In the past fours years I have conceived and produced a variety of innovative projects for the courses I teach. These innovations were implemented with the purpose of enhancing my students’ learning. The following pages explain the nature of these projects, their impact in the classroom and, in one case, how it affected the community beyond the college.
Downtown Oshawa News Blog
The Downtown Oshawa News blog is a hyperlocal blog that I created as a project-based learning experience for the senior journalism students at Durham College. I wrote an article for The Canadian Journalism Project explaining how the idea was conceived and its implementation in the Journalism program. As well, I produced a video explaining a “day in the life” of the blog.
Currently the blog is a way for my students to gain experience as multimedia journalists outside of college course work. Since they are required to work with the blog’s managing editor for a full day it gives them an authentic work experience that reflects real-world situations. This has always been my goal for this project and it has proven to be a very satisfying and fruitful experience for my senior students and for myself. The blog also has become an important part of the community it serves. The Downtown Oshawa News blog covers news in an area of Oshawa that does not always see positive happenings being told through the mainstream media. Those who work, study or live in the area have expressed their satisfaction on seeing another side of downtown Oshawa being covered by media. This information has been passed along to me through the comments the readers leave at the end of the articles they have read on the blog.
I have decided to add this particular project in this area of my portfolio because of the impact it has had in the community. Although the blog was intended for my students’ classroom use it has gone beyond that in many different ways such as the addition of citizen writers and photographers contributing to the blog. I am influenced by the philosophy of critical pedagogy which embraces the ideals of democratic learning and teaching. I feel the blog embraces those principles by becoming an alternative voice for a community who is also shaping the stories being told about it. This happens when members of that community contribute ideas to the blog along with writing stories, taking photos and commenting.