Missouri School of Journalism Launches Online Learning Tool to Help Teach Journalism, Strategic Communication to Junior High, High School Students

Missouri School of Journalism Launches Online Learning Tool

Program will accept up to 300 teachers in first year.

By Jennifer Nelson

Columbia, Mo. (Aug. 28, 2019) — The Missouri School of Journalism has launched a free, 25-module online learning tool for middle school and high school teachers who want to teach or revamp their journalism or strategic communication lessons.

Each module of the Missouri High School Journalism Program contains learning objectives, short video lectures, worksheets and activities, quizzes and related resources. The topics covered include everything from audience engagement and audio storytelling to reporting and interviewing and journalism ethics.

Faculty from the School of Journalism brought extensive research and industry experience backgrounds together to produce content for the courses, says Amy Simons, associate professor at the School of Journalism, who helped produce the program. Professors in specialized areas were picked for specific modules.

“We bring hundreds of years of professional journalism experience to the table and we want to be able to share that with our community, our state, our country. The globe, frankly,” she says.

The program, built in the Canvas learning management system, will accept up to 300 teachers during the inaugural year.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Suzette Heiman and Associate Professor Ron Kelley are co-executive directors of the Missouri Interscholastic Press Association, an organization of high school journalism teachers and advisers. Kelley also visits high schools throughout the country on recruiting trips. Through these chats and visits, Heiman and Kelley learned about the need for new materials to incorporate into curriculums and a desire to tap into the School of Journalism’s expertise, says Kelley, who directed the project.

Leigh Rogers, a yearbook and English teacher from Hermann High School, says as a busy mom, it is a challenge to bring a lot of extra work home with her. She says a resource like the Missouri High School Journalism Project would help with this challenge as she continues to update her curriculum to provide content her students will enjoy.

“The MU High School Journalism Project will not only help me provide strong and rigorous content for my kids, but is designed on such a teacher-friendly platform,” she said. “I can incorporate these resources in my classroom and easily manage and use the material.”

Beth Schull, a journalism teacher and student newspaper advisor from Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, said she is looking forward to the detailed lesson plans with clear formative and evaluative components. “I am most excited about the variety of topics covered, each with fundamental principles as well as elements of increased rigor, so scaffolding is possible,” she said.

If you know a teacher who might be interested in this program, have them contact Kelley at ude.iruossim@ryellek.

The Division of Inclusion and Equity at the University of Missouri funded the program.

Updated: August 30, 2019

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