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Online Master's Degree for Journalism Educators

In 2007, Kent State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication became the first journalism school in the country to offer a Master of Arts degree for journalism educators that is entirely online. The program emphasizes skills and theory teachers can study today and use in their classrooms tomorrow.

From the latest technology for multi-media story telling to gaining strategies to protect students' First Amendment rights, the range of course content covers what teachers and media advisers need to know to be effective 21st century journalism educators.

Why Pursue this Degree?

Credibility as a teacher in the journalism classroom or as an adviser for student media is vital. A master’s degree from an accredited journalism school offers that, plus the continuing education that school districts demand.

Why Choose Kent State?

Our School of Journalism and Mass Communication is accredited and has a national reputation for excellence.

Rigorous coursework ensures no one can question the validity of your degree. In fact, you may find yourself working harder because of all the resources at your fingertips.

We offer the only completely online master’s degree for educators through a School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Kent State is home to the Center for Scholastic Journalism. Center staff includes Knight Chair for Scholastic Journalism Mark Goodman, Director Candace Perkins Bowen and Assistant Director John Bowen.

Students get to know their instructors and classmates through real-time chats, threaded discussions and interactive technology.

Coursework focuses on concepts and lessons that can be used in participants’ classrooms right away.

Students enrolled in this program pay the in-state tuition rate.

Program Requirements and Credit Hours

Required Core Courses (18)

JMC 50002 Reporting for Mass Meda - 3 Hours

Because we believe teachers have to be able to DO before they can TEACH, this course is required of everyone seeking the master's degree for scholastic media educators. This course contains students with a variety of backgrounds in prior journalistic writing courses and with a variety of previous experience – both as commercial journalists and as scholastic journalism teachers/advisers. Sometimes, the material presented here will be review. When that is the case, students quickly brush up on the concepts and then focus on how they will most effectively teach these concepts to their students. Scholastic journalism teachers/advisers have tried and true classroom techniques to share with classmates, but they will also stretch their imaginations to develop new and perhaps even better ways to teach these concepts to their students.

JMC 60002 Legal Problems: Law of Scholastic Journalism - 3 hours

This course provides an introduction to legal issues faced by scholastic journalism teachers, advisers, their students and school administrators relating to the creation of student media. The course will give teachers/advisers strategies to better educate their students, administrators and the school community about legal issues facing scholastic media and the role of a free student press.

JMC 60003 Ethics in Communication - 3 hours

This course is designed to help teachers provide lenses for students through which they can see dilemmas and ways to solve them. In short, by studying ethical approaches, theories and principles, teachers can help high school students handle choices so they do the right thing. Ethics is a process of decision-making that involves competing values, all of which are right. The course gives teachers background and strategies, and enables then to design ethics lessons to help students learn to make those decisions that will shape how they – and those they reach – continue society's democratic mission.

JMC 60007 Research Methods - 3 hours

The Research Methods course provides graduate students with an introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods in mass communication.  More specifically, the course investigates academic communication research by examining research questions and contexts from the qualitative research paradigm (focus groups, ethnography, grounded theory, biological life history, etc.) and the quantitative paradigm (survey, content analysis, etc).  

JMC 60009 Social Role of the Mass Media - 3 hours

This course will focus on the social role of the media and how scholastic journalism students – and programs– have an obligation to maintain this journalism staple. Concepts like gatekeeping, news literacy, leadership and citizen involvement stem from the ethical and historical roots of media's social role. The course will assist journalism teachers as they develop educational processes more than just presenting the historical roots of social role—and responsibility theory. The goal is to prepare teachers who will then transfer working knowledge to students and their communities so will understand and continue the importance of this role into the future, no matter media platform used.

JMC 60396 Master’s Professional Project* - 3 hours

* JMC 60199/6029 Thesis I, II are options but not recommended for online students

Required Professional Courses** (6)

JMC 50015 Media Management/Role of the Adviser - 3 hours

This course provides an introduction to the role of the adviser in helping students, faculty and parents understand the role of the student press. The course will help advisers develop an understanding of the need to establish a strong rapport with student staff members as well as readers and a need for everyone to understand the First Amendment does apply to those producing a scholastic publication. This course will help advisers utilize their time well as well as giving them guidance for their students to utilize their time well. This course will offer practical solutions to the concerns and problems that face advisers daily. Advisers will learn staff management and organizational tips as well as tips on how to relate to readers and non-readers. They will also discover how a well-written editorial policy can make their work and the work of their students easier.

