The end of 163 as we know it
This was an experimental class that started the Fall semester with a blank slate. Formally titled as a class on streaming, we took the view that podcasting is the new streaming. For their mid-terms every student did a podcast, complete with its own RSS stream. We were given a blank slate and so we embraced new media and the class was billed as "New Media in Journalism." Technologies taught in the class included blogging, Second Life, podcasting and RSS. We used Skype as a teaching tool and in the process this class saved Skype at SJSU when the university proposed the ban of it. The Skype story went global. It was an example of amazing timing that this class was in the right place at the right time on that issue. The class not only learned about new media journalism, we became new media journalists.
Our class received national attention, thanks to the resulting media coverage of the Skype story, and there was no way this class was ever going to slip under the radar. Fantastic speakers came to our class, physically and virtually via Skype and Second Life. Despite having poor facilities and few resources the class exceeded all expectations of ours.
I think the class succeeded because we were not afraid to fail. Dr. Dale E. Turner said, "Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future." On the first day of class we announced we would make mistakes in this class, but we intended to learn from them. Making mistakes became part of the process.
Even though we were given this class with a blank slate, even though we were a prototype, all of a sudden we became high profile. Folks with preconceived agendas took notice. Partly because of this, only partly, next semester's class will be very different.
But, that would be true even without the new agendas. That is the nature of prototypes. The lessons we learned as teachers of 163 in the Fall of 2006 would demand it. For these students, and us teachers, we were the pioneers and because of it we all had a truly unique experience. What a thrill that has been!