Open Book Classroom

The Great Game of Education is borrowed from Jack Stack and his company Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation. Now Missouri Southern is partnering with SRC to create the Great Game of Education. I came up with this concept on my own from straight the Great Game of Business, and the Southern Missouri version is more focused on staff and faculty and running the higher education apparatus. My Great Game of Education is for the classroom setting and teaching students.

The video below is from a presentation I gave at the annual Journalism Interactive Conference, the 2015 edition was held at the University of Missouri and hosted by the Reynolds Journalism Institute.


The Open Book Classroom

How to create transparency and foster collaboration

From The Great Game of Education

The teaching models I am developing are consistent with societal emphasis on experiential and problem-based learning, offering students an opportunity for accountability and for conversation about our progress both as groups and as individuals. Each class session begins with a Huddle in which we assess our work, both in celebration and in critique, with the goal of constantly improving our work and ourselves. We also talk about the news of the day that they’ve shared on Twitter in advance of class. In this settings, students strengthen abilities in verbal expression and efficient presentation of material that they’ve sourced. In order to assess ourselves, we create a self-measuring system built on shared learning outcomes, and we build in key performance indicators that we believe will help us reach those outcomes, both individually and collectively. One class might want to follow their progress on Twitter in relation to follower counts, while another wants to leverage Google Analytics to chart pageviews. I allow them to set the parameters of that share outcome, and we tweak the system as we go. Students then score themselves, their peers and their instructor (me) based on learning objectives. It’s part agile project management principles (borrowed from my software development experience), and part editorial meeting (borrowed from my magazine journalism experience). We use a status board, in class and online, to track social media usage among the entire class, and we talk on a daily basis about project status.

The way that I map student learning outcomes to the transferrable skills (both technical aptitude and personal interactions) is by ensuring and reinforcing three concepts:

  1. Know and Teach the Rules
    1. Every student should be given the measures of academic success—be it better writing, crisper video editing or photographic composition—and then taught to understand them and replicate them
  2. Follow the Action & Keep Score
    1. Every student should be expected and empowered to use their knowledge to improve performance. We check in daily, and we support our peers to stay on task.
  3. Provide a Stake in the Outcome
    1. Every student should have a direct stake in the success, or the risk of failure, in the class.

By employing this structure, it is my hope that the model will help students to gain experience in the fast-paced situation of a team-based work environment, even as they also begin to conceptualize themselves as lifelong learners who can continue to learn and deepen their thinking in such work environments of their future.

I love teaching. I crave the lightbulb moments that happen during collaborative learning and independent study. I dig course design, and I am learning how to better teach digital journalism. It’s a moving target, and the tools of the trade continue to develop. What I’ve noticed, however, is that the hard skills (writing and editing) combined with the soft skills (critical thinking and interpersonal dynamics) are crucial elements. So, I started with those as a foundation and then layer on tools (Google Drive and Twitter) and processes (analytics and curation) as part of every class setting.

I started teaching media as a student at Oak Park River Forest High School aspiring to be a broadcast journalist on the Newscene team (but we cut tape and did live on-air broadcasts). As a Syracuse Newhouse School undergraduate, I taught video editing with my peers. While writing my master’s thesis at the University of Colorado Journalism School, I served as both a writing instructor and a broadcast manager for the live student news show (talk about a reprise).

The circle continues to loop back on itself, as I now (proudly) advise student journalism with the DU Clarion and (with honor) teach digital journalism courses in the Media, Film and Journalism Studies Department at the University of Denver.