Online certifications, trainings can boost knowledge of both advisers and staff

After reading an article about social and digital certifications by Cindy Royal in the summer of 2017, I was inspired. As a former high school and now college journalism instructor and adviser, I know it’s vital to keep up on emerging technologies – to benefit ourselves and our students. However, I’ve found it’s not always easy to find smaller, bite-sized versions of trainings that I can fit into the often-tiny open spaces in my life.

Several of the certifications that Royal encouraged ended up being quick, easy and incredibly useful for application in my courses – in big and small ways. Then, I enjoyed them so much that I searched out others, most notably those that were free.

I’ll outline the certifications and trainings that worked well for me as a journalism instructor and adviser, and perhaps it will give you a place to get started for the summer of 2018.

Facebook for Journalists

We all know the highs and lows that Facebook has seen during its lifetime, but missteps aside, they have intentionally reached out to connect with journalists specifically through Blueprint. There are a number of free, online courses that are useful, and there are a number of courses that you may want to ask your students to take on advertising, SEO, brand awareness, and the like. By completing the three trainings listed below, along with a Poynter Institution Assessment of the collected knowledge, you can gain a Facebook for Journalists Certificate:

  • How Journalists Can Best Utilize Facebook and Instagram
  • Connect and Engage with Your Audience Using Facebook Live
  • Immersive Storytelling with Facebook 360


Google Analytics For Beginners

Sure, the two “hosts” of this video-based training have awkward hand movements, but the core understanding of all that Google Analytics can do is worth it. The beginners class is part of the Google Analytics Academy, which also includes mini-courses for advanced features and more complex tools for ecommerce and marketing. It is clear that a basic understanding of data analytics will be a necessary skill moving forward, so it’d be great to give high school students a peek into that world in small ways now.



The Fundamentals of Using Hootsuite

If your student media staff is running a number of social media accounts, I highly recommend Hootsuite as a way to keep a social presence branded, coordinated and (to some degree) under the watchful eye of an editor or adviser. The program is free, and so is the online course to learn how to use Hootsuite. Again, this may be a great professional development assignment for your social media managers or online editors.



Poynter News University

For interactive coverage of issues involving just about every aspect of journalism and communication, Poynter’s News University is an amazing repository of journalism trainings and online courses, as well as tools for educators. Some can be pricey, but I’m a big fan of the pull-down menu that allows me to select “Free to $25” when searching the trainings. Some of the paid online courses are subsidized by nonprofits or other organizations, and advisers and students alike can queue up trainings of their choice for later use.

Of course, if you are more interested in courses that mean interacting with other humans, particularly journalism advisers, I’d invite you to take one of the three online summer graduate courses that I teach through Eastern Illinois University that invite you to create and reflect on materials for your student media staff, with a decidedly emerging technologies perspective.

Amanda Bright

Amanda Bright, PhD, MJE, is a journalism academic professional at the University of Georgia, Grady College. Before that, she was a journalism instructor and yearbook adviser at Eastern Illinois University, a scholastic journalism adviser for newspaper and yearbook in Mattoon, Ill., a member of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, and a professional journalist.

Amanda Bright has 22 posts and counting. See all posts by Amanda Bright

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