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Study confirms effectiveness of Knight Center's online teaching


A recent Knight Foundation study has shown online news training offered by The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication's Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to be indispensable for journalists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.


According to the study, which surveyed 660 people who had received Knight Foundation-funded training in the past two years, more than 97 percent of alumni had utilized the digital skills training they received from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

Since the inception of its e-learning program in 2003, the Knight Center has remotely trained more than 6,500 journalists throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the center’s priorities is to train trainers and spread the knowledge as much as possible. According to the study, that goal has been reached: for each journalist that the Knight Center trains, information is passed on to an average of 45 journalists.

Ninety percent of trainees ranked the Knight Center's online classes as good as, or better than in-person training, further pointing to the effectiveness of the Knight Center's online training programs.

The study also offered specific examples of how the Knight Center's training has helped journalists. Argentina's La Nación newspaper, for example, set up a digital-first newsroom after its journalists completed Knight Center training. The newspaper's managing editor, Ana D'Onofrio, said the online classes provided an otherwise rare opportunity to learn from top experts.

"The opportunity to learn remotely from trainers that are working in the best places, in experience and knowledge, is something we value the most from this training, especially because it's a skill or discipline that you can't learn in a university, at least in our countries," D'Onofrio told the Knight Foundation.

Journalist Lenara Guadagnin Londero of Brazil likened the Knight Center to "a compass in the sea of information that is the Internet."

"This is an extraordinary confirmation that our online training is effective," said Rosental Alves, Knight Center director. "Our trilingual, instructor-based classes offer several advantages – they allow journalists with demanding jobs to complete training at any time, to engage journalists with transnational learning communities of peers and to collaborate with journalists and instructors from around the world. At $25 for a webinar and $60 for a four-to-six week course, it's also cost effective."

The nominal cost for the journalists enrolled on the Knight Center training programs is possible thanks to the generous support from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and The University of Texas at Austin.

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This story was originally published by Laura Byerley on the website of The University of Texas at Austin College of Communication.




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