Brainstorming for a new semester

I’m jumping into a new semester and as always, I’m mixing things up for the class I teach. In the last year, I’ve realized many of the tools I use are not a common part of journalism education: blogs, social networks, live streaming and blogging tools. The list goes on and on. So this semester I’m going to try to find ways to encourage my students to use these tools. I launched my class this week with a Twitter hashtag (#jenclass) and plans to use Google Wave, Cover It Live, Skype and many other tools to give my students reasons to play around and learn from experience.

I also learned about a website called Prezi today. I’m clearly behind the ball on this one. But the site created a new free version for students and faculty to use for presentations. I jumped in, created an account and created this step by step process that explains how to succeed in my class:

I also have an interesting challenge with my students. We’re all going to look for ways to take GPS-based games and find ways to bring news into those games. Right now I’m a fan of foursquare and I’ve been able to finally play it in my town when the site opened up to any location. (It used to only let you play in certain cities) I’m curious to see how news can get involved in games. Could we insert historical or newsworthy information about various locations? I’m curious and I’m planning on looking into that.

We have a whole bunch of projects to work on and I look forward to sharing the progress we make as the semester continues.


  1. I’m really interested to see how this Foursquare idea develops, Jen. I introduced it to my class last week (and became Mayor of Martin Hall right before their eyes!), but many were surprisingly mired in “this is stupid” territory. We’ve got an innovation assignment due at semester’s end, and I’m hoping to get them to go further in thinking what’s BEHIND utilities like Foursquare. Quick plug – the course blog is listed with my username if you want to see what they’re up to.

  2. As my Multimedia Planning and Design class “oohed” and “aahed” over the map/timeline of Las Vegas put together by the Las Vegas Sun, Joy Mayer pitched the idea of doing something similar with a map of Mizzou’s campus and it’s history. I’d love to see these two ideas integrated somehow… imagine a freshman scavenger hunt where new j-students got to run all over campus, checking into different buildings and learning their way around campus/its history at the same time!

  3. Joy Mayer

    Elle, that’s a great idea! Let people check in around campus to get the information in our interactive. Hmmm.

  4. Isn’t this stuff fun? I love finding ways we as journalists can add
    to the process. I’d love to see a scavenger hunt through GPS games. Another student in class thought up GPS connect four games. That would be fun!

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