SJMC Digital Short Course Series


This fall, SJMC offered its first Digital Short Course Series. These one-credit-hour courses are meant to provide students with an introduction to cutting-edge, digital topics. Students may take one, two or all three courses in a semester. This semester, the topics were Digital Media Ethics (taught by Jon Zmikly), Drones and Sensors (taught by Cindy Royal and Dale Blasingame) and Coding Workshop (taught by Cindy Royal).

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Jon Zmikly leads the online Digital Media Ethics course.

The Digital Media Ethics course was delivered completely online over three weeks. Students completed modules via TRACS, covering topics including Truth in Storytelling, Transparency and Community.

Sensor Workshop

Cindy Royal assists with a sensor connection.

The Drones and Sensors course was delivered in a hybrid model with two weeks of online work that culminated in a one-day, in-person workshop. Students gained experience working with a drone and using a sensor kit. They manipulated connections on the sensor to control LED lights, monitor brightness, detect motion and log temperatures to a spreadsheet.

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Students in the Coding Workshop learned the skills to create an interactive quiz.

The Coding Workshop was delivered in a similar hybrid manner, with two weeks of online preparation leading to a one-day workshop. In the workshop, students got experience with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, developing an interactive quiz. They learned the basics of Web design and introductory programming syntax.

Students had positive responses in blog posts about the workshops.

As it turns out, I LOVE messing with tiny breadboards and photons. The whole process tapped into the engineer buried somewhere in my brain, and we even got to mess around with coding, another casual interest of mine.

I developed a strong interest in these topics when I realized how significant this technology is in both good and bad ways. Flying drones over volcanoes? The capability to take photographs and videos of endless matters that a human could never possibly do for themselves? Count me in! Spying neighbors or general violations of privacy? No sir.

Drones and sensors class was a blast! What other course lets you play with flying cameras and tinker with electronics?

Getting to see all of those radio buttons and objects respond to your changes makes me happy in the heart for some odd reason.

You can make anything you want whether it is your own website, a quiz, a form, etc. I did not realize how easy it was and how fast it is to create these things with coding.

Taking this class has to be one of the best decisions of my career. The main reason I feel that way is because now if you want to be involved in media, you have to know how to build a website and know a bit of coding.

You can read all the student observations by visiting the course sites linked above.

The gender makeup of these sessions was 83% female, which indicates that women are interested and enthusiastic about technology topics related to communication careers.

The Spring 2016 Digital Short Course series includes three more cutting edge classes: Framing Solutions-Storytelling Through Digital Narrative taught by Holly Wise, Mobile Storytelling in the Park and Digital Media Entrepreneurship, both taught by Dale Blasingame. See CatsWeb for registration information for these Spring courses.

More photos from the workshops:


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