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Archive for January 22nd, 2014

Tim McGuire, photo linked from Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

I am delighted that Tim McGuire has responded to my call for advice for a new adjunct journalism professor.

Few professors can match Tim’s combination of newsroom and classroom experience. He’s the former editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Frank Russell Chair for the business of journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I highly recommend reading his post about respect, experimentation and different learning styles. It includes this gem:

I find that experimentation is the soul of effective teaching This is my 15th semester of teaching and I’ve never used the same syllabus twice. Sure, I keep some elements from previous semesters but every semester I essentially redesign my courses.

He also linked to an earlier post about engaging students.

A new journalism professor can’t do much better than a double dose of advice from Tim McGuire.

Earlier advice for a new journalism professor

Advice for a new journalism prof: Teach lessons a variety of ways

7 types of content to include in journalism classes

Curt Chandler’s advice to a new J-prof: Don’t assume, show examples

J-prof’s challenge: Use experience to teach specific lessons, not to bore

Teaching advice from Kathleen Woodruff Wickham: Learn how academia works

Chris Snider’s teaching advice: Students learn from presentations

Journalism teaching advice from Pam Fine: Get ready for grading

Teaching advice from Norm Lewis: What students learn is most important

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Omaha World-Herald front page, Jan. 23, 1973Two big stories happened 41 years ago today. One would affect the nation’s politics for decades to come. But it didn’t lead the front page of the next day’s Omaha World-Herald (or very many morning newspapers, I suspect).

Note the Roe vs. Wade story squeezed under a two-column headline off to the left, getting a tiny fraction of the space devoted to the death of former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

I’d be interested to know how many morning newspapers made a similar call that day. The story by Eileen Wirth (now chair of the Creighton University Journalism Department) says the initial reaction in Nebraska was a promise to keep their abortion laws as strict as the Supreme Court ruling allowed. (I’ll send Eileen a link to the story and invite her to add any memories of that story and that paper.)

Update: See Eileen’s response toward the end of this post.

But I doubt any of her sources or the editors who downplayed the story had any notion that we’d still be fighting about Roe vs. Wade in our fifth decade after that ruling.

(more…)

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This continues my series on advice for a new adjunct journalism professor. This guest post is from Norm Lewis of the University of Florida:

Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis

It matters not what you teach; it only matters what they learn.

You can best focus on what they learn by identifying – in writing – the outcomes you want for your students. (These belong in the syllabus, by the way.) And an outcome must be observable and tangible. For example:

Bad outcomes:

  • Know the material
  • Understand how to use Twitter as a journalist
  • Become familiar with elementary coding

Good outcomes:

  • Persuasively argue both sides of the evolving debate over Internet privacy
  • Create a Twitter feed that results in two crowd-sourced stories
  • Customize an attractive and customized WordPress blog by editing HTML and CSS codes

The key is that what a professor tells the class is just breath. The only thing that matters is what the student can do: analyze, evaluate, compare, create, etc. So we start by identifying what we want the students to do. Then we focus everything in the class – every exercise, reading, homework assignment and test – to produce or measure those outcomes.

Earlier advice for a new journalism professor

Advice for a new journalism prof: Teach lessons a variety of ways

7 types of content to include in journalism classes

Curt Chandler’s advice to a new J-prof: Don’t assume, show examples

J-prof’s challenge: Use experience to teach specific lessons, not to bore

Teaching advice from Kathleen Woodruff Wickham: Learn how academia works

Chris Snider’s teaching advice: Students learn from presentations

Journalism teaching advice from Pam Fine: Get ready for grading

Read Full Post »