I want them to also think about how they can mobilize the public for civic good. To find inspirational examples of mobilizing efforts, one should look at historical newspapers of the underground press in the 1960s.

Some syllabi suggestions would be to: 1) assign a social media editor to team projects, 2) require research of a social media channel and formulating story ideas within the channels, 3) assign a crowdsourced assignment, 4) embrace personal expression and interpretation and 5) require public and private reflection.

To learn more about engagement, I suggest reading posts from Steve Buttry, Knight Foundation’s Engagement Commons or Howard Rheingold. And of course, here is my presentation and visit my teaching page for updates on my classroom experiments at Michigan State University.

And if you have questions or comments, please comment or email me at And I want to thank the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication public relations and communication technology divisions for the speaking invitation (#AEJMC12 #prprofs) and my co-panelists @PRvolsProf, @jizaks, @abbylovett, @marcusmessner, @RedClayHound, Charles Lubbers and moderator @Gallicano.

Encourage students to design with the intent to help

My students completed their final projects for my Online Media class. Their projects impressed me. Many students have not had any technical skills training prior to this class.

I was also moved by my students’ desire to help people with their research and reporting on difficult topics.

I try to encourage students to create a site that reflects quality and experimentation. I ask students several questions as they design their final projects:

  1. Is this information meaningful?
  2. Are you helping?
  3. Why is this information important?
  4. Will people understand what you are trying to communicate?

I would also suggest another tip to educators. People need context. To help orient the reader, students should use summary decks, definition of terms, information history boxes, timelines, lists of facts, a resources page, etc. to help readers understand the issue. I often ask my students what do people need in order to understand this topic.

Next semester I plan to try another experiment focused on encouraging public engagement. I will let you know how it turns out. Feel free to browse my students’ sites.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, it attacks brain and spinal cord cells responsible for muscle movement. About 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time, according to the ALS Association. Currently, there is no cure. ALS affects more than just nerves—it wears at patients’ families, lifestyles and emotions. From the loss of independence to the loss of a loved one, the struggles are plenty for those affected.

The Pain of Healing
Self-injury is a difficult topic to discuss. Society often fails to look past the cuts and burns to find the real source of pain. This website provides an in-depth look at different behaviors associated with self-injury, the reasoning behind these behaviors, and treatment options for those wanting to seek help. After conducting extensive research on this topic, the goal is to raise awareness and help erase the stigma associated with self-harm.

For Sale: A Home Foreclosure Educational Resource

From the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ASU’s Civil Justice Clinic, resources aimed at helping families overcome the effects of foreclosure have attempted to alleviate the situation. These are the stories of the impact of home foreclosure in Phoenix.

Scars of War
In 2001, the United States became embattled in the longest war in U.S. history. Since it began, more than 42,000 military members have returned home injured. These injuries can range from concussions to missing limbs. But they also include injuries that aren’t physically visible. No scars are the same. And every wounded warrior experiences them differently. This is an in-depth look at service members’ experiences and how they deal with the prolonged effects of war in the Middle East.

The Perils of Public Transit
A team of reporters sought to more precisely understand the public transit conflict. You can read stories about local bus drivers, the dangers that Phoenix bus operators face, the status of contract negotiations, and the future of passenger service.

Immigration Economics
Even before Arizona’s immigration law, known as SB 1070, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio made it his goal to end illegal immigration in his county. His plans are to arrest and turn over illegal immigrants, who were violating other laws such as working with fake documents, to Immigration officials. So far, Arpaio’s office has arrested hundreds of suspected illegal immigrants, but little is known about what happens to those arrested. This site touches on some of those issues.

Citizens of Nowhere
The journeys of refugees from their countries of origin to the United States may last only a few days, but adjusting to their new life is a long process — one that often involves government-funded agencies and community groups. Once the refugees become citizens, they often create cultural centers and continue their traditional celebrations. This site shares some of those stories.



A Job is in the Details: 10 Tips on Elevating a Portfolio

I strive to help my students understand how to visually communicate their work with people. One way of reaching people is through their  professional portfolio.

