The UBC Graduate School of Journalism is enhancing its curriculum to offer students greater flexibility in tailoring their learning to their own needs and ambitions.
Starting in September 2015, the school is piloting educational modules focused on the evolving methods, practices and technologies in journalism.
The 1.5 credit modules will allow students to select courses that suit their specific needs and prepare them for work in a profession that requires constant adaptation.
As part of the initiatives that support student achievement, the school will start offering students the choice of either completing a final research project worth six credits or taking additional courses that add up to six credits.
Students opting for the additional courses would have an option of accelerating their Masters of Journalism program by completing it in four terms, including a summer internship. Students will be able to finish the program in 1.5 years instead of 2 years. The total number of credits required to graduate remains unchanged at 42 credits. Students who wish to complete a major work of journalism will continue to have the option to do so.
For example, in the past, a student starting in September 2015 would work on the research project in the second year from September 2016 to April 2017.
Students starting in September 2015 now have the option of taking additional courses instead of the final research project. It means they could choose to obtain the 42 credits needed to finish by December 2016.
The pilot modules and the greater flexibility on courses expand the educational enrichment opportunities for students, while maintaining the integrity of the academic program. It takes account of the transformations in the journalism profession, where many graduates are increasingly expected to be adept in a range of skill sets and journalistic competencies.
Value of internships
As part of the enhancements to the curriculum, students will also earn academic credit for the summer internship. The summer internship offers the valuable experience of putting theory into practice and working in a journalistic environment.
“It is important to recognize the learning students do on the job and offering academic credit is one specific way to do that,” said Kathryn Gretsinger, internship coordinator and UBC Journalism instructor.
Students will receive three credits for the practice, in recognition of the contribution to the knowledge, skills and abilities gained through the experience of working in a professional setting. Please note that the internship credit is subject to approval by UBC Senate.
The initiatives are the result of a two-year process of curriculum renewal at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism that reviewed and revised curricula and pedagogy to ensure they are informed by transformations in teaching and in the profession itself.
“Just like the industry, journalism schools are in a state of constant evolution. As educators, researchers and practitioners, it is up to us to lead, rather than follow,” said associate professor Alfred Hermida, chair of the UBC Journalism curriculum committee.