Knight Center
Knight Center

JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

"Social Media for Journalists," the Knight Center’s newest MOOC, kicks off with 5,500 students



With 5,303 students from 141 countries, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas’ most recent Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Social Media for Journalists: The Basics,” began on Monday, Feb. 3 with the highest number of participants registered to a Knight Center course to date.  On Tuesday, the number of participants in the MOOC passed 5,500 from 147 countries.

The free, five-week course in English, which will conclude on March 9, will be taught by some of the top experts in the field, including journalists from The New York Times, ProPublica and the Milwakee Journal Sentinel. 

Registration will be open for the next few days. Click here to join.

The course surpassed the registration of the Knight Center’s previous MOOC, “Development of Journalistic Projects for the Web,” which broke enrollment records with 5,266 participants from 50 countries. 

“Social Media for Journalists” has attracted participants from the five continents. As of Jan. 30, the 10 countries with the most students were the U.S. with 1,297 participants, Brazil with 518, Portugal with 493, Mexico with 172, Spain with 149, Canada with 125, Nigeria with 122, United Kingdom with 104, India with 99, and Colombia with 94.

It also had participants from Guatemala, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, South Africa, Egypt, Pakistan, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries.

Interactive map of the MOOC's participants. Click on the countries to see the number of participants in each.

The course will be divided into five weekly modules, each one with a different instructor and a different topic.

All the instructors are experts implementing social media strategies in news organizations across the United States. They are: Ryan Thornburg, associate professor of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Sharif Durhams, social media editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Craig Silverman, founder and editor of Poynter’s Regret the Error blog; Daniel Victor, social media staff editor at The New York Times; and Amanda Zamora, senior engagement editor at ProPublica.

The MOOC will give students an overview of the use of social media in journalism and best practices in finding and distributing news with these tools. Students will learn about the best journalistic uses of professional Facebook and Twitter accounts, where to find sources and story ideas on social media, how to verify information and other ethical considerations, how to cultivate an audience and a brand, developing a content strategy, and measuring success on social media. 

The course will include videos, tutorials, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Just like the Knight Center's other MOOCs, the course will be divided in weekly modules and will be completely asynchronous, meaning there will be no live lectures. Even though students can take the course at the times of their choosing, each weekly module will have deadlines for submitting the quizzes and participating in the forums.

Although the course will be free, if participants need to receive a certificate, there will be a $30 administrative fee, paid online via credit card, for those who meet the certificate requirements. The certificate will be issued only to students who actively participated in the course and who complied with most of the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be sent via email as a PDF document. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.

The Knight Center became a pioneer in massive journalism online education when it launched its MOOC program in October 2012. Unlike most MOOCs, the Knight Center's massive courses are created specifically for this program and seek to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible. In its first year, the successful program has reached more than 27,500 in 150 countries.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves, who holds the Knight Chair in Journalism and the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism. Launched with major, multi-year grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Center also has received grants from Open Society Foundations and other donors. The Knight Center also has been sustained with support from the University of Texas at Austin's College of Communication, modest foundation grants and the public.



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