Online class tips from Grady faculty

With online instruction beginning March 30, we asked Grady College faculty for their best advice to help students succeed with online classes. These instructors have been teaching online classes for several years.

Advice offered comes from:

  • Sabrena Deal, lecturer of public relations
  • Chris Gerlach, academic professional, entertainment & media studies/New Media Institute
  • Karen Russell, Jim Kennedy New Media professor and associate professor of public relations.
  • Welch Suggsassociate professor in journalism and associate director of Grady Sports Media
  • Bart WojdynskiJim Kennedy New Media Professor, journalism

The most common piece of advice from faculty members is: Ask questions.

  • “If you’re confused or finding information that appears to be conflicting, after combing through the information available, contact your professor for clarification. There will inevitably be delays in getting your questions answered, so asking them quickly is the best way to get clarity. Often, professors aren’t aware of access issues students may be facing.” -Sabrena Deal
  • No, seriously, we love to hear from you all.  Whether it’s a general discussion thread or just a quick email, it’s great to know if something is unclear, or if you need more guidance, or…well, anything we can do to help. Remember, many of your professors are teaching online for the first time, but they want to do it well. -Bart Wojdynski
  • Speak up in class discussions, whether it’s in a chat thread or via zoom. Your thoughts make it better for everybody.” -Welch Suggs

Here are more tips from Grady faculty to promote success in online learning.

  • Work when you work best. “Even if your professor is doing a few scheduled things as part of your course, the bulk of keeping up with an online course is always asynchronous – meaning that as long as you meet the deadline, you can do the work in whatever window of time you would like. I’d still highly recommend carving out a regular window of time in which you’re focused on schoolwork and nothing else.” – Bart Wojdynski
  • Check eLC for each class every day. “Read announcements from the instructor and check the calendar to make sure you’re keeping up.” -Karen Russell
  • Write down your deadlines each week. “eLC gives your professors many places to put due dates: in module overviews, in checklists, in the Assignment Dropbox, or on specific content pages, as well as announcements. Different professors may use different options, but creating one master list per week of due dates for all your classes – in whatever way works best for you – can reduce your cognitive overhead.  Plus, just the very act of writing something down increases your odds of remembering it, so it’s an easy trick to keep from forgetting.” -Bart Wojdynski
  • Take good notes. “Whether you’re reading something online, watching a video, or participating in a chat. It’s not that you’re going to be tested on those notes; it’s that you’ll anchor material more firmly in your brain.” – Welch Suggs
  • Slow down to focus on instructions. “Read the instructions twice, ask questions if you don’t understand, and look at the rubric if there’s one provided BEFORE you start work.” -Karen Russell
  • Build a schedule and make it habitual. “Online classes often require an extra dose of discipline as you no longer have the classroom accountability to keep you on track. Therefore, block out times throughout the day that are dedicated purely to working on your class content. Equally important, schedule breaks to do things you love.” – Chris Gerlach
  • Murphy’s Law. “Expect problems with the technology and get things done in advance in case you have trouble posting or submitting an assignment.” -Karen Russell
  • Spread the work out.“Instead of cramming all your work into one or two days a week, I suggest spreading your work time out over five or six work days. You’ll be able to have time to ask questions and receive answers this way. Engaging with the content multiple times in the week will also help with content retention. If you wait and try to complete all the work just before the deadline, you leave no room for technical errors (with the internet, eLC, your computer or otherwise).” Sabrena Deal.
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb during your work session. “This includes all of your devices (mobile, tablet, and computer) within viewing/hearing range. It’s so easy to look down at a notification. It takes 2 seconds and an intriguing thumbnail or clever title, and that quick glance at a notification turns into burning 45 minutes scrolling through TikTok. Instead, at the beginning of each scheduled work session, turn on Do Not Disturb, and if you’re really susceptible to distractions, go ahead and power that iPhone down.” -Chris Gerlach
  • Communicate. “Don’t hesitate to be, or apologize for being, a pest to your instructors. We’re figuring out how to make this as valuable as we can for you guys, but we won’t anticipate everything, so let us know what your needs and preferences are. We won’t be able to accommodate all the “wants,” but we can do as much as we can.” -Welch Suggs

For more resources and the latest communications from Grady College, please visit our Continuity Communications page.

Growing demand leads Grady College to offer additional online courses for summer semester

Grady College will offer 11 online courses for the 2017 summer semester to keep up with the continued demand from students for such classes.