If your school or department does not help students present themselves professionally online, your students will struggle finding employment. To help my future students and other people, I post my Online Media 305 students’ portfolios every semester. I was asked to present on how I help students with this task at the Journalism Interactive conference. In my presentation, I shared some of the advice I give my students.

1. Clean Design
You must help people “see” your content. The “seeing” of content can be enabled through the design principle of contrast. Our eyes like contrast. To create contrast, vary up site font size and type. A trend that some site creators are following is a minimalist design with big headings. Marie Catrib, Brian Hoff, and Jacqueline Guiterrez are examples.

Color is also another way to create contrast. Your website should not always be painted with blocks of your favorite color. One tip is to use color as an accent. I am not a fan of pink, but Jessica Goldberg used it effectively by including touches of it in her headings throughout her site. Remember, site design can affect your credibility.

2. Clear Navigation
Keep your navigation simple. One of the best ways is to categorize your work rather than forcing the visitor to scroll through a maze of unrelated clips. Some good examples of navigation include Dave Hill’s photo portfolio and Julia Tylor’s use of folder icons. You could also consider creating a tab for your latest projects.

3. About Me
One way to connect with the web audience is by sharing your passion for your work and people. A bio should not lead with “I am a student studying at XYZ university. I will complete my degree in 2014.” It is important to lead with your professional foot rather than your student identity.

People connect with faces and smiles. Post a natural-looking professional photo of yourself. Do not include the high school photo of yourself with a guitar or dance club pictures. Good examples include Laura Parkinson, Molly Smith, and Etka Poudel.

4. Contact
On a contact page, you should post your full name, a professional email address, and social media identities. Social media and community building skills are attractive to employers. Social media skills reflect that you understand how to connect your content to people. I would suggest Googling for free social media icons.

5. Resume
For SEO purposes, I require my students to post a portion of their resume in text. Stephanie Paeprer created beautiful contrast on her resume by using both a serif and sans serif font. Remember, a resume should be well-designed and the job responsibility section should include powerful verbs and specifics about what you did.

In addition, it is important to clearly communicate that a PDF copy of your resume is available for download.

6. Content Motivation
If you are a journalist, self-motivation is an expectation. The ease of publishing has enabled any almost person to publish content, but most people are not motivated to publish content on a regular basis.

  • Blog:  As you write, you learn more about yourself and the topic. I have posted tips on how to encourage students to publish blog posts, think of blog topics, and connect content to readers.
  • Clips: Michael Pollen linked to his articles appropriately by providing a headline, publication, summary and date of each article. To make increase levels satisfaction, add a summary paragraph for each multimedia project.  You should aggregate PDF copies and links to your articles. It is important to capture PDF copies of site pages because link stability can be an issue. You capture PDF screen grabs by selecting File > Print > Save as PDF.
  • Multimedia Web Series: A few ways to show your multimedia work is by creating a YouTube channel (e.g., Peter Hadfield), sharing social media releases for a company, launching your own radio program, or starting your own video web series on a issue in your community.

7. Services
Angela Grant clearly communicates her desire to get paid for her talents on her homepage. You should do the same. For example, Aaron Lavinsky created a separate tab listing his photography costs. This is an opportunity for you to earn freelance money and learn how to continue doing what you love following graduation.

8. Images
People are attracted to images. Anyone who uses Facebook can attest to the lure of images. Most people have access to a camera, and thus, there is no reason why you can’t post a photo portfolio such as this slideshow created by using Flickr.

If telling stories on the human condition is your dream job, show me humans. Photographs that display emotion and human faces can affect the visitor. Selena Larson included a photo from her volunteer efforts in Africa to show the type of work she desired. Stephen M. Katz and Poh Si Teng designed their portfolios with a similar intention.

9. Video Resume
More than 80% of U.S. internet users have watched an online video. People spend more time on a website if a video is present. One way to elevate your video resume is by making it interactive. Mashable reported on Graeme Anthony who used YouTube Video Annotations to help visitors more easily digest his video resume reel. Annotations enable you to create a video with clickable chapters.

