Online Courses, Fall 2014

Registration for Fall 2014 classes is underway. Please contact us if you have any questions about these classes.

Science Writing
Journalism 300
Sept. 2, 2014 to Dec. 5, 2014

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This 4-credit course will explore the fast-growing field of reporting and writing on science, technology, engineering and public health. Some of the most important political debates of the day—from nuclear power and global warming to stem cell research, cancer clusters and fracking—hinge on a complex mingling of hard evidence and lingering uncertainty. Is fracking contaminating drinking water? Are cell phones linked to cancer? What are the impacts of global warming going to be? Evaluating the research into such questions and distilling what's known and what's not for ordinary readers is more critical than ever—and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to do it.

Instructor: Tom Zeller Jr.

Newswriting and Reporting
Journalism 300
Sept. 2, 2014 to Dec. 5, 2014

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Journalism 300 introduces students to basic reporting and newswriting skills, including interviewing, researching public records, fact-checking and much more. This class includes numerous reporting and writing assignments.

This is a required course to earn the Certificate of Journalism.

Instructor: Christina Hernandez Sherwood

Introduction to Journalism
Journalism 201
Sept. 2, 2014 to Dec. 5, 2014

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In Introduction to Journalism, students will study the principles and practices of journalism as well as journalism's role in a democratic society. We will explore journalism's impact on public policy, private lives, and the increasing role of citizens within the context of the contemporary convergence of multimedia. Class discussions will address the historical development and future of the field, including new technologies and changing strategies. Techniques, methods, and models guiding the contemporary practice of journalism will all be covered.

Instructor: Shaheen Pasha

Social Media and Public Relations
Journalism 391PR
Sept. 2, 2014 to Dec. 5, 2014

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The roles and responsibilities of today's PR practitioners are expanding. PR Professionals must understand and embrace how to integrate social media communications with overall business communications, learn different ways to engage with customers and other stakeholders and navigate a changing media landscape with new technology that drives consumer news consumption. This course examines the role of today's communicators who are developing new strategic approaches to the practice of PR.  Students will learn how to research and evaluate various types of 2.0 collaborative technologies, monitor conversations for reputation and crisis management, develop social media objectives and strategies for integrated communications programs, create and manage the social media communications process, identify opportunities to engage via different networks, develop content for deeper interactions with stakeholders, and use different types of measurement to gauge communications success.  The class will focus on how to align strategic PR and social media programs with higher level business goals and objectives.

Instructor: Deirdre Breakenridge

Harnessing Public Opinion
Journalism 392L
Sept. 2, 2014 to Dec. 5, 2014

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This course is meant to familiarize students with the much-invoked "public" (alternately called "audience," "average Joe," the "man on the street," etc.). The course aims to complicate the notion of a taken-for-granted homogenous "public," and help communicators acquire a more sophisticated understanding of their "target audience." The questions addressed here include: How does one identify and evaluate the audience that one's communication campaign is meant to reach? How do "publics" react to professionally crafted messages? When is it better for communicators to use the mainstream news media in order to disseminate their message, and when should they create their own media (e.g., newsletters, web sites, blogs, online social networks, Twitter feeds)? Discussions of "public opinion" theories will be complemented by hands-on audience research projects and analyses of concrete message-medium-audience dynamics.

Instructor: Razvan Sibii


Visit the Continuing and Professional Education academic calendar for more information on add/drop, withdrawl and refund dates.

Journalism Department
108 Bartlett Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003

Phone: 413.545.1376