Journalism Department introduces new prerequisites for EDC

The journalism department created a new series of quizzes journalism students must pass before checking out equipment from the Equipment Distribution Center.

The department designed the quizzes, also known as badges, for students who need to check out equipment for a specific journalism class, as opposed to extracurricular uses. To check out a certain tool like a DSLR camera, students must pass the corresponding quiz on Canvas to earn a badge. Journalism Department Chair Janet Kolodzy helped develop the new program.

“I think it’s important that we explore more than just one way in which students get up to speed with technology, and that we explore a couple of ways,” Kolodzy said. “I want the badges to be a way in which students can feel their technological expertise is recognized and useful.”

At the moment, the journalism department offers six base-level badge courses on Canvas, according to Kolodzy. The badge course students must take depends on the curriculum of their journalism class. 

Prior to the development of the badge program, journalism professors required students to take workshops before gaining access to hardware. The badges will replace workshops moving forward, as students in the past often took the same workshop multiple times for different classes, according to Kolodzy.  

Students must complete a 15-question prerequisite course called the Safety Badge prior to checking out equipment from the EDC or taking other EDC-oriented badge quizzes, according to Kolodzy. Technology Director for the School of Communications Jonathan Satriale and journalism professor Angela Anderson-Connolly worked with Kolodzy to develop this course over the summer.

The student receives a passing grade for the safety course if they answer 11 out of 15 questions correctly, or 73 percent. If the student fails the safety quiz on the first try, the course allows them three attempts to pass. They may refer back to information in the modules.

The Safety Badge consists of several modules in which students read through informational slides. These modules cover topics such as what to bring when reporting and how to handle potentially dangerous situations while reporting.

Associate Director of Media Technologies and Production Timothy MacArthur said the EDC receives the results of the course online after the student completes it on Canvas.

“Anything that can reinforce awareness of how equipment works and how to be safe is valuable,” MacArthur said in regard to the badges. “The EDC hopes to be a resource for students looking for help with equipment.”

Kolodzy said she wants students to leave the safety badge course with a baseline understanding of situational awareness. 

“These days, unfortunately, journalists sometimes aren’t welcome in places,” Kolodzy said. “I want [students] to take away how to be able to do their job in the smartest way possible in terms of safety.”

Kolodzy said the journalism department hopes to offer intermediate and mastery badges in various topics. One such badge might certify a student possesses a comprehensive understanding of Final Cut Pro, according to Kolodzy.

Freshman journalism major Julia Mallon said the difficulty of the safety badge test surprised her.

“I had to go back and read the slides diligently because the questions were pretty specific,” Mallon said.

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