meAs one semester dwindles and another looms, I need to tap into the broader intelligence.

Specifically, I’m looking for feedback from journalists, teachers of multimedia and anyone else on content for a first-year news production course I teach each spring semester.

The course started out years ago as 15 weeks of learning newspaper design, Quark, and then inDesign, in some depth. Over the years, bits of multimedia have been added as online journalism took off. Now the course is exclusively about online story-telling. It’s also the students first exposure to doing multimedia journalism.

Last year, students learned through three projects: an audio story, a photographic slideshow with audio (using Soundslides) and, finally, a video. (The results are here should anyone care to look; fixing the website — which was broken when the site was hacked and the updated WordPress theme changed the way it dealt with front page images — is one of several projects for semester break.)

I chose those three because of the logic of the progression: start with sound, add images and then onto moving images.

For the coming semester, I’m thinking of abandoning the audio project, partly because students get a full semester of audio in their second year and partly because the basic skills of gathering and editing audio can be covered during slideshow and video production.

So, wise reader, what should I replace the audio assignment with? Should I try and hit other aspects of visual journalism (mapping, etc.)? Blend in the interactive, word-based journalism that Twitter and live blogging make possible? Begin to deal with the packaging of bits and pieces through Flash?

Any and all ideas are welcome. You could e-mail me or respond on Twitter, but if you leave your ideas in the comments, we can all share and learn.


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