Dear M.A. Students
We are looking forward to your arrival at Columbia, and we’re putting finishing touches on our program to ensure your year here is as productive, intriguing and valuable as possible.
There is one issue we’d like your feedback on now.
Over the past few years, some M.A. students have asked for digital-skills training. This isn’t easy to pull off, because so much of your time is consumed with your M.A. seminar, outside classes and thesis. In addition, you are such a diverse class that it’s impossible to create a single curriculum that will satisfy all of your needs.
But we do want to offer you some skills training this fall. Those classes will be held on Fridays, when you are unlikely to be in another class. Each class runs for about three hours, for five weeks. You will be able (but will not be required) to take one; it’s possible (but not guaranteed) you’ll be able to take a second. It’s also possible we’ll offer additional digital-training classes in the spring.
But we don’t know exactly what you’d like to learn. So, to gauge your interests, we’ve listed five classes that represented the top picks of many of last year’s M.A. students:
Social Media: How to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media to find story ideas, trends and sources; connect with readers and viewers; and promote your work to new audiences. Using examples from news organizations and individuals, topics covered will include ethics; etiquette; the changing journalist-source relationship and more.
Wordpress: This course will help students understand how to develop, modify and launch a Web site using the widely accepted (and free) Wordpress content management system. Students will also get training in building or improving their own sites to display their work, reach audiences, etc.
Photo: This course will provide the basics of how to use a digital SLR camera, along with some fundamentals of photography, including proper exposure and compositional technique. Students will use the Canon G11 camera, and will be trained in basic photo editing techniques using Photoshop.
Audio Skills: Students will learn some of the fundamentals of audio storytelling, from field recording to audio editing in Final Cut Pro. They will be trained on the Olympus LS-10 audio recorder.
Video Skills: Students will get very basic training in video storytelling, from field production to video editing in Final Cut Pro. Students will use the JVC GY-HM100U camera.
We have created an online survey form, found at http://fs8.formsite.com/cjdos/MA_Skills/, so you can list the course(s) you’d most like to take.
Here’s how the form works: Please list your preferences in order from 1st to 5th, with 1st being the course you’re most interested in and 5th being the course you’re least interested in. If you don’t want any digital training, just check that box and hit submit.
The deadline to file this survey is July 6, 10 a.m. After compiling the results, we will build offerings around those courses that attract the greatest interest. It is possible that we won’t offer at least one of these courses if interest is low.
Please note that this form is simply to gauge your preferences; the official sign-up form will be available later this summer.
Thanks very much; we look forward to hearing back from you. And enjoy the rest of your summer!
Dean of Academic Affairs
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism