Welcome to “Basic Journalism for Young Journalists”: My First Attempt to Design an Online Course

illustrationLearners who are actively involved and engaged in the learning process have long been known to be learning better than those who learn in a traditional method where they function as passive listeners (Parker, Maor, and Herrington, 2013). Learners need to have opportunities to construct their own knowledge and recognize how certain decision is the right decision or whether a certain solution will solve the problem during the process of learning as part of a rehearsal for the real life work (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, 1999). However, it appears that there is a gap between what they prefer as the best way to learn (constructivist approach) and the actual practices in online learning and teaching (Oliver, 2005). Most online courses lack of such engaging and constructing activities as they primarily use Learning Management System (LMS) as instructional and information delivery tools, instead of using it as constructing tools to engage learners in activities (Lane, 2008).

For this reason, the present course is designed for the students to be engaged in authentic tasks and construct their own understanding of the language of news as well practicing the language. It is important to note that language learning is not a result of teaching facts about language or merely a memorization drill of certain language pattern and structure, but it results from meaningful interaction and communication with other people in the target language (Walqui, 2000). Instead of teaching students the language structure and rules, learners will be situated in an environment where they need to use the language (in this case, English) to share their ideas, work collaboratively to produce news, and use the language to make effective use of the technology (Schezher and Warschauer, 2000). By giving opportunities for interaction, collaboration, co-creating and co-editing, learners can provide mutual assistance and move from their Zone Proximal Development (Gibbons and Cummins, 2002), and at the same time, a non-comprehensible language will turn into comprehensible and be incorporated into learners’ target language (Van Lier, 2000).

So, check this out!


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