Despite unprecedented disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic, each of you can take justifiable pride in how far you advanced and how much you learned about effective information design both in print and online this semester. Yes, it took a lot of work, but you picked up a lot of skills in the process.
Although we were unable to undertake all projects we might normally have attempted, this remained in many regards a capstone experience for your entire journalism education. Overall, the class wasn't about learning or practicing any particular technology or technique but rather about learning to adopt a creative, entrepreneurial approach in which you locate and master whatever new technologies and techniques might be advantageous as you produce journalistically competitive projects.
Whether you graduated or will be back next semester, all of you have moved past the point at which merely showing that you can do something cool or minimally acceptable with a technology, regardless of its journalistic marketability or value, is sufficient. Your projects weren't just class exercises; they were supposed to be competitive not just against other student work but against the highest of professional standards. And, for the most part, you succeeded, proving that you have learned to identify and tell engaging and important stories not just with the quality of your writing but also with visuals and interactive elements.
This is exactly the type of work that will impress potential employers, proving that you are more than some refugee English major who likes to write but prefers fact to fiction. By demonstrating your abilities to tell stories not just with linear, narrative text, you've proved that you can find imaginative ways to relate to and serve a mass audience. These skills will set you apart professionally.
Gradebook has been updated to reflect grades on all assignments and final course grades. Grade distribution and cutoffs are summarized at left.
Grades are supposed to measure how each student did in relation to other students, so letter grades were assigned on the basis of "clusters" of point totals. Except between A and A-, where the gap between letter grades was half a percentage point, all other letter grades were determined on the basis of a gap of at least one full percentage point between the lowest scorer receiving the higher grade and the highest scorer receiving the lower grade. In the end, this seemed to be the fairest way to grade relative performance in the pandemic-shortened class.
All in all, despite the pandemic, it was an enjoyable and productive semester. It was my pleasure to spend a large portion of it with you. Thanks for working so hard to develop what I hope will be important skills professionally. And don't forget to keep in touch as your careers move forward. One of the best ways, if you have a profile, is to connect via LinkedIn.
Whatever you do, remember to think visually and to regard technology not as a challenge or an end but as an opportunity and a tool. Do so and you can accomplish anything!