10. Infographic
There are some simple tools to use to create a graphic that visually communicates your skill knowledge areas. Jeremy Pennycook‘s circles, Jessica Goldberg’s WordCloud, and Heather Billing’s interactive graphic are examples.

Take advantage of free services that help you present your resume in a creative way. I suggest to all my students to sign up and complete bios on free sites such as (e.g., Lee Semel), (e.g., Jade Rehder), and (e.g., Erica Swallow). Also, some sites for design inspiration include WebDesigner Depot‘s web design trends, directory, and Leslie-Jean Thornton’s aggregated list of examples.

I tell my students that the only limitation is your mind. Give yourself or your students’ time to be creative. To help them transform a blank page into a website, tell them to list words and draw pictures that come to mind when they think about their lives and their career. Every semester I am taken aback by what they accomplish when given the time.

Teaching social media release basics

The social media release (SMR) is a press release that contains multimedia and social media elements. The point of it is to encourage writers, bloggers and other people to share the link or take the material from the press release to promote the event, company or individual featured in the SMR.

Most of my students were not familiar with a SMR. Recent survey research revealed that the majority (57.5%) of sampled bloggers (n=332) extracted from Text100, a global PR consultancy firm database said that they also had not been exposed to the technology.

At a minimum, the social media release should be optimized for search. It also can contain news items from a variety of social media platforms. SMR creators can embed content from multiple social media sites such as YouTube, Flickr and other sites. Most large-scale companies will likely have their own social media newsrooms, but a release is a useful first step in empowering the individual or smaller organization.

I teach both journalism and public relations students in my Online Media class. Students need to learn more than just how to create content. During this class experiment, journalism students learned that creating a release can be another way to promote their work and public relations students learned how easy it is to create a press release containing social media items.

The class assignment took some time to set up because most of the sites that claim to be free are not actually free or user-friendly. I found Presskit’n to be the best because it is free, it is easy to use, and it provides a URL. I wrote up instructions on how to create a SMR using it.
The SMR should contain social media and main contact(s), a suggested headline, core facts, a news summary, background information of person or organization, social media links, suggested tweet, suggested tags, suggested quotes, sharable visuals that follow photography and videography principles and a list of useful links.

My students created releases on topics such as a publication winning an award, a swimwear line, a non-profit organization, and the Arizona Humane Society. Overall, most students responded positively to the assignment. One student said, “I thought this project was an awesome experience. I had done press releases before this class, but none that were designed to be social media specific. After I posted the press release on my Facebook, I got quite a bit of feedback.” Many of the students said that they planned to continue to create SMRs in the future as well.

The philosophy of Brian Storm, a visual storyteller

Journalism is struggling to find its place. Brian Storm of MediaStorm challenged the rituals of journalism. Brian does not care whether you call his craft journalism. He says his organization is a media company, “I don’t even know what journalism means, but I know I am a storyteller. There is nothing revolutionary about stories.” Brian Storm visited my Online Media class throughout the semester. He feels he has a special responsibility to represent the voice of people.

People naturally are conditioned to connect with other humans. Storm wants to tap into that wiring. He argues people are unmoved by data and reporter narration. The idea that communicators should not push for change counters their desire to make a difference. He says, “Success for us is more about whether a project educates people about the issues we are trying to tackle. And does it call them to action and inspire them to create change?”

Journalism and mass communication information providers should embed within online communities. His organization uses YouTube, newsletters, Facebook, iTunes, blogs, etc. because he wants it picked up by the “statusphere.”

He tells artistic stories that are rooted in visual logic. Brian forces you to defend your choices — choices of edits, choices of sources, choices of music, etc. He says by not relying on narration he has chosen the most challenging method of storytelling. “People will write the story for you. It is the hardest way because it is subject-driven. You need to get closer to the human condition and to your subjects.”

Brian Storm says, “Students must learn to learn.” A lesson I try to teach. I also hope that I am helping build confidence within them. I want them to challenge and move the field forward.

