While the Indiana University at Bloomington campus was quiet this summer, the Media School brought the campus back to life with five intensive two-week summer courses.
The five courses covered Sports Crisis During a Pandemic, Journalism and Public Relations Partnerships, Internet Industries, Media Literacy and Communication Through Visuals.
Each course took place during the week from August 10 to 21. Classes used a hybrid system, with some students connecting through Zoom and others in person with strict physical distancing standards.
Lauren Smith, Assistant Sports Media Professor, taught at MSCH-J 360 Sport, Crisis and Coronavirus, a course that couldn’t be more timely right now with the recent cancellation of Big Ten Fall Sports.
“This is really how the coronavirus impacted the sport and how leagues and athletes responded to it,” she said.
Smith and her class discuss topics found in scholarly articles, the New York Times, NBC Sports and various textbooks, she said.
The subjects understood how shocking it was that the NCAA didn’t appear to have a plan for the consequences of a canceled fall season. They also had a lengthy chat about NBA player Rudy Gobert, who shed light on the virus and jokingly hit all media microphones before testing positive, resulting in the cancellation of the regular season.
Smith offered this two credit hour course earlier this spring when it all came to a standstill. She had all of her topics in order and planned to use one day to discuss MLB and possibly another for the NBA through the prism of public relations and media relations.
When the crises hit every league hard enough, Smith adapted his topics to how the league responded to cancellations and their current situation in handling the crisis.
“I hope this gives everyone a different lens to look through,” Smith said.
Down the hall, MSCH-J 360 Hacks and Flacks was taught by practice teacher Elaine Monaghan and speaker Dave Groobert.
“The theme of the course is the relationship between journalists and public relations in the private sector and public affairs in government or the public sector,” Groobert said.
The three-credit-hour class had 17 students from all specialties, including journalism, public relations, and even some majors outside of The Media School.
Topics included Black Lives Matter, diversity in the newsroom, public relations, 9/11 and the war in Iraq, Monaghan said. The class also studies the real-life stories behind popular TV shows and movies such as “Scandal”, “The West Wing” and “Spotlight”.
Groobert said the goal is for students to understand different perspectives. Monaghan and Groobert also offered their inside perspective.
Groobert worked in public relations for 30 years in Washington, DC, before coming to teach at IU four years ago, he said. Monaghan is a veteran journalist, author and foreign correspondent who has covered disasters, elections, business and more in various countries.
Groobert and Monaghan both spent four to six weeks of the early summer reunion in their backyards to train the class. While teaching, they are using discussion boards, Canvas, and other programs to collaborate safely during the pandemic.
“We really enjoyed the intellectual challenge of designing a class that links journalism and public relations, and we think the students appreciate it too,” said Monaghan.
Student Raiha Zainab participates in the course exclusively through Zoom.
“It was an interesting experience,” Zainab said. “But I think they make it work really well and fit us into the classroom as best they can so that we are always engaged in group discussions.”
A graduate in international studies and journalism, Zainab said she signed up for the course after seeing her advertisement on Twitter. She particularly enjoys Monaghan and Groobert’s experience in the field and learning from their perspectives which they apply to each lesson.
“We volunteered for this; it’s not part of our regular teaching load,” Groobert said. “It’s very exciting to have the students in the class so excited about this.”
Indiana University looks forward to welcoming students, faculty, and staff in the fall semester. The university has provided safety guidelines, an academic calendar, FAQs and campus-specific advice for relocating, testing, teaching and learning at autumn2020.iu.edu.