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To achieve ecological validity in higher education courses in journalism: reflections over two student projects
Södertörn University, School of Communication, Media and it, Journalism.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4939-0938
2011 (English)In: INTED 2011: International Technology, Education and Development Conference, 5th edition, Valencia (Spain), 7th-9th March, 2011 : conference proceedings cd / [ed] L. Gómez Chova, I. Candel Torres, A. López Martínez, Valencia, Spain: IATED , 2011, 6518-6523 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss selected results from a didactical higher education project where journalist students produced short news items for television and results from a test where the intention was to examine journalism students' linguistic abilities. From a cultural psychological perspective (Bruner 1996) students learn differently depending on the culture where the learning takes place. With a cultural psychological perspective it is essential to view the world, in both everyday life and research, from different perspectives. In addition theories on expectation and intellectual development (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 2003) as well as theories on skills and expertise development (Csíkszentmihályi, 1999; Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 2000; Hageskog, 2006; Kemp, 2005) were used to broaden the perspective and to reflect on the results. In the television project some 90 students from three different journalism courses in a 3-year multimedia journalist undergraduate program participated. During a two-week project in television production the students worked editorial groups and produced short news items. Students from the first semester were reporters and researchers; students from the fourth semester were editors and cameramen and editors in chief; students from the sixth semester participated as interviewees. The overall view, shared by both students and teachers, was that the project was successful. The cooperation between students from different semesters worked generally well and was appreciated by the students. The more experienced students instructed the inexperienced students in various ways. The students described this as a particularly valuable experience. Many students reported that they had learned in a different and better way compared with more traditional teaching.In the language test all 40 students from the first semester in a 3-year multimedia journalist undergraduate program participated. The test was structured in several sections and one typical task was to fill in a missing word or correct something wrong in a sentence. All students did not pass the test and some students had to redo the test many times to pass. To check to validity of the language test some staff members, lecturers and administrative personal, were asked to answer some of the questions. This was a difficult task for them and none of the participants managed to answer all the questions correctly. Surprisingly some of the students managed better the staff members in the test. The conclusion was that the language test actually measured the ability to understand a certain codes or instructions for how to answer specific types of questions. The test was less successful in measuring participant’s linguistic abilities. The over all reflection is that in projects like the television project the students learn much from working together with their peers, maybe even more than they learn from teachers or hand books and other literature. The actual project was structured similar to how journalists work professionally and consequently the project was considered as ecological valid. This in contrast with tests like the language test. The conclusion is that one way for higher education to keep up with today’s students – the Millennials – and future changes in the youth culture, international trends in education and not at least the student’s ability to reach employability – the Bologna Process – is to strive for high ecological validity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Valencia, Spain: IATED , 2011. 6518-6523 p.
INTED Proceedings, ISSN 2340-1079
Keyword [en]
journalism, hihigher education, ecological validity, millennials, the bologna process.
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URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-14813ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3 (print)OAI: diva2:676425
International Technology, Education and Development Conference - INTED2011, Valencia, March 7-9, 2011.
Available from: 2013-12-06 Created: 2012-01-19 Last updated: 2013-12-10Bibliographically approved

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