Q&A about the Course

Q&A about the Course

What kinds of technology do I need for this course?

Your smartphone can do photography, audio, social media, and video, so that’s all you need.

Note: If you want to learn about digital video production and work with professional cameras, then take the Digital Video Production class with Dr. Kaatie Cooper.

In terms of software, we will use:

  • WordPress (free website/blog hosting platform)
  • Photoshop (installed in computer labs; free 7-day trial to download) and Pixlr (free online photo editing) for photo editing
  • Audacity (installed in computer labs and free to download) for audio editing
  • Canva (free online graphic design program)
  • Google My Maps (free online mapping program)
  • Twitter (free online social media account)
  • Adobe Premiere (installed in computer labs; free 7-day trial to download) for video editing

If you prefer to other software programs to accomplish a project, and your project fulfills the project requirements, then that is OK with me! For example, some students prefer their own Mac computers and use Garage Band or iMovie to edit audio and video. That’s fine. Just fulfill the assignment requirements.

Tell me more about the quizzes.

In-class attendance is required for quiz days. They are online on WyoCourses. You cannot use notes.

What social media platforms will we be using?

Twitter and Instagram.

How important are the book and readings?

The book readings (see Course Schedule in Syllabus for dates of when readings are due) are required to read BEFORE we start any new unit on a new media platform. The book supplements the in-class lectures and discussions. Please note that I will not lecture from the book. Sometimes, we will discuss the readings during class, so I expect everyone to have done the readings.

The book gives you information that makes you appreciate that media platform more, and it provides tips that will help you during the media projects. The quizzes will also include information from the readings.

Are we required to speak up and ask questions in class?

We will have occasional in-class small-group discussions. I expect you to participate in those conversations.

I expect you to ask questions about the assignments during class, if you have any questions.

I may ask for volunteers who want to show the class their media work and/or discuss their media work with the class. Again, that is volunteered information (not required).

We may do peer-editing in this class. I expect you to fully engage with your peer-editing partner and provide thorough verbal and written feedback.

Does attendance affect our grade?

Yes. Throughout the semester, I have unannounced and announced in-class participation points, which are worth 10% of your grade. These points cannot be made up unless you have a university-related absence or otherwise a good explanation of the emergency of why you missed class.

Do we have a final exam?

No. However, you must submit your video project and your self-reflection blog post by Mon. Dec. 16 @ 12:15 p.m.

What do most people struggle with in this course?

Every student seems to struggle with getting motivated for at least one assignment in this class, but that assignment differs among students.

Every student seems to struggle with understanding the technology and getting frustrated with the learning process for at least one assignment in this class, but that assignment differs among students.

These are completely natural reactions to challenging yourself in this course. Keep pushing. Let me know if you need assistance or guidance! But, keep in mind that this class is often trial-and-error learning. There’s not a lot of hand-holding with the technology. You dive in and start learning.

What’s been the most challenging project for students in the past?

I don’t have any data on this, but my experience and anecdotal evidence is telling me that the video project or audio project are the most challenging for students. Video editing and audio editing can be extremely tedious. Editing always takes WAY more time than students anticipate. And, there is room for technological malfunction with both of these media.

If I have to miss class, what’s the best way to let you know?

Let me know in person in advance of your absence, if possible. Together, we will figure out how to keep you up-to-speed with the course.

If your absence is not planned in advance, please email me a quick note about your absence. I don’t need doctors notes or long explanations. However, if your absences begin to accrue more than a few days, then I will check in on your via email and express my concern.

A note about graphics and visualization…

There is a COJO 3200 class on Graphics, which I recommend to anyone interested in graphics. This class will use Google My Maps to visualize and map a place-based story that you write.

Is extra credit offered in this course?

Probably not.

Q&A about the Instructor

Why did I choose to study journalism and communication?

When I was an undergraduate, I couldn’t settle on a major and switched majors about 4 or 5 times. I finally decided that if I was a journalist, then I would be learning new things constantly, and I could also choose to specialize in a particular field, such as science journalism or political journalism.

Today, I research political communication and science communication because those are my passions: I love following politics and science. Even more, I enjoy researching the psychology and science of how people interpret and consume political and science information.

How did I end up at UW?

I applied for jobs all over the country. I got job offers here and at Rochester Institute of Technology. And, in my humble opinion, Wyoming is WAY more beautiful and awesome than New York. 🙂

Boy or girl? Thoughts on names?

We find out on Monday if baby’s biological sex (not gender; remember gender is a social construct) is a boy or girl. I will tell you on Monday. And, no thoughts on names until we find out if baby is boy or girl.

Would I rather have a duck that is moose-sized or a moose that is duck-sized?

I would totally want a moose that is duck-sized. A tiny moose would be an adorable addition to my family. I don’t have any room in my house or outside my house for a duck that is moose-sized.


About The Author

I'm an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Wyoming. In my ninth year at UW, I regularly teach multimedia production, web design, political communication, quantitative research methods, and media, science, and society.