Elected Standing Committee on Teaching 2013 Abstracts

“I’ll Take Commas for $200″: Instructional Intervention Using Games to Help Students Master Grammar Skills • Susan Bullard, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Nancy Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln • Effective writing requires mastering grammar. For journalists, this mastery is especially important because research shows poor grammar erodes media credibility. College writing instructors say students don’t understand basic grammar concepts, and greater numbers of college students are enrolling in remedial writing classes. This quasi-experimental mixed methods study examines whether using games to teach basic grammar skills helps college students understand and retain grammar concepts. It also examines student perceptions of their learning experience.

Strengthening Basic Writing Skills: A Collaborative Approach Between Media Writing Courses and Writing Studio Tutoring • Michael Drager, Shippensburg University of PA; Karen Johnson, Shippensburg University; Rachel Bryson, Shippensburg University • Strengthening journalism students’ basic writing skills has been a challenge for journalism instructors for many years. Various research studies have indicated a concern for that challenge and attempts to address it adequately. This mixed-methods study explores the development of a collaborative program between journalism instructors and writing studio tutors that incorporates a pretest to identify student weaknesses in basic skill sets, proficiency examinations to test student progress, and targeted tutoring to strengthen skills. Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of this collaboration over a three-year period by employing a variety of methods: paired sample t-tests, independent t-tests, descriptive statistics, surveys, interviews, and document analysis. Results indicated that students scored significantly higher than their pretest scores and control groups from previous years. Students acknowledged their improvement and agreed that tutoring helped them develop writing proficiency. This study suggests that mandatory tutoring can benefit students, and guidelines for developing similar collaborations are provided.

The gaps between journalism education and practice in the digital age: A factor analysis • Ying Roselyn Du, Hong Kong Baptist U.; Eric Lo • This study is a twin survey of online journalism professionals and students that examines and compares their perceptions of journalism skills, duties, and concepts. Using samples of online journalists and online journalism students in Hong Kong, Asia’s news media hub, the survey attempts to offer updated insights into the changes taking place in online journalism classrooms and newsrooms, and uncovers the discordance between online journalism education and practice. Through a factor analysis, the study finds that in online newsrooms, traditional journalistic skills such as writing and news judgment remain prioritized over technical skills such as multimedia and website works. The findings also suggest that today’s journalism students are fairly proficient in new media skills. Therefore, journalism curricula should not forgo training students on traditional journalistic skills for computer skills.

MOOCs in the Humanities: Can They Reach Underprivileged Students? • Suzannah Evans, UNC; Karen McIntyre, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have been heralded as a democratizing force bringing higher education to the world’s neediest students. But do MOOCs effectively confront the well-documented challenges of online education for underprivileged students? This textual analysis examines current MOOC offerings in the humanities and finds that courses are designed for relatively well-prepared students, not underprivileged students.

Enhancing student learning in knowledge-based courses: Integrating team-based learning in mass communication theory classes • Gang (Kevin) Han, Greenlee School/Iowa State University; Jay Newell, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State Univ. • Using the case of teaching an undergraduate mass communication theory class in a large Midwest research university, this study discusses the adoption and adaption of the team-based learning (TBL) method in knowledge-based and theory-oriented journalism and mass communication courses. This study first reviews the origin and the concept of TBL, the theories relevant to TBL, and then introduces the TBL method and implementation in the particular course, including procedures and assessments. Based on the results, the significance of this study concerning students’ learning effectiveness and outcome, as well as its pedagogical implications for the journalism and mass communication field and beyond, are discussed.

You Can Fix Stupid: An Experimental Game to Teach a Need For News • Kelly Kaufhold, Texas Tech University • A novel, entertaining classroom experiment was devised to augment current events and public affairs knowledge in journalism classes. The experiment featured an interactive news game modeled after two television game shows: Ca$h Cab and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. The game experiment, conducted across eight classes in two semesters, succeeded in creating a few more avid news consumers among students; strongly conveyed civics knowledge to many students; and is fun and easily replicable.

Cultivating a Professional Ethic in Covering Marginalized Populations: Learning About the Poor Through Service-Learning • Philllip Motley; Amanda Sturgill, Elon University • As mass communications programs teach students to tell stories, it is important that the curriculum includes the significance of covering diverse groups accurately. Scholars have paid some attention to the coverage of different genders and nationalities, and to ethnic and racial minorities. One area that has seen less concern is economic difference and coverage of the poor in particular. This work examines how service-learning might be used to affect students’ ideas about the poor and their sense of responsibility to tell accurate stories about them. Researchers found that students who encountered the poor directly through service-learning changed their attitudes about the poor and causes of poverty and expressed concern about the need to represent the poor fairly and accurately.

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