Date of this Version
This benchmark portfolio analyzes a collaborative elective course offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications in partnership with NET News, the state’s public media organization. The Spring 2016 course offered students hands-on experience creating, implementing and assessing social media content and engagement strategies for NET News. This portfolio showcases the innovative nature of the course while also demonstrating its pedagogical underpinnings. The portfolio provides a broad overview, including course goals and how activities and assignments are aligned with them. Using several assessment strategies, the inquiry focused on the course’s final project, in which students were required to synthesize course concepts and material to develop viable engagement ideas for two NET News projects: a documentary on sex trafficking and coverage of the November 2016 death penalty referendum. In collaboration with UNL’s Office of University Communications, students also were given access to NUVI, a sophisticated social monitoring tool that helped them study prospective audiences. Digital audience engagement is a relatively new concept in the news industry and journalism education, but is gaining importance. The assessment strategies documented in this portfolio may be helpful for journalism educators who are interested in developing similar experiential learning courses in the “teaching hospital” method but desire an effective assessment framework. The portfolio also might serve as a model for journalism educators who want to incorporate audience engagement concepts and practices in new or existing journalism courses to keep up with industry trends and prepare students for new jobs.