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Nina Scott To Publish Journalism Textbook Online

Hoping to use technology as means of providing all students with high-quality resources, Nina Scott, Instructor in English, plans to make her journalism textbook available for free online by the end of Fall Term. Scott originally wrote the textbook in 2007 solely as class material for her English 514 Journalism elective. While Scott initially wanted to digitize the book to supplement her class’ curriculum, her plans shifted when she was inspired by CK-12, a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide both students and teachers with high-quality open-source content online for free. After attending a workshop with the organization at Choate Rosemary Hall this June, Scott met with several representatives of CK-12 at the Technology in the Classroom workshop, including Juli Weiss, P ’05. They soon convinced her to make her textbook available on their website. “Their ‘non sibi’ and their vision so matched Phillips Academy’s motto ‘private school with a public purpose’ that I was willing to give my book to them… if it helped them in any way,” said Scott. “Getting information, quality information, out there to people who are interested—what could be better?” said Scott. Scott hopes her book will be able to help students who do not have the same opportunity as Andover students to explore their interests in journalism. Eventually, the digital version of the book may even be translated into different languages for greater accessibility. “It takes a lot of money to take courses beyond what students get in school, and there [are] a lot of young people out there who want to learn more than they have access to,” she said. With open source content from individual teachers, professors and even universities like Stanford, CK-12’s website provides its users with the resources to meet their individual needs and interests by topic. The “C” in CK-12 has an open meaning, standing for content, classroom, connections and customizable all at the same time, according to the CK-12 website. “Instead of having to a buy a huge book, you can go to the CK-12 website and simply select certain topics and curate your own book. Not only will the concepts be there, but so will the accompanying exercises, quizzes, videos, real-world applications and links to other lectures,” said Scott. The digitization of this book is fitting given Scott’s firm belief in technology as a powerful tool in journalism itself. “You can get direct feedback from your readers, and since the newspaper is the voice of its community, the more people are talking, the more you’re fulfilling your obligation as a newspaper,” Scott said. To reflect this growing emphasis on technology in newspapers, Scott has been working with students in her Journalism elective to incorporate materials on digital journalism in the textbook. Students from last fall’s Journalism elective course have helped Scott accomplish this feat. Gabbi Fisher ’13 wrote a section on “Citizen Journalism,” Eric Ouyang ’13 wrote a section on “Digital Journalism Skills” and Connie Cheng ’13 embedded links to websites, documentaries, images and videos within the online textbook. Scott hopes that these additional links will allow the readers to become more engaged in the text. “When I wrote the book, I wanted it to read like a narrative, a novel you couldn’t stop reading so there are stories and a lot of prose. But that doesn’t translate very well into the computer. The technology elicits a different emotional and intellectual responses and just scrolling through texts is ghastly,” said Scott.