“Again this year, we increased the number of online course offerings,” said Alison Alexander, senior associate dean for academic affairs for Grady College. “Students can find college-wide and major-specific courses to take during the summer term when they are off campus.”

Many of the courses offered are in high demand during the spring and fall semesters. Online summer courses give students the opportunity to take classes that normally fill up quickly.

Most of the courses will comprise very brief video or slide presentations presenting an introduction to the lesson, then will guide students through readings, web-based tutorials and projects to perform and evaluate on student’s own time.

Projects are the highlight of many of the offerings and the online medium provides a good way to share projects and encourage feedback among students. It is also a better medium for sharing long-form media like television shows in the case of the media and television study classes.

Sabrena Deal, a graphics lecturer who taught the course online last summer, will be leading the online graphics course again this year.

“The ADPR 3520E course will give students the opportunity to earn certifications in the most recent versions of the Adobe Creative Software through the platform,” said Deal. “These certifications translate directly to resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn.”

“We know that the industry is looking for students with these skills and are glad to offer the course to more students through the online offering,” Deal continued.

The courses that will be offered include:

Brand Communication Marketing (ADPR 5990E) —taught by Mark McMullen, this seminar is designed to synthesize and integrate many of the theoretical and practical approaches to the study and application of advertising, public relations, and related communication fields. Emphasis is on critical thinking, analytical processes and acquisition of specialized knowledge pertaining to the seminar topic.

Data Gathering and Visualization (JOUR 5380E) — taught by Bartosz Wojdynski, this course will familiarize students with the conceptual, procedural and technical aspects of telling newsworthy stories through visual depictions of information. Students will practice gathering and processing data, executing basic statistical procedures and creating original explanatory and informational graphics for news.

International Mass Communication (JRLC 5080E) — taught by Andy Kavoori, this course will focus on the mass media of the world — what they are like, how they operate and what impact they have. Philosophies of different systems will be compared, as well as efforts at development or regulation of these systems. Attention will be given to print and electronic media and to international news agencies.

Introduction to New Media (NMIX 2020E) — taught by John Weatherford, this course will explore the economic, technical, social and cultural aspects of media technologies. The course will take a historical perspective, covering three sections: Old New Media, Now New Media and Next New Media. Students will develop a solid working knowledge of the field and know where and how to further their own knowledge outside of the classroom.

Graphic Communications* (ADPR 3520E, this class is currently full) — taught by Sabrena Deal, this course will teach students the skills to design messages for particular audiences and to prepare designs correctly for print, digital and social environments. Students learn to analyze and to use the principles of design, typography, layout, color theory, art and illustration, and copyright law. Adobe Creative software is used to produce a variety of projects for student portfolios.

Multiplatform Story Production (JOUR 4090E) — taught by Ivanka Pjesivac, students enrolled in this course will develop enterprise news stories across platforms. Each student will produce a long-form web story with links and references, a video story (television news package), a photo essay, a radio story, a “back story” (explaining issues with the reporting) and a webcast explaining some aspect of the story in depth.

New Media Productions (NMIX 4110E) — taught by Chris Gerlach, this course will provide a solid foundation of technical skills that students can build upon for the rest of their careers. Students learn how to design and develop web products that function effectively with multiple platforms (desktop computers, cellphones, tablets, etc.) and are introduced to coding with PHP, MYSQL and Jquery.

Public Relations Research (ADPR 3510E) — taught by Michael Cacciatore, this course focuses on design, strategy and implementation of public relations research techniques. Study of research theory, methods and practices within the context of public relations case studies and client work.

Race, Gender, and the Media (JRLC 5400E) — taught by Maria Len-Ríos, this course teaches students about the relationship between men, women, and racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and the media. Course work includes discussions of representations in mass media (television, print media, advertising and film); impact of representations on audiences; inequities in media professions and institutions; and alternative, feminist and minority media.

The Peabody Archive: TV History and Genre (EMST 5990E) — taught by Shira Chess, this seminar is designed to synthesize and integrate many of the theoretical and practical approaches of the study of mass communication, giving opportunity through a variable topics seminar to analyze processes and effects of mass communication and to acquire specialized knowledge of specific mass media modes of presentation and production.

Topics in Sports Media (JRLC 5880E) — taught by Vicki Michaelis, this course will focus on an issue or trend that has become a social concern or transformational force in sports and sports media. Current examples include college sports realignment and related broadcast rights agreements, social media, the impact of sports concussions and sports analytics.

More information about UGA’s online courses can be found on the UGA Summer School website. Registration for summer 2017 is currently open.