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JOUR 230 Multimedia Storytelling - Syllabus (Fall 2013)

JOUR 230 Multimedia Storytelling - Syllabus (Fall 2013)

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Published by Jeremy Littau
Syllabus for JOUR 230 Multimedia Storytelling course at Lehigh University. This is current as of the Fall 2013 semester
Syllabus for JOUR 230 Multimedia Storytelling course at Lehigh University. This is current as of the Fall 2013 semester

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Published by: Jeremy Littau on Aug 16, 2013
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 Journalism is not content. It need not be a profession or an industry. It is not the province of a guild. It is not a scarcity to be controlled. It no longer happens just innewsrooms. It is no longer confined to narrative form. So, then, what the hell is journalism? It is a service whose end is an informed public.
Jeff Jarvis
JOUR 230 Multimedia Storytelling
Prof. Jeremy J. Littau
Course Information
Instructor’s Information
Fall 2013
(610) 758-6520Monday-Wednesday 2:35-3:50 p.m.
204 Coppee Hall302 Coppee Hall
Twitter hashtag:
Office Hours:
Tuesday 2-4:30 p.m.
Course Description
The purpose of this course is to take skills you already have and apply them to new platform contexts. Inthis case, the skills are your ability to gather information and report and the new contexts will be the all ofthe multimedia tools available to you on the Web.
But this course is more than that. It’s an immersion intothe life and culture of the Web. We’ve been talking about how media is changing, but you’re going to have
a front-row seat to media change as someone who is producing in this new world. If you devote yourselfto the material, you will come out a changed journalism major and one who is ready for this new mediaworld.
Course Goals
Become proficient at gathering and editing information using digital tools2.
Use social media as a tool for information gathering and dissemination of the stories you tell3.
Spot the elements of the story that are best told visually, in written word, in sound, and graphically4.
Gain experience doing community journalism
Basic rules for this course:1.
Treat others with respect.2.
As a courtesy to your fellow students and your professor, please silence your cell phones whileclass is in session.3.
Computers are vital to the learning process in this course, but I ask that you show respect to bothyour fellow students and me by using them only for class-related activity.4.
All work in this class is public, as it is with any journalistic enterprise. Videos, tweets, blog posts,and stories you produce for this class are considered open and must not contain locks or blockson your accounts. You will receive a 30% penalty for any work that is done under blockedpublication setting
s. If you aren’t comfortable with your work being out there for the public to see,
you need to find a new career. This is what media makers do.
There is no textbook for this course, but we will do web readings. There are two purchase requirementsthat take the place of the book:1.
A smartphone (either Apple or Android) that runs downloadable apps such as Instagram, Vine,
Flickr, and Twitter. If you don’t have a smartphone, an iPod Touch that is 5
-generation or neweris acceptable but you should have this approved by me.
You must bring your phone to everyclass session.
I will not announce when we’ll be using them, and failure to consistently come
prepared will result in grade reduction.
 You’ll be required to purchase web hosting space a
nd a URL for this class
. You’re going to
create a professional web site as the class goes along. This will cost about $100 and we will set it
up on the first day of class, so you’ll need to bring a credit card to class. The professional site will
host your blog as well as be configured to host your professional work. We will learn HTML alongthe way to help you learn how to do more with your site.
Important notes
n this class, you’ll be shooting video and publishing on YouTube. It is important that, as with any
 journalistic form of information gathering, you respect the rights of those whom you are interviewing. In
this case, that means full disclosure of what you’re doing video for and the fact that it’s going to be
published on YouTube and/or your project site. For legal reasons, you should get this at the start of the
video, on camera. When you start recording, tell them you’re doing this for your J
230 course and that thevideo will be published online and YouTube and possibly other sites. Ask for them to acknowledge thatthey understand this. Be sure to save these clips, because they are your backup in the rare casesomeone gets angry at what you produce.
Second, you are expected to observe copyright rules in the course of your blogging and videos. We’ll talk
about this in class, but in a nutshell, yo
u can’t use music or imagery if you don’t own the rights to
. Images on blogs are very good things to have and I will show you some workarounds, but don’t lift
images without regard to the rights holder.Finally, this class is experimental in nature because this part of the field evolves in new ways every week.Flexibility on the schedule is going to be key, so please pay attention to all announcements aboutschedule changes in class. You will be responsible for changes, but I will be completely clear about itbeforehand.
At the end of the semester you will be scored in each of the categories below and each categoryaccounts for a percentage of your overall grade. Each assignment or activity will have a category, and thepoints you earn h
elp determine how much of that category’s percentage you earn (for example, if you get
all of the points in the Blog/Social Media category you get all the points possible in that assignmentcategory (roughly 260 points possible by the end of the semester),
then you’ll get 30 percentage points
 toward your grade because that category is worth 30% of your grade. If you get 90% of the points
possible in that category, you’ll get 27 percentage points.
And so forth
