January 17, 2012
Harding communication students engage in alternative learning experience
SEARCY, Ark.— Eighteen students from Harding University’s College of Arts and Humanities returned Jan. 10 from a weeklong class field trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City. Chair of the Department of Mass Communication Dr. Jack Shock and Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Jim Miller led these students on an educational tour of the mass communication profession.
In 2008, Shock created a course in the mass communications curriculum specifically for a learning experience of this nature. He believes that the knowledge students receive from first-hand experiences and talking to professionals in different environments greatly benefits their growth as a student and eventually leads to their success as a communications professional.
“It is my responsibility to prepare students in the classroom with the skill set needed for the office, but some skills can only be learned outside of the classroom,” Shock said. “The students get tips from professionals on how to navigate office politics and be a source of energy in the workplace, something that I can’t teach from behind the podium.”
In addition to visiting places that are significant to the field of mass communication, Shock wanted his students to learn lessons that cannot be taught within the confines of the classroom.
“The communications department strongly believes in experiential education from professionals because the best learning comes from outside the classroom,” Shock said. “It is empowering for students to see professionals that came from the same place and are now excelling in their field.”
In Washington, D.C., the students examined the communication strategies implemented in national memorials, visited the National Archives to gain further knowledge about the establishment of Americans’ First Amendment rights, and viewed exhibits about communication and journalism at the Newseum. The group also visited the office of Congressman Tim Griffin, a representative of Arkansas’ second congressional district, spoke to the group about government communications and gave a tour of Congress as well.
To witness mass communications in practice, the students traveled to New York, where they were members in the audience of Anderson Cooper’s new talk show, Anderson. They also participated in a business ethics discussion with six communications professionals, toured NBC studios to learn about the history of television broadcasting, and visited the 9/11 memorial.