Blogs, Articles, and More

  • Week 01 at J101: Getting Started is Always Fun (Hard)

    5:46 PM Aug. 24, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    We kicked off the J101 / Introduction to Journalism course this week. No major issues. Most of the students got into their virtual seats without any human intervention. (A few got sidetrack because of some coding, but we moved them into the right sections.)

    So, did NewsU learn anything yet? Coming off summer into an e-learning module, especially for those who are new to online learning, can be a challenge. Perhaps next semester, we'll push back our opening lecture to later in the week. (Next post will share some thoughts about our first Live Lecture, which was terrific.)

    The coordinator instructor at Poynter for this project is Aly Colon.To help students ease into the new instructional method, we produced a short (3 minute) video. It welcomes students outlines the overall themes of the course. I thought it was worth sharing so we made it available here.

  • E-Learning Classroom is Open for Learning and Teaching

    4:50 PM Aug. 20, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    On Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, we turned on our first 16-week e-learning module for university students. As you know, we'll be teaching across multiple campuses and with different tools from our online training kit. Of course we don't know whether these students have had much experience with online education. All the research indicates they might taken an online class, especially if they have been in college for a couple of years. Even our own NewsU evaluations surveys have shown a big jump in the number of participants who have had e-learning experience. In 2005, 48 percent said "yes." In 2011, that number was 70 percent.

    We have spent lots of time thinking about the student experience as we designed both the content and the interface for this course. Given our different methods of online teaching -- synchronous and asynchronous -- we recognize that more content could cause confusion and hinder effective learning.

    Our solutions took two approaches.

    First, make sure the online navigation was clear and with specific instructions to the students. In other words, it wasn't going to be enough just to say "go learn from this module." It was more important to say "go to this module, read this section and look these elements."

  • AEJMC Presentation of the J101 E-Learning Project. We've Gone Public

    2:37 PM Aug. 12, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    We rolled out the J101 Project to a nicely crowded room at the AEJMC Convention in St. Louis yesterday. I outlined the why and how aspects of the our e-learning pilot. One key thought that keeps rolling around in our heads is how this course is an innovative marriage of NewsU's self directed training, our Webinar methods and our online group seminar experiences. We are also happy to share our new "Instructor Dashboard," which will have uses beyond this project.

    While the PowerPoint only has the outline of the project, it might be helpful for those who want to learn more.

  • We Launch Our 200K Countdown and Stories Project

    9:52 AM Aug. 09, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    [From our e-mail newsletter]

    From the beginning, we've counted on you to shape Poynter's News University. Your participation and feedback have made NewsU what it is today -- one of the world's most innovative journalism e-learning sites.

    As we get ready to welcome our 200,000th registered user, we're counting on you once again: to tell your NewsU story. We want to know how NewsU has made you a better journalist, a better teacher, a better student or even a better news consumer.

    Your Story Counts. Why? Because it helps us demonstrates the scope and impact of NewsU's offerings.

  • Inside Look at J101, a Unique E-Learning Project: Counting the Days Until School Starts

    8:58 PM Aug. 07, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    We are fewer than three weeks away from the launch of our latest project, a 16-week introduction to journalism course taught in partnership with three universities. Using e-learning tools developed during the past six years, Poynter NewsU is about to start an exciting new chapter of online journalism training. We've gotten this far thanks in part to a grant from the Carnegie Corporation and the creative thinking of the folks working at Poynter.

    Thanks also goes to our three partner schools: Florida Atlantic University, Missouri State University and California State University, Fullerton.

    Our goal with this blog is to provide resources about the project and try to capture of our learning so others might benefit. If you have questions or thoughts, drop us a line at Or use one of "Feedback" boxes on the site.

    We have a nifty flyer about our journalism e-learning course with some kind words from our academic partners.

    Happy Learning,

    Howard Finberg, interactive learning director @ Poynter

  • NewsU is Getting Ready for School with J101 Project

    2:50 PM Jul. 14, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    We have lined up our partners – Missouri State University, Florida Atlantic University and, the latest, California State University, Fullerton. We announced Cal State this week.

    We have lined our courses – 16 weeks of readings, assignments and discussions based on more than two dozen self-directed modules.

    We have lined up our faculty – 15 Poynter faculty and associates who will lead a live, interactive session weekly.

  • Help Us Build New Courses: Previews of 'Web Design' and 'Understanding Audiences'

    6:53 PM May. 12, 2011 — by Vicki Krueger

    We're always working on something new at Poynter's NewsU, but we don't want to work alone. So we're asking your help as we shape a couple of new courses about audiences: Functional Web Design for Today’s News Audiences and Understanding Audiences. We've developed these preview editions so you can share your ideas and training needs.

  • You Tell Us What Webinars You Want, We Give You 50% Discount. Sweet!

    7:09 PM May. 09, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    We have had such fun with our first Webinar series the Poynter Writing Webinars that we thought about doing more topics. To figure out things, we are conducting another survey to help us get a sense of which topics matter to you and what Webinars we could do within these potential series.

  • Honoring World Press Freedom Day

    5:46 PM May. 03, 2011 — by Vicki Krueger

    Poynter's NewsU is joining with journalists and other press organizations around the world to commemorate May 3 as World Press Freedom Day.

  • 100th Webinar Update: What Was Your Favorite Idea? [There are gifts!]

    5:01 PM Feb. 18, 2011 — by Howard Finberg

    Whether Wednesday's Webinar was your first or your 100th, thanks again for signing up for 100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better. The replay, with all the audio and video, is now available. You can watch as many times as you want to catch all the great ideas to make your journalism better.

    Not only do we love training, we love sharing our training with others. Here's where you can help.