JMC 67075 Teaching Multimedia - 3 hours

This course is intended as an online introduction to recognizing and producing some of the basic, linear elements of non-linear, journalistic multimedia storytelling for the Web, including audio, video and photo slideshows. It is, in essence, a skills class, but students will also apply those skills to tell stories. Much of the class is set up so students will "learn by doing" with the support of the instructor.

Choose from the following list** (12)

JMC 67076 Teaching Broadcast Journalism - 3 hours

Temporarily unavailable – coming for Spring 2014.

JMC 67079 Teaching Photo Editing - 2 hours

Photoshop is the industry standard digital image-¬‐editing program. It provides users with powerful tools to acquire, manipulate, and output a variety of images, from fine art to instructional and web graphics. The focus of this course is learning the fundamental operations and controls of Photoshop. The course will feature lectures, demonstrations, and tutorial lessons from the Adobe Photoshop CS6 Classroom in a Book. In addition to learning software, students will maintain a weekly dialogue concerning various issues in teaching and learning with Photoshop.

JMC 67081 Teaching Web Programming - 2 hours

Dreamweaver is one of the most highly‐rated visual website development tools. It provides users with powerful tools to layout pages, develop and maintain websites, and add a wide variety of sophisticated features. Dreamweaver is extensible and modular and is intended to meet the development needs of all web developers, from beginners to experts.

JMC 67083 Teaching News Design -3 hours

The course serves as an introduction to the components of news content and design; type and typography; printing processes; photography and illustration; the thought process in creating a news product; and further introductions in the developing field of visual journalism. Design is about how we communicate information to readers. What are we trying to say? How are we saying it? Visual journalists need to be content gatherers, content creators, artists and news editors all at the same time. This course will help show you how a student media staff can accomplish this.

JMC 67085 Teaching Photojournalism - 3 hours

Visual communication is one of the most important aspects of modern media and photography has been a mainstay of that communication. From phones that capture images to digital SLR cameras, the average person can enhance communication with visuals. This course examines the components of photojournalism and prepares instructors to teach those components to their students. In addition to traditional assignments and projects, instructors and students will maintain a weekly dialog.

JMC 60195 Teaching Opinion Writing - 3 hours

Good opinion pieces serve the purpose of persuading, an important role for media. They can be the voice of the publication and show leadership in the school community. They can explain or praise, too. Note, though, that was GOOD opinion pieces. Those aren't the personal narratives liberally splattered with “I” and “me.” And they aren't the shoot-¬from-¬the-‐hip rants with no support.
Good opinion writing should be found in staff editorials, commentaries, columns and reviews, and that's what this course covers – what these are and how to teach students to write them well. First students will look at background and legal and ethical issues for this kind of material. Then they will see what makes such pieces effective. Finally, students will work through how a good teacher and adviser can help their students be stronger opinion writers. And, yes, along the way, students write some persuasive pieces of their own.

JMC 67087 Advising Yearbook - 3 hours

In this course, students will gain skills and strategies for each part of the yearbook advising experience. From budgetary considerations to theme development, beginning advisers will understand their role in each aspect of the yearbook's planning and production. Students will create materials for use in their own classroom, including forms, handouts and activities appropriate for each unique situation. Students will also gain an understanding of best practices regarding social media use as a part of yearbook reporting, marketing and promotion. Technology tools and time-saving techniques will be part of each lesson with an emphasis on making each adviser's experience as smooth as possible.

JMC 67089 Web Development for High School - 2 hours

::Course Description Forthcoming::

* JMC 60199/6029 Thesis I, II are options but not recommended for online students

** Some courses are being taught as Special Topics but will eventually have a specific course number. Until that time, they are JMC 60195 and then a section number.

Words from Students

"The Online Master’s in Journalism program from Kent State provides me with opportunities that would not normally be available for me in my area and on my schedule. As I teach daily it provides me with invaluable resources to share with my students. While I learn, my students also learn. In addition the program provides an opportunity for me to take courses from a university on my time. The professors understand our busy schedules and are available to answer questions whenever they may occur.”

Chris Waugaman

Prince George High School

Prince George, Virginia

“My master's degree in journalism from Kent State is allowing me to find out more about new laws and writing techniques that let me enhance learning for my students.”

Angela Spano

GlenOak High School

Canton, Ohio

For details about the Master of Arts program, contact

Candace Perkins Bowen

Director, Center for Scholastic Journalism