Teaching a Studies-in-Race Course Online: The Challenges and the Rewards

Teaching a Studies-in-Race Course Online: The Challenges and the Rewards

Karen M. Turner
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-120-9.ch010
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Colleges and universities are increasingly using the latest communication technologies to offer courses to students on campus and beyond. This chapter is designed to answer whether a course dealing with the potentially volatile issue of race can be effectively taught as an online class. The course, Race and Racism in the News (JPRA 320), was designed in 1997 by examining the literature pertaining to teaching online/distance courses and studies-in-race courses, as well as incorporating studies concerned with preserving the anonymity of control groups and those that looked at differences between face-to-face and computer-mediated discussions. This course was developed to effectively incorporate online instruction with race studies aimed at teaching racial sensitivity to journalism students. The course has been offered seven times between 1997 and 2002. Student feedback over the five-year period indicates that such a course can advance the national dialogue on race. Many White students, in particular, said in the required end-of-course survey that the course anonymity provided them with a freedom from political correctness and they could participate more honestly than they would have in the traditional face-to-face classroom setting. Also, students have said they are now aware of the subtle ways race impacts the coverage of news. The effectiveness of this course could have implications beyond the classroom. It is believed that students sensitive to the subtleties of racism in news coverage will make better media professionals in our increasingly multicultural world. In 1997, former President Clinton challenged the country to engage in a race dialogue. This kind of course can be added to the mix of ways in which such a dialogue can be started and maintained.

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