Curriculum Models: Convergent Journalism Learning Outcomes

The following tables and commentary seek to scope out a set of disciplinary capabilities for journalism graduates from Australian Universities. It adopts the five categories of Barrie (2004) and the Graduate Attributes Project (GAP) to delineate the major areas for graduate competencies:

  • Information literacy
  • Research and Inquiry
  • Ethical professional understanding
  • Communication
  • Personal and Intellectual Autonomy

Graduate attributes – as generic statements of broad transferable skills – have been a key part of Australian and international Universities’ quality assurance efforts over the past decade (Hughes Barrie & 2010). Although an array of conceptions and terms are used one influential definition is:

Graduate attributes are the qualities, skills and understandings a university community agrees its students should develop during their time with the institution. These attributes include but go beyond the disciplinary expertise or technical knowledge that has traditionally formed the core of most university courses. They are qualities that also prepare graduates as agents of social good in an unknown future. (Bowden et al. 2000)

Barrie and colleagues in the GAP research distilled these generic statements into five categories after analysing statements from all Australian Universities Instead of treating each category separately we have created a grid and asked what qualities emerge at the intersection of these major categories.  This is based on an assumption that such capacities are rarely developed in isolation in an increasingly multidisciplinary workplace. We have then attempted to write a journalism learning outcome that occurs at the intersection of these key qualities Our delineation of the capacities has been influenced by:

So in the first table below the learning outcomes or capacity statements all relate to information literacy (which in the Barrie GAP framework refers to both technological literacies and information processing capacities). The first cell is the key statement about information literacy, the second cell articulates capacity at the intersection of information literacy and research literacy, the third cell looks to the intersection of information literacy and ethics etc.

When the pairings come up again a further aspect of this skill set is examined for example in the next table the first cell again pairs information literacy with research capacity. While in the first table the emphasis is on how does research capacity enable information literacy in the second table the question is reversed: how does information literacy enhance research capacity.

Thinking through fundamental graduate capabilities in this way allows a rich picture of an adaptable multi-literate professional with interdisciplinary skills. This is important for any contemporary graduate but is particularly important for a journalism graduate in the fast changing media and creative industries.


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