This semester, I am teaching a Social Media Journalism class at VCU, in which all 14 student received an iPad to do mobile reporting projects. This innovative technology project is run in cooperation with VCU’s Center for Teaching Excellence and the Technology Services of the College of Humanities and Sciences (Hastech) as well as WTVR CBS 6 as a media partner. In the first six weeks of the semester, the students have been engaged on various social media platforms and visited a Social Media Club event this week. Social media experts like Scott Wise and Lorenzo Hall, executive producer and reporter at CBS 6, have also enriched the learning experience as guest speakers.
The idea of doing your homework on paper seems prehistoric next to the idea of using mobile devices. Instead, for one class, these mobile devices are changing the rules of learning journalism.
This semester the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) partnered with the School of Mass Communications in purchasing 16 iPads to use in Dr. Marcus Messner’s Social Media Journalism class.
“We never had a specific social media class for journalism,“ said Messner. “I thought how are we going to run this class? So I applied for a grant from the CTE to get some iPads.”
Each student in the class is given an iPad to use throughout the semester. Students in the class utilize online social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to report on events and issues. By using the iPads, they are learning how to effectively break news on social media and blogs.
At the end of the semester, I will post a summary of my experiences with this pilot project. You can follow all class activities throughout the semester on the class website. I have also posted the syllabus and schedule there. And when you’re nearby, please check into our newsroom.