Journalism and mass communications have always been fields in which being at the cutting edge is par for the course. Newspapers all over the world are now available in online versions and television broadcasts are employing high definition images. That means that today's journalism schools have no choice but to teach their students how to use technology to ply their craft. Since it falls to journalism schools to take up the task of teaching technology, many consider that when it comes to the newest technology, these schools are the true pioneers.
An advantage to all this is that the new technology is cost effective. The initial outlay for journalism schools may be costly, but most schools are coming to terms with the fact that the initial investment seems to pan out to their advantage.
The use of technology as a means for teaching journalism and mass communication can be divided into four major categories:
1) Online classroom instruction
2) Online syllabus and list of materials
3) Distance or online courses
4) Imparting information and skills relating to the newest media technologies as part of the curriculum.
It has become ever more common for colleges and university classrooms to be outfitted with multimedia apparatus. This allows instructors to incorporate a variety of media into their teaching: audio, video, and even electronic text. Using computers to assist learning is very helpful for journalism and mass communications teachers since it helps keep their students engaged at the same time as it helps hone their skills in terms of copyediting and other pertinent skills. Teachers have commented that students make big strides in improving their grammar when they use the tools that come with computerized writing programs.
It's easy as pie for college professors to post syllabi, lists of reading materials, assignments, class notes, discussions, tests, grades, and student papers online for everyone to share with the click of a mouse. Some universities have expanded on this idea by offering websites for every course.
Distance learning is still in its infancy, with many schools still requiring students to live close to campus. The issues still being dealt with relate to how teachers can give efficient instruction without the benefit of a classroom.
Some of the issues related to acquiring technology literacy include: internet law as it relates to privacy, intellectual property, and source verification. Some schools have begun to offer courses relating to the technology craze such as computer-assisted reporting and online journalism. Other schools have done a complete overhaul and have restructured courses and degree programs to incorporate the latest technology.