After the success of its first three Massive Open and Online Courses (MOOCs), the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas will offer a fourth course, “Introduction to Data Journalism,” with journalist Sandra Crucianelli, an expert in the field. Click here to register.
The five-week course will be free of cost and will take place from May 13 to June 16, 2013. Just like the Knight Center’s two previous MOOCs, the course will be open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection.
“A lot of people ask me, what’s data journalism? Is it something that has to do with precision journalism, or investigative journalism, or analytical journalism?” Crucianelli said. “I say it’s the same journalism as always, but now we’ve added new roles. The first great distinction: an enormous amount of data. The other two things are the incorporation of a programmer to the news team, and of people work on the interactive visualization of this great volume of information.”
“Introdution for Data Journalism” will cover the basic concepts of data journalism, an overview of the current state of the practice around the world, new digital tools for searching and data mining, an introduction to math and statistics for journalists, visual information handling techniques, and best practices in the development of news apps.
Crucianelli said that the emergence of several initiatives all throughout Latin America – from the projects of Gianina Segnini at Costa Rica’s La Nación to those of Gustavo Faleiros in Brazil – show that data journalism is at the fingertips of everyone in the continent and is not an exclusive practice of media companies with large teams and budgets.
“There are small sites and initiatives within the provinces and a lot of interest in learning,” she said. “These are the ideal conditions, I think, to be able to start exercising this practice without further excuses.”
This will be the fourth massive course the Knight Center offers since it begun its MOOC program last October with the two editions of the course in English “Introdution to Infographics and Data Visualization” with instructor Alberto Cairo. “Introduction to Data Journalism will also be the Knight Center’s second MOOC in Spanish.
“Data journalism is currently one of the hottest subjects in the field, and even though this course was designed with journalists in mind, it will also be very useful in many other professions since one of the biggest challenges today is how to deal with the large volumes of information that can be found online,” said Professor Rosental Calmon Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. “I’m sure that this course will be a success, just like every other course that Crucianelli has taught for the Knight Center in the last decade.”
Sandra Crucianelli is a journalist who has specialized in investigative and precision journalism, with an emphasis in digital sources and database journalism. Since 2004 she has taught several courses through the Knight Center’s Distance Learning platform. She is also a member of the advising council for the Center for Digital Journalism at the University of Guadalajara, Mexico, an instructor at the Media Center in Florida International University (FIU) and founder of Solo Local.Info, a project in hyperlocal digital journalism. She is the author of the book “eDigital Tools for Journalists,” published in Spanish and Portuguese by the Knight Center. She is a Knight International Journalism Fellow that has researched the journalism applications of open data in the last two years.
A MOOC is a new type of online learning program that was designed to reach a large number of students. In general, most MOOCs are college courses that have been recorded on video and adapted to be shared over the Internet.
However, the Knight Center’s MOOCs are different. Besides focusing on journalism-related topics, the courses are created specifically for this program and seek to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible. The Knight Center’s MOOCs are not formal college courses and cannot be used to receive any kind of university credit.
The Knight Center’s first MOOC was “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization,” which took place last year and was taught by instructor Alberto Cairo. The course, which had over 2,000 students, was so well received that the Knight Center offered a second, identical edition of the course this year. It began on Jan. 12 with 5,000 students from 133 countries and will end on Feb. 23. On March 8, the Knight Center launched its first MOOC in Spanish, “How to Improve Electoral Coverage,” with award-winning Colombian journalist María Teresa Ronderos.
Crucianelli’s course will include videos, tutorials, reading materials, exercises and quizzes. Just like the Knight Center’s other MOOCs, the course will be divided in weekly modules and will be completely asynchronous, meaning there will be no live lectures. Even though students can take the course at the times of their choosing, each weekly module will have deadlines for submitting the quizzes and participating in the forums.
As opposed to the Knight Center’s regular online courses, there will be no application or selection process.Anyone can sign up online and, once registered, participants will receive instructions on how to enroll in the course. Enrollees will have immediate access to the syllabus, introductory information and a video from the instructor explaining how the MOOC will work.
Although the course will be free, if participants need to receive a certificate, there will be a $30 administrative fee, paid online via credit card, for those who meet the certificate requirements. The certificate will be issued only to students who actively participated in the course and who complied with most of the course requirements, such as quizzes and exercises. The certificates will be sent via email as a PDF document. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with the certificate.
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism thanks to a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has been supporting it continually. The Center also receives major contributions from the Open Society Foundations and The University of Texas at Austin. The Center’s main goal is to help journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean to improve the quality of journalism in their countries.