AUSTIN, Texas – The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas at Austin will offer free, worldwide instruction in digital journalism through massive open online courses, with $600,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The investment builds on the success of a Knight-supported pilot project that served 70,000 people from 169 countries in less than three years. Alongside the free classes taught by the world’s leading digital journalists, the expanded journalism education project will include low-cost “Big Online Courses,” “Small Online Courses” and online master classes tailored for individual newsrooms, contributing to the sustainability of the project.
“Free courses democratize access to journalism training by reaching out to thousands of people and creating big learning communities,” said Professor Rosental Alves, Knight Chair in International Journalism in the Moody College of Communication and Knight Center director. “The income by smaller classes will help the center to become sustainable, while keeping its role as a lab for new peer-to-peer learning models and a source of free or affordable journalism training worldwide.”
“The Knight Center has developed an extremely effective way to connect journalists with the up-to-date information they need to be successful amid the rapid transformation of our field,” said Jennifer Preston, vice president for journalism at the Knight Foundation. “This investment will not only expand course offerings, but will expand the community of journalists committed to moving journalism forward by learning from each other.”
The Knight Center has a database of more than 100,000 people who have shown interest in online journalism training. Nine out of 10 journalists who took the Knight Center’s online courses said the experience was “as good as” or “better” than any face-to-face training they had ever had, a 2012 Knight Foundation survey of the program found.
The center plans to produce at least eight online courses per year for the next four years, reaching out to as many people as possible, including at least 10,000 participants in massive open online courses. Other goals include:
- Identifying new trends and skills in journalism, such as storytelling and newsgathering techniques, that can be taught as peer-to-peer online courses.
- Creating a strong community around the Knight Center’s distance learning program to support an ongoing exchange of ideas, and sharing of best practices.
- Prototyping, testing and sharing new online course formats that emphasize peer-to-peer learning, cutting-edge digital technologies and journalism excellence.
Support for the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at The University of Texas at Austin is part of the Knight Foundation’s efforts to expand digital journalism training opportunities, support emerging leaders and strengthen the network of people working to advance the practice of journalism.