Tag Archives: Court Reporting

Using Facebook to enhance collaborative learning for media law students in journalism

Dr David Clarke & Julie Gillin
@shuclarke / @juliegillin

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.8

Short Abstract
In 2014 a Facebook page was launched to support teaching and learning for Level 6 and 7 journalism students studying media law. This paper explores how the site provides a secure, private learning environment in which students and staff can discuss and share examples of journalistic practice.

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Detailed Outline
The Media Law Facebook page is being used to promote TEL (technology enhanced learning) to provide a safe environment where L6 and 7 students studying Media Law, Regulation and Court Reporting can benefit from collaborative and social learning. At the same time it supports digital literacy skills and ethical practice that are essential to journalists.
The FB site allows them to develop their knowledge of media law and practical court reporting in a professional, supportive context. The module leader facilitates the site which is moderated by colleagues from the teaching staff. Both staff and students contribute content and reflect on their experience reporting upon the criminal courts and coroner’s inquests in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
Social media use can been seen as disruptive and confusing when there are too many competing platforms, particularly Blackboard (Halverson, 2011). While staff recognise the benefits of social media, at the same time we have concerns about ethical and legal practice online and about privacy. This is of particular significance in the light of the recent Leveson Inquiry into the conduct and ethical practice within the print media.
Journalism educators are faced with the challenge of trying to prepare journalism students for a rapidly changing professional landscape (Rohumaa and Bradshaw, 2011) in which social media is an essential tool and platform. This presents challenges in that we also are required to control their use of social media as students of the university following SHU Social Media Guidelines.
As a result, the journalism team have discussed our individual and group use of Facebook and other social media and agreed a best practice policy.
This development in teaching and learning practice is ongoing and is being used as a template for best practice in related modules and disciplines. Student feedback on their experience of the module will be collected and analysed for use in future research and publications.

HALVERSON, E.R. (2011) Do social networking technologies have a place in formal learning environments ? On the Horizon 19:1, p62-7.
ROHUMAA, L., and BRADSHAW, P. (2011) The Online Journalism Handbook: skills to survive and thrive in the digital age. London: Pearson