This continues my series on advice for a new adjunct journalism professor. This guest post is from Norm Lewis of the University of Florida:
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:
- Know the material
- Understand how to use Twitter as a journalist
- Become familiar with elementary coding
- 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.