New Media Initiative leads to ideal online classroom p.30

By: Editorial Staff Imagine a giant classroom, the size of a small barn. Inside, desks with computers and telephones are arranged in bunches of four or five, just like you'd find them in a newsroom. In one corner of the room, there are editing stations where broadcast students can splice and play back tape. The entire room is connected to the Internet, and newspaper students work with broadcast students to report and present the news in a variety of formats. It is cooperative learning at its best.
For many journalism schools, this classroom is nothing but a dream. But for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, it will soon be reality. Last year the Minnesota State Legislature approved $9 million to renovate the school's journalism building, Murphy Hall. Construction already has begun; work on the building will be completed in the fall of 2000.
The legislature dubbed the grant a "New Media Initiative" and urged school officials to spend the money on improving the school's online journalism program. The directive was great news to Kathleen Hansen, an associate professor who also runs the Minnesota Journalism Center. Hansen says that while the school already has incorporated new media into all of its undergraduate classes, she and her colleagues had been looking for a way to establish an extensive online journalism program unique to UM.
"When it comes to online journalism, schools have some courses here and there, but nothing is really that well integrated," she says. "Even before the grant, we knew that whole idea of having some specific courses in new media was not the way we wanted to go. Rather than building a special area, we want to make sure we build new media into everything."
Hansen says the new interactive classroom will do just that. Until then, she adds, the school's new media efforts are coordinated through its Institute for New Media Studies. Those efforts include introductory classes that get students thinking about reporting stories online, broadcast-specific courses that involve digital editing, and a magazine production elective, in which students put together a Web-only magazine each semester.
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