Collaboration is an integral part of the journalism and mass communication industry. In ACU’s Journalism & Mass Communication department, professors encourage students to collaborate by implementing peer-to-peer learning. This approach to education instills in students valuable leadership and communication skills.
What is peer-to-peer learning?
In a typical classroom, students may sit in rows of desks and listen to a professor speak in lofty vernacular about any given topic. In classrooms implementing peer-to-peer learning, students teach their own peers about practical topics. At ACU, peer-to-peer learning takes form in required labs taught by upperclassmen, which accompany traditional lecture courses taught by ACU faculty. In the JMC department, students teach a variety of labs, including:
- Communication Design
- Writing for Electronic Delivery
- Introduction to Visual Media
What does peer-to-peer learning really look like?
Upperclassmen (called Teaching Assistants, or TAs, in the classroom) provide unique insight for younger students while teaching labs. Many TAs have completed the same coursework they are teaching, so they can communicate insights a professor may not think to teach.
For example, the final project in Communication Design, formerly known as Publication Design, requires each student to create a mock-up of a magazine in Adobe InDesign on a topic of his or her choosing. Many students enrolled in Communication Design have never used InDesign before. However, through peer-to-peer learning, students can fluently navigate InDesign and create a portfolio-worthy product by the end of the semester.
Why is peer-to-peer learning valuable?
From both the teaching and learning ends of peer-to-peer learning, students acquire skills required for professionals world of journalism and mass communication. Students become more valuable in the workforce when they are accustomed to collaboration with peers and are open to learning on the job. The JMC department is doing its part to prepare students for success in the journalism and mass communication industry.