My goal for my Final Project of my Master of Education degree is to determine how to develop an online high school journalism course for an online high school so that it is accessible and responsive to a geographically diverse student population.
To find the answers to my questions about accessibility and responsiveness, I searched peer-reviewed journal articles and journalism textbooks, plus, I did my own survey of my online high school students.
What I learned about journalism today is twofold; technology is rapidly changing the way news is:
- gathered – citizens are working alongside trained journalists as reporters,
- delivered – consumers are now able to demand delivery of news on their own terms.
Equally important to my question of how this rapidly changing world of newsgathering and reporting relates to an online high school newspaper, is how to present the curriculum in a way that engages my online students. My research is telling me that some of the same dynamics of web-based news applies to the online classroom: lessons have to be multimedia presentations that engage the students, encouraging their interaction with the teacher, the material, and each other.
My love for journalism dates back to my undergraduate days at the University of Missouri School of Journalism where I earned my Bachelor of Journalism –in broadcasting –in the mid-70’s. At that time there was a clear distinction between print and broadcast news. After graduating from MU I went to work as a local television news reporter in Ohio, and then I moved to New York where I started at NBC News (television) as a production assistant. I progressed from PA to researcher to news writer to producer.
Never would I have imagined then that my television news experience would be so important to me now as I guide students in designing an online newspaper. The worlds of print news and broadcast news are now one, at least on the internet. And it seems, from a survey of my students, that for them the internet is the preferred way of getting news.
On this website, teachers will find a methodology which will explain my questions and research regarding the shaping of an online journalism class and newspaper that is responsive and accessible to students. Under Curriculum and Materials, teachers will find the practical application of my research: a sample of lesson plans. I hope teachers find these lessons helpful in complementing their present journalism class or a future one. No matter if a teacher is in a brick-and-mortar school, or in an online school, the matter at hand is to respond to the changing world of online journalism in our curriculums to benefit our students.