Wednesday, February 21, 2007

the heart of campus is its library

digital journalism continues to grow and the students continue to impress me. things feel significantly ramped up - we have a group blog, students are blogging independently, and students (and others!) are leaving interesting comments here and there. and today one student, eva, asked if she and others can blog about stuff i didn't assign. my answer, in two simple words, was: hell yes!

our domain is USF campus. so ... imagine a google map of a college campus spread over a few blocks in the middle of san francisco. now imagine pins stuck on various campus buildings, green areas, residence halls, recreational facilities, and spaces for reflection. finally, imagine each of these pins being clickable so that users are hyperlinked to student designed and written blog posts, flickr sets, and video about particular portions of campus.

can't imagine it? well, i can. but, much more importantly - i think my students can imagine it. for the most part, i am impressed with my students' ability to keep up with weekly readings, lesson plans, and new media tasks while simultaneously being able to think about the bigger picture, the bigger vision, of the course. i suspect that my students understand that once we learn some basic tools we can create cool stuff. now if only they would stop arriving late to class ...

we began with the heart of campus - gleeson library. fortunately for us, gleeson library currently features an outstanding exhibit on graphic novels curated by USF librarians kathy woo and debbie benrubi. as a class, we visited the library, took pictures with our digital cameras and cellphones, and interviewed librarians involved in the exhibit. (students enrolled in digital journalism have already taken journalism 1, either with teresa moore or michael robertson, so they already have basic reporting, interviewing, and writing skills.) finally, before leaving they were required to select at least one graphic novel and check it out from the library.

the assignment that followed was simple: blog about the exhibit in gleeson library. i asked my students to cover a particular angle of the exhibit, to make their blog posts fascinating, and to include at least one image, one hyperlink, and a bunch of tags. finally, i asked them to integrate - somehow, someway - their graphic novel into their blog posts.

true journalists, my students posted their blog entries minutes before deadline. we spent today talking about and critiquing each others' blog posts. my students are nice and polite and directed most of their time towards what they liked, not disliked, about their fellow students' blog posts. but when critiques did arise students were really receptive and took them in.

the semester is still young but so far i remain impressed.


Librarian said...

Wondering if you use anything to record where hits on your blog come from? I just started using Google Analytics (it being free and fairly easy).

david silver said...

hi librarian!

i use statcounter to track blog action. i'm happy with it, but not thrilled with it - i fell as though it's missing a lot of action that goes on around here but i can pinpoint what the mistakes seem to be.

ooh, you're the second person who's mentioned google analytics - i may try it out.