Apple in Education Profiles

Creating media-savvy journalists with Mac.

MacBook Pro helps students at the Missouri School of Journalism effectively learn and practise the skills of modern journalism, including reporting, writing and editing in different media. And it allows faculty members to focus on teaching journalism — rather than managing technology.

The inspiration

Since 1908, some of the best journalists in the world have learnt their trade at the Missouri School of Journalism through the Missouri Method, a ‘learn by doing’ approach that provides practical hands-on training in real-world news reporting. Technology has always played a role in the Missouri Method. In 1985, the school was the first institution to publish its community newspaper on a local area network, and by 1991 it was producing a daily digital newspaper. But around 2000, school administrators realised that they were not keeping pace with one of the biggest trends in contemporary journalism: convergence, or the reporting of stories through a combination of different media and emerging technologies.

After an extensive exploration led by Associate Dean Brian Brooks, the school decided to move from a largely PC-based platform to the Mac. Brooks and his transition team championed Mac and iLife as the perfect tools for enabling faculty and students to teach and learn journalism as it’s practised today, with journalists increasingly required to both report and produce stories for print, TV and the web. In 2004, Brooks implemented a required notebook computer–buying program, strongly recommending that each student purchase a MacBook Pro. Nearly all of them did, and the program was an instant success.

The Mac is now a universal presence in the curriculum, which aims to give Missouri School of Journalism students the skills and tools they need to produce work at the same level as any professional journalist. Students use MacBook Pro for everything from recording classroom lectures to news-gathering, writing and editing for class projects and for the school’s newspaper, TV station and affiliated online news service. With iMovie and GarageBand, first-year students can quickly teach themselves the basics of video and audio editing before moving on to more complex projects using Final Cut Pro. And because the Mac offers a complete, easy-to-use set of media tools that work together seamlessly, faculty members can focus on teaching journalism rather than managing classroom technology.

Following its success with integrating Mac notebooks into the curriculum, the school is now looking at adding iPad and iPhone devices as mobile tools for journalism.

“The Mac can really transform how we teach journalism in this country.”

— Brian Brooks, Associate Dean, Missouri School of Journalism.

The implementation

Given the scale of the proposed switch from PC to Mac, it was critical for Brooks to get faculty buy-in. In consultation with Apple Professional Development facilitators, the school delivered faculty training, assessment and professional development sessions to ensure digital competency. Some training was specifically created to help PC users migrate to Mac. After learning how well the Mac fit with the curriculum, the faculty voted unanimously in favour of making the change.

Although all students were asked to purchase their own MacBook Pro notebooks, they generally considered the cost to be part of their fees. And because the notebooks have proved to be such effective learning tools, the mandatory buying program has been well received by students and their families.

The school’s former PC-based platform required significant IT support, chiefly to deal with persistent virus attacks. So the school saw immediate benefits in the switch to the more secure, UNIX-based OS X. And because the iLife applications are so easy to learn and use, students and faculty members can now manage their own systems. Together, these factors reduced by half the IT resources required to support administration, faculty and students.

The results

The Mac and iLife created a perfect solution for adapting the learn-by-doing Missouri Method to training media-fluent journalists. A survey of recent Missouri School of Journalism graduates found that 90 per cent were employed in journalism, advertising or PR jobs.

Products they use

MacBook Pro

This notebook computer is great for learning both inside and outside the classroom. Learn more about MacBook Pro

Final Cut Pro

The perfect tool for editing professional-level videos for classroom projects or work assignments. Learn more about Final Cut Pro

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