Teaching a new Web Development for Media class at Georgetown this summer

I’m very excited to be teaching a new course at Georgetown University this summer called Web Development for Media, which begins tonight in Clarendon. The class includes 10 journalism and five public relations graduate students in the School of Continuing Studies.

The course assumes no prior knowledge of code or web development and will be akin to a practical survey class — intended to guide students through understanding and using some key tools. With fundamental understanding and hands-on practice, they’ll be able to dive deeper and teach themselves more after the 12 weeks. Here’s the official description:

Merely using the web and digital tools is no longer enough for today’s media professionals. Journalists and communicators alike need to have a strong foundational and practical understanding of how websites and applications are built and how to troubleshoot when problems arise. This class does not aim to make you hard-core coders or require any web development experience, but we do want you to come away with some coding skills. You’ll also be able to more effectively collaborate with web developers and continue learning on your own.

Students will learn about the various phases of web development and the fundamental technologies used to code and design web pages by diving into HTML and CSS, plus some basic JavaScript, jQuery and PHP. Students set up their own self-hosted website using WordPress. Readings, guest speakers and hands-on learning activities and assignments will be the basis for instruction.

Follow along on the course site, check out the syllabus and let me know in the comments below what you think.

Ideas for visiting Virginia Commonwealth University graduate journalism class

I’ll be trekking down to Richmond, the capitol of the commonwealth I now call home, to speak with a graduate-level online journalism class on Friday evening. My esteemed Publish2 colleague (and all-around awesome dude) Ryan Sholin was not able to attend and I’ve been invited to discuss what we do, how journalism is changing and whatever other topics can fit into the session.

Maybe I’ll even throw in some of the ol’ tips.

As would be expected, I posed a question on Twitter about what I should discuss.

(Tweets curated and published with ease courtesy of this and this.)

Thanks to Craig Kanalley, Adam Glenn, Vadim LavrusikMike Higdon and Yuri Victor for their advice. These are all great topics and I hope to touch on as many as possible.

As I read the responses, I thought more about the best approach for the visit. Here’s what I’m thinking now:

  • Introduce myself
  • Ask students to introduce themselves
  • Discuss their interests and goals
  • Ask what they want to discuss
  • Maybe show some things on the screen
  • Challenge assumptions, if warranted

The last point bounced around my head as I asked the question and read the answers, most likely because it was the topic of my Skype video chat with Dave Stanton‘s senior-level journalism class earlier this month.

Then I saw this and laughed:

  • danielbachhuber: Questioning the assumptions will always produce mind-blowing results.

Daniel and are often on the same wavelength, but this was just a funny coincidence. He sent that tweet via text message and wasn’t responding to me (I doubt he even saw the question).

I will qualify and say I don’t think you will always get mind-blowing results, but we could all use a little more challenging of assumptions now and then. Particularly when it comes to journalism education and how we deal with related conversations.

So let me know what you think of this approach and what would you discuss if you were speaking to a graduate-level online journalism class.

Feedback wanted: Special Olympics athlete profile video

If you follow me on Twitter (@greglinch), you’ve probably see a tweet or two about this:

I shot and edited the video for my multimedia storytelling class with Rich Beckman, Knight Chair in visual journalism. I got a lot of good responses and feedback* from Beckman and my classmates, but I’m still hungry for more.

What did you like? What could have been done better? Please let me know in the comments or by using this nifty contact form.

*A footnote: One of aspect that could be improved is the amount of visual variety; specifically, use fewer basketball clips and show different types of interaction. From the time the project was assigned to when it was due, there was only one opportunity to go with the class to shoot, so I only have them playing basketball.

Even though the assignment is complete, I plan to go back and shoot more footage of Rocmel interacting with his friends and classmates.

Thoughts on Fish At Bay interactive storytelling class project and convergence

After a semester of work, my interactive storytelling class launched its site about fish in Biscayne Bay launched last Wednesday: Fish At Bay.

Hats off to our converged class of “print” and visual journalism students: Walyce Almeida, Maria Arroyave, Erica Landau, Brian Schlansky, Jen Shook, Jamie Straz, Alex Thacker and Jason Walker.

Our professors, Kim Grinfeder (visual journalism) and Sam Terilli (print journalism), did a great job overseeing the project — and recruiting everyone. Also, thanks to our TA, Zeven Rodriguez.

To provide some background, Grinfeder and Terilli have collaborated the past two fall semesters with their Web production and in-depth storytelling classes, respectively. I was in the fall 2008 in-depth class.

With this spring’s (experimental) interactive storytelling class, they took it to the next level of convergence. As far as I know, this was the first class at the University of Miami School of Communication to combine the talents of print and visual journalism students in one class.

I took advantage of the opportunity to get more experience shooting and editing video, as well as to become proficient with Final Cut Pro. I particularly enjoyed being able to work in so may areas:

  • Write history story
  • Shoot b-roll and take photos for history video
  • Edit history video
  • Edit and write cutlines for history photos
  • Edit Delicate Balance video
  • Shoot an interview for the Building on the Bay video
  • Copy edit all stories
  • Write about page
  • Add p tags and hyperlinks (plus find links for) all stories

I’m usually critical of the lack of collaboration between the print and visual programs, but I’ve seen some very encouraging strides this semester.

Grinfeder and Terilli get it. Chris Delboni, my online journalism professor, and Michelle Seelig, the spring Web production professor, get it. (More thoughts on the online journalism class and our collaboration with the Web production class to follow).

So, what now?

Without a question, the interactive storytelling class should be a standard course, and it should be required for all journalism students at UM. Yes, that means bringing in broadcast as well. And there needs to be more converged classes, like an introductory storytelling class (more on this to come as well).

Resistance is futile. You must adapt.

Weigh in: What do you think of the Fish At Bay site?