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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Blending the News: Incorporating Online News Services Into Higher Education Courses

Jo Ann Oravec (University of Wisconsin Whitewater, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 1:00pm
Blended Models and Course Design
Areas of Special Interest: 
Innovative Blends
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Governor's Square 11
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 1

This presentation proposes strategies for student immersion in current events using online news services, outlining solutions to problems of partisanship, student assessment, and time constraints.

Extended Abstract

Actively monitoring news services as well as current events-oriented blogs is often essential to competent functioning as a citizen, businessperson, and professional. Blended classes often incorporate materials from online news services. However, incorporating this material has become increasingly problematic because of the polarized nature of much of the news. Students can become overly distracted and even confused by partisan news coverage and related hyperbole.

The ideal of having students routinely follow several online news services, integrating material into coursework (including their own wiki and blog production), is a tempting objective. Even more tempting is the prospect of having the students actively participating in news production by submitting video and textual materials to these online services. In order to use these news services effectively in blended classrooms, however, faculty and staff may need to dedicate substantial time to describing how news stories are produced, how the news industry is subsidized, how blogging has democratized a good share of news coverage, and other demanding issues. This consumes a great deal of time and effort for classes that are not themselves journalism courses.

This presentation outlines these problems in detail from the vantage point of university business communications and entrepreneurship courses. It proposes specific strategies that show consideration for the partisan nature of much of news production and consumption while affording means for students to gain from these constantly-updated and rich sources of information. The presentation outlines a set of scenarios and cases from online news service coverage of particular issues, describing how this coverage could be seamlessly integrated into coursework in a real-time fashion. It concludes with a futuristic scenario involving immediate immersion in current events using Google Glass and other innovative tools.

Lead Presenter

Jo Ann Oravec is an Associate Professor in the College of Business and Economics at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management. She received her MBA, MS, MA, and PhD degrees at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She taught computer information systems and public policy at Baruch College of the City University of New York and also taught in the School of Business and the Computer Sciences Department at UW-Madison as well as at Ball State. In the 1990s, she chaired the Privacy Council of the State of Wisconsin, the nation's first state-level council dealing with information technology and privacy issues. She has written books (including "Virtual Individuals, Virtual Groups: Human Dimensions of Groupware and Computer Networking," Cambridge University Press) and dozens of articles on technological design, privacy, computing technology, management, and public policy issues. She has worked for public television and developed software along with her academic ventures. She has held visiting fellow positions at both Cambridge and Oxford.


Please contact me at oravecj@uww.edu if you have any comments or questions!