I wanted to share some of his philosophy on serving other people through his work:

  • “The audience is not apathetic. It is us in the newsroom that are apathetic. The work will be shared if you focus on quality.”
  • “The challenge is to do quality content. Don’t be the noise in the middle. The noise is reporting on stories that are not going to contribute anything meaningful to a community.”
  • “We pick projects that we think have a timeless value to them, that are universal, that speak to the human condition, which I know is a cliche, but that is what we are trying to find and share.You are trying to connect to the character and feed the issue at the end. We care about other people. Don’t lead with issues. Lead with character. If you cannot make a connection, then you cannot make a difference.”

Motivating students to continue blogging

Students are required to create a WordPress blog for their first assignment in my Online Media class. A blog is beneficial because it can help students establish themselves as an expert on a topic. As a learning tool, it teaches my students how to publish and connect information online.

My hope is that they will continue their blog following the class. A small portion of my journalism and mass communication students continue their blog past the four required posts in my class. Eleven out of my 37 Fall 2010 students continued their blog.

The most effective way I have found to encourage students to continue their blog is through feedback in the form of metrics and user comments, not my feedback :). I have students embed Sitemeter onto their blogs. This free metrics tool helps them see what keywords were used to find them, the location of their visitors, and how often people visit their site. Sitemeter code can be embedded in a text box widget. You can’t use Google Analytics with free WordPress. I feel that they should be able to understand a little about metrics by the time they finish my class. Most people are not aware of how effortless it is to track online behavior.

Students are also amazed that people will comment, and most often, comments are supportive of their work.

One student, Emily Timm, created a blog on spinning. She averages 70 to 100 views a week. She discovered people were finding her because she understood SEO and Google. People asked her to contribute more often on her blog. She says, it was “something she definitely wasn’t expecting.”

Cronkite student Julia Tylor was the surprise hit of the semester with her blog on taste-testing weird food products. It was always a pleasure to read. After two months, she received more than 11-thousand visits. She blogs weekly because she has received overwhelming feedback and “because it is a lot of fun.”

Kelsea Wasung decided to use her blog to discuss the broadcast news industry. Her blog led to an opportunity to write for School Video News, an online magazine for K-12 students.

It is important to encourage them to write about a passion or hobby. Lia Steinberg decided to share to tips on geocaching. She found that blogging has helped her to see that a large number of people have similar interests. Lia was cited in an article about traveling.

Other motivated student bloggers posted on living gluten-free, helping young writers, the Arizona music scene, conservative and Hispanic views of politics, spirituality at ASU, and life as a foreigner living in Arizona.

Students should publish now, rather than waiting for a class assignment or an assignment editor’s approval.

Some requirements of blog assignment include:

  1. Their full name on the blog
  2. Text box explaining the purpose of blog
  3. A picture of themselves on an About or Contact page
  4. An email address on an About or Contact page
  5. Allow people to comment on their posts
  6. Each post must contain at least one meaningful link
  7. One-to-three sentence paragraphs
  8. At a minimum, the post should be educational and/or entertaining
  9. Use both tags and categories
  10. Use keywords in the headline

SYLLABI: Teaching Online Journalism and Communication

Online Journalism Review aggregated syllabi in 2004, however this list needs to be updated. In an attempt to aggregate this information, I have begun a list of syllabi dedicated to online journalism, online communication and social media. I found that results from Google do not showcase all of the best available syllabi online.

This section highlights faculty syllabi that focus on skills, theory, online communication, and journalism. The selected sites featured interactive, timely, and great resources for students, educators, journalists, and people with a desire to learn. I have also highlighted some useful features that I believe may be useful for educators.

Mindy McAdams – University of Florida
Mindy McAdams shares her syllabi focused on the teaching of multimedia, animation, and reporting for online users. Her sites are designed simply and feature possible assignment ideas and online resources for educators and students.

Dave Stanton – University of Florida
Dave Stanton has a broad background, which enables him to teach web consulting, design and XHTML/CSS. I really like that Dave gives his students video tutorials to help them process information outside of class.

