The two weeks of the Katho New Media course came and passed quickly. I had a smaller class this time which enabled me to better interact with the students and follow closer their progress. This also meant that the course was more intense (and intensive) as the teams were smaller. Unlike with the previous semesters we didn’t have a company visit yet we were joined by three excellent speakers from three different countries.
I wrote in about John Coster’s talk, cheapest from Citizens’ Eye, viagra 40mg in a previous post. His stories made the abstracts concepts of citizen and community journalism that I presented understandable to my class and his enthusiasm and passion for the project were inspiring to the students to the point of making them rethink and re-evaluate the role they believe journalism and journalists should play.
Kneale Mann‘s presentation was dynamic, visit engaging and challenging. Kneale, a strategist and consultant I’ve met on Twitter, was kind to join us on Skype from Ottawa, Canada in a day that was technically a holiday both in Canada and in Belgium. Two of the more important tips he gave us came through the emphasis he put on the relevance of the content produced to the online communities/audiences and its reflecting the objectives of the content producer were supported. He also suggested that free online, while it might mean purchase or cost free comes with other hidden costs usually related to time spent learning new platforms and developing/creating content fit and relevant to them. Kneale’s blog and his way of approaching social media, as an environment where conversation reigns and investment in relationships should rule will remain a good resource to me and to my future students as well.
Dr Mugur Geana from the William Allen School of Journalism of the University of Kansas joined us again and gave to this series of students as well a very well prepared and easy to understand introduction to mass communication research. This semester his talk helped students gain a better understanding of the term “research”. It was also a great support in their choice and evaluation of some platforms, like Google Insights for Search, Twitter Analyzer or PollDaddy, that could be used for mass communication research. As usual, the students’ outputs (in-class assignments) can be found on the spaces related to the class:
A big thank you to all three speakers! With your input this class was so much better!
Finally, the evaluations are in and the students’ grades are ready to be submitted. I am glad and honored to see that this semester’s group rated with “very good” and “excellent” and that they appreciated the use of technology in the class, my enthusiasm and my approach to teaching.
The results obtained at this semester’s evaluation confirm that there is a great potential in integrating new media in the classroom both as introduction of tools and platforms as well as bringing the students in contact with professionals and lecturers from far away destinations. In all the four semesters I delivered the course, as well as in the situations when I was the lecturer called to talk from a distance, the students’ engagement and accumulation was better, the novelty of the approach stimulating them to discuss and interact with the person on screen. Moreover, the successful use of free platforms such as Skype or Tokbox and the integration of Twitter as a back channel showed two cost and time-effective ways of managing the class and monitoring the discussion related to it.