I’m very excited to be teaching a new course at Georgetown University this summer called Web Development for Media, which begins tonight in Clarendon. The class includes 10 journalism and five public relations graduate students in the School of Continuing Studies.
The course assumes no prior knowledge of code or web development and will be akin to a practical survey class — intended to guide students through understanding and using some key tools. With fundamental understanding and hands-on practice, they’ll be able to dive deeper and teach themselves more after the 12 weeks. Here’s the official description:
Merely using the web and digital tools is no longer enough for today’s media professionals. Journalists and communicators alike need to have a strong foundational and practical understanding of how websites and applications are built and how to troubleshoot when problems arise. This class does not aim to make you hard-core coders or require any web development experience, but we do want you to come away with some coding skills. You’ll also be able to more effectively collaborate with web developers and continue learning on your own.
Follow along on the course site, check out the syllabus and let me know in the comments below what you think.
If you missed tonight’s #wjchat on radical change in the newsroom, below I’ve captured some highlights from the discussion. Put another way, I’ve gathered about 75 (out of more than 1,500 tweets) that I found the most interesting:
Update: I’ve embedded a second video about The Myths of Innovation (thanks to a tip from Scott Berkun) and added a link to a related Q&A published on Berkun’s blog.
“Innovation” is probably one of the most — if not the most — overused words you’ll read or hear on The Interwebs.
Despite how commonly it’s thrown around, there is still value in discussing innovation if you can avoid the silliness. Below are two people well worth listening to when they discuss this topic: Steven Johnson and Scott Berkun.
What I appreciate about Johnson’s approach is not that he claims to be selling some secret sauce, but instead reverse-engineers important innovations.
Based on my live tweets, below are notes from the event (in chronological order, edited for clarity and with some links added):
Johnson worked on the new book deliberately for four years. He started thinking about origin of ideas when writing Ghost Map.
He looked both at the places and environments that bred human and biological innovation, respectively.
He found seven recurring patterns in the innovations he explores, which became the chapters and helped structure the book. [Patterns/chapters: The Adjacent Possible, Liquid Networks, The Slow Hunch, Serendipity, Error, Exaptation, Platforms)
In all these moments of inspiration, it usually happens slower than we assume; involves borrowing and remixing ideas.
We have a desire to tell inspirations as moments of insight — the “eureka” moment. But often that’s not the case.
I’ll be sure to link the webcast replay when it’s available (also, check out The Top 10 Innovation Myths slideshow). For now, my live tweets from the webcast are below (in chronological order, edited for clarity and with some links added):
“Best thing since sliced bread” phrase refers to innovation not of just that, but that PLUS auto-wrapping to keep the bread fresh.
Avoid using: fundamental change, transformative, revolutionary, breakthrough, innovative, game-changing, out-of-the-box.
When he hears those words/phrases, he challenges the speaker to explain why something is being described as such.
You should worry about clear communication first, not “innovation.” “Don’t use it, you don’t need it.”
Innovation means significant positive change. It’s an outcome, not something you do as a daily activity.
Facts from @berkun: most products/companies suck, good products are rare, start with being consistently good, good is hard enough.
Occam’s Razor principle: if you have two solutions to a problem, the simplest one is probably the best.
“Big ideas look weird in the present.” The solution: learn to recognize and appreciate — don’t reject — weird ideas.
“Innovation is often best measured in relative fashion,” he says. “For any invention, there are multiple views on the value.”
Views of innovation: What you think, the person who buys thinks, makers think, the market thinks, historians will think.
“Creativity is a kind of work” that comes from effort, experience, etc. [It’s not magic.]
Edison’s research lab was innovative because it created an environment for experimentation
Howdy, I’m sharing this link/excerpt as I test the “Press This” WordPress tool, which I might start using to share interesting things a la Tumblr. On that note, check out my Tumblr, Greg Linch’s Commonplace Book. Also, check out my answer to the question below.