Serena Carpenter – Arizona State University
My class is the foundation class for all things concerning online media. It is divided into three sections: 1) social media, 2) visual communication, and 3) Web site creation. The focus throughout the semester is on online communication. I provide ideas for class assignments as well. I also provide tutorials on my blog.

Leslie-Jean Thornton – Arizona State University
This is an online reporting course for students in a Masters program. The resources page also provides some useful tutorials.

Carol Schwalbe and Nancie Dodge – Arizona State University
The Advanced Online Media class builds upon skills taught in previous basic online media classes.

Cindy Royal – Texas State University
Cindy Royal’s site contains useful ideas to include into lectures.

Don Wittekind – University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
I am impressed by Don Wittekind’s ability to teach Flash, based on my experience from a past seminar. Don provides a list of classes that he teaches in the left-hand navigation section. He provides some lectures and handouts as well.

Ryan Thornburg – University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Ryan Thornburg shares his online reporting syllabi. His assigned readings page is interactive.

Alfredo A. Marin-Carle – Ball State University
The New Media Journalism concentrates on web design. The reference section offers a list of useful sites for people teaching such courses.

Tracy Rutledge – University of Tennessee at Martin
Intro to Multimedia focuses on creating multimedia websites. She provides some tutorials as well.

Donica Mensing – University of Nevada-Reno
Donica Mensing shares her syllabus for her online reporting course, which covers multimedia reporting, social media and HTML/CSS. She provides helpful videos as well.

Laura Ruel
– University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Laure Ruel teaches design and multimedia storytelling. She has a great downloads section that features storyboarding and usability execises.

Chris Harvey – University of Maryland
I like that this instructor’s Online Journalism class schedule is interactive and detailed.

Sean Mussenden – University of Maryland
His Online Journalism course has screencast tutorials teaching others how to use WordPress.

Gaurav Mishra -  Georgetown University
The Social Media in Business, Development and Government course concentrates on social media literacy.

Henry Jenkins – Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program
The New Media Literacies course site shares resources related to online participation and communication.

Alice J. Robinson – Arizona State University
The Digital Cultures and Social Media course is a doctoral seminar. There is a list of thought-provoking pieces on her schedule and on her Delicious page.

Corinne WeisgerberSt. Edward’s University
The Social Media for Public Relations class offers useful material for anyone teaching social media including how to reach online users.

David Carlson – University of Florida
He teaches an Applied Interactive Newspaper course and an online communication class. I like that student projects are shared.

Tim McGuire – Arizona State University
The Business and Future of Journalism class encourages students to reflect on the journalism industry by having them write about business models. Tim also provides links to suggested readings.

Siva Vaidhyanathan – University of Virgina
This Introduction to Digital Media instructor encourages students to take a critical look at new media and its impact on culture. The reading list is a useful resource.

Jeffrey Michael Heer – Stanford University
Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction is a graduate-level course focused on HCI. He also includes links to student articles.

Vin Crosbie – Syracuse University

The course examines how new media differs from traditional media. Crosbie provides a list of books that may be useful for other instructors.

To add your course to the list, email me or provide your syllabus in the comments section including background information related to the course. I hope that these examples are useful for educators designing their classes for future semesters and for those looking for resources to learn more about the online media environment.

MIT Video Game Program

MIT created a somewhat simple program to create games. The program is called Scratch, which can be installed on both a Mac and PC. The use of games on news and information sites would likely become more prevalent if the process did not involve so much time, resources, and technical knowledge. Bonnie Bucqueroux gave me the tip about this program. Like YouTube, you can create your own projects, save your favorite projects, and friend other Scratch enthusiasts. The bulk of the material on the site is created by young people using the program to blast meteorites or dragons. I found other Scratch creations such as an imperial-metric converter and calculator.

One of the issues with the use of this program is that you can embed the image on your site, however it can be misleading. If you push the button/image, you can only play the game on the MIT site, which took more than five seconds to load on my computer before I could play the game. Test it on yours by playing the piano.

Scratch Project