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World’s first Community Journalism MOOC

23 January 2014

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Cardiff University is launching the world's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on community journalism - offering practical skills and insight into this dynamic and fast growing sector.

Cardiff University will offer a five week MOOC through FutureLearn (starting April 14) delivered by the Centre for Community Journalism part of the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. The course is led by Professor Richard Sambrook, Director of the Centre for Journalism, the top ranking centre for postgraduate vocational training in the UK. Professor Sambrook is a former Director of Global News at the BBC and will be joined by other expert media industry commentators and practitioners as well as fellow Cardiff academics.

FutureLearn is the first UK-led provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs), Community Journalism is one of the new courses to be added to its free, web-based offering.

The MOOC is aimed at people interested in creating their own community news service as well as those wishing to study this new media sector. It provides an overview of both emerging theory and of practical skills, ranging from digital publishing and community building to more traditional core journalism techniques.

Professor Sambrook said: "I'm delighted Cardiff University is offering this open course on Community Journalism - helping build and sustain new models of local news. Cardiff is proud to be the UK's oldest and most experienced School of Journalism and home to the UK's first academic centre for Community media."

Cardiff University launched the UK's first academic Centre for Community Journalism last year to help nurture and study this growing sector. Over five weeks, the course will build on that expertise and experience to offer insight and practical skills for all those interested in community and hyper local journalism. The course combines practical skills in setting up a community website, identifying and building an audience, creating content, establishing a workflow to sustain a site, managing an online community, media law and ethics, with a broader understanding of this new sector, how it has developed and the experience of those operating community sites.

James Thickett, Director of Nations and Market Developments, Ofcom said: "Our research shows very clearly that there is a phenomenal growth in the proportion of people who are now accessing local news through digital and mobile devices. Indeed, the exponential growth in ownership and usage of mobile devices means that this is a trend that is set to continue. The opportunities offered to community and hyperlocal journalists is immense. I am very pleased to have been able to contribute to the course which I hope will be a spur to many to fuse their passion for their locality with the power of new technology and create their own community news sites."

The FutureLearn course experience centres on social interaction, whereby people learn actively by engaging in conversations around the learning material. The website has also been designed to work on smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers, so that learners can enjoy the same high quality user experience, regardless of their screen size. 

FutureLearn is wholly owned by The Open University. The website combines the best elements of the social web with The Open University's 44 years of expertise in distance and open learning.

To join in with the conversation around the course, take a look at the #flcommunityjourno hashtag on Twitter.