Deadlines are important. They make the media world go. If you don’t file
that story on time or get that marketing pitch out on deadline, someone else is there to take your place.Missed deadlines mean missed opportunities. Any missed deadline on a Glass, Lab, or Out Of Classassignment carries a 20% grading penalty on the final grade you receive for that assignment. I
accept any work that is more than a week late
it’s an automatic zero.
Glass assignments (15% of your grade)
You will get your hands on the Google Glass Explorer device
for about 9 days this semester, broken up into three segments. For each segment, you’ll have a specific
set of things to accomplish. You will have the assignment well ahead of time so plan accordingly.
Lab assignments (20% of your grade):
Lab assignments will be done almost every week in the earlypart of the semester. Most of these can be accomplished in class. Some will be more complicated andrequire out of class work. All lab assignments should be posted to the class work blog where applicableand should be tweeted out with a Social Media Optimized (SMO) tweet, a link, and the #J230LU hashtag.
Out Of Class assignments (30% of your grade):
In addition to lab assignments, at times you will beassigned a project to be worked on outside of class. The schedule has all of the assignment due dates.
Some of these deadlines are intentionally tight. It’s useful to learn how to produce things when time is not
abundant. The out-of-class assignment grade includes your final project in this class as well asCodeacademy assignments. All assignments should be posted to the class work blog where applicableand should be tweeted out with a Social Media Optimized (SMO) tweet, a link, and the #J230LU hashtag.
Blog/Social media (30% of your grade):
This part of your grade consists of your own personal blog andTwitter use. Some of this grade is about hitting your marks on assignments, but some of it in the socialmedia area is my own
subjective evaluation. I will let you know if you’re coming up short. Blogging andsocial media will be much more entwined this semester than it has been in the past. In short, you’re
supposed to find an online community, contribute to it, and amplify othe
rs’ contributions. This takes work
and is considered an every-day activity in this class.
The best way to describe this work: “
Lots of work with little structure. Make up format as you go. Welcometo journalism in 2013.
You’ll choose a beat for your blog, some interest or passion. This won’t work well unless it’s a topic you inwhich you have some interest, and you need to know a little bit about it too. You’re going to write,
produce, curate, and converse in this area all semester, so you better like the topic. All topics should be
cleared with me before you begin. Your work on this will start in week 2 of the semester; you aren’t
required to do this during Thanksgiving week.
The social media requirements for this portion of your grade
not all of these are doable depending on
your topic, but I want to see some evidence that you’re participating. Also, we’ll be learning some of thesetools (such as Twitter lists) as we go, so I don’t expect you to do all of these right away. But pay st 
rongattention to the social media units in September!
Finding hashtags for the communities in your interest group.
Build social tools to help you follow news and information in this topic such as Twitter lists. Followpeople who are important, interesting, or useful on your topic.
Participate in social activity such as chats on your topic’s hashtag. If there’s some local version of 
this, maybe consider a Tweetup.
Curate news in your topic area via Twitter
Curate blog posts in your topic area via Twitter
Build a social profile in that reflects your being a part of the community. This means considering a
Google+ and Facebook page presence that publicizes your work and hosts new posts. I don’t
want you to pick random social tools, but rather ones that make sense for your topic. Pinterest,Instagram, etc. might make sense for you but not your classmates. I want to see some thoughtput into this.
Blogging requirements
Phase 1: September
2 blog posts a week, minimum 200 words. Try to keep it below 500.
Phase 2: October
2 blog posts of your own, plus a “week in review” roundup post that highlights
the best content in your topic that you read in the past week (again, keep it short
list, links, shortdescription). When this is working well, the social tools bullet point above will feed you all kinds ofgreat reading in your topic.
Phase 3: November/December
Everything in September/October, plus a multimedia post perweek. Maybe play with a video post embedded in your blog, or try your hand at a podcast.
Each post should be tweeted out with a Social Media Optimized (SMO) tweet, a link, and thehashtags in your topic area.Evaluation standard: By the end of the semester you should be a valuable member of the communityattached to your topic of interest. You should be writing, producing, following, tweeting, sharing, and
replying. You’ll be graded on content production as well as my sense of how plugged in you are to thecommunity around your topic. This is somewhat subjective on my part, but I’ve been doing thi
s long
enough to be able to tell whether you’re putting enough effort into building a following and being part of 
the community.
You’re going to learn these tools on the go. I expect some struggle early on, so don’t
worry about that as much. There is some trial-and-error to this process. Your goal is to test a lot of ideas
and double down on what’s working
. But I do expect you to get better at this as you go along. At the end
of the semester, you’ll generate a report for the class blog on your experience. B
e looking at data aroundyour retweets, replies, and blog traffic as you go along because this will be useful in your self-evaluation.
I’ll be evaluating you based on what you produce, but also about your position in the community. Are you
a valued member?
Do people find you useful? Are you sharing as much as you’re producing?

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