URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media to offer digital literacy class online, Jan. 26-May 2

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Dec. 17, 2014 – The University of Rhode Island is offering a graduate-level “digital literacy” class this spring and you don’t have to leave home to take it. “Seminar in Digital Authorship” will be completely online, using Google Hangouts, Twitter, YouTube and other media outlets.

Renee Hobbs, a professor of communication studies at URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media and an internationally recognized expert on media literacy education, will teach the class, called EDC 534, a graduate course in the School of Education.

“In this class, we take on the theory and practice of digital authorship with a focus on digital literacy for teaching and learning,” says Hobbs. “Today, people are discovering that the best way to demonstrate that you have learned something is to use multimedia to represent your understanding.”

The class is open to the public and is a requirement for URI’s 12-credit graduate certificate in digital literacy, which gives educators and other professionals the skills they need to learn about reading and writing in the Internet age. URI graduate students can take the course as an elective, and it is offered as an independent study.

Entirely interactive, the class is taught with “open source tools” freely available on the Internet, Hobbs says. All meetings, activities and work will be online. Google Hangouts will take place on Mondays, from 7 to 8 p.m., although they are optional. A syllabus and course homepage will be available in mid-January at wwwmediaeducationlab.com.

“The concept of authorship is changing as more people create messages with digital media,” says Hobbs. “By writing blog posts, sharing photos and making ‘how to’ videos people are advancing their skills of communication and expression.”

It’s crucial today for educators and other professionals to be comfortable with digital media and understand how to apply those skills to the classroom or workplace. The URI course and certificate program provide that opportunity.

“As technology becomes an increasingly vital part of education, educators and other professionals need help to keep pace with developments in digital media,” says Hobbs. “This graduate course supports both beginning and advanced users of digital media who can all benefit from learning about digital literacy.”

The certificate program kicked off in the summer of 2014 when more than 100 educators from 15 states – and 10 countries – took digital media courses for a week on URI’s Feinstein campus in Providence. The program was a big success and continues to thrive.

Hobbs is highly qualified to teach the course. As director of URI’s Media Education Lab, the URI professor has provided staff development to educators throughout the United States and world. She has published more than 150 scholarly articles and books and is co-editor of the Journal of Media Literacy Education.

In 2010, her paper, “Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action,” offered a comprehensive approach to implement digital and media literacy education to 75 million students in American grade schools and high schools.

This year, Hobbs is working with educators in Narragansett and Newport public schools to integrate digital literacy into the curriculum for kindergarten through grade 12. Many of the participants in the digital literacy certificate program are teachers.

Hobbs earned her doctorate in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master of arts in communication from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor of arts in English literature and film/video studies from the University of Michigan.

Click here for details about Hobbs’ class or to register or call Hobbs at 401-978-201-9799.

More than 1,450 undergraduate and graduate students attend the Harrington School, which offers programs in journalism, film/media, writing and rhetoric, communication studies, public relations and library and information studies. Click here for information about the school .

Photo above: Renee Hobbs, professor of communication studies in the University of Rhode Island’s Harrington School of Communication and Media. Photo courtesy of Renee Hobbs.