Dr Vartika Nanda, Head of Department, Journalism, Lady Shri Ram College, has come up with an innovative way to teach and talk to students during the digital learning era. She is using her blog to disseminate important information to her students as well as bridge the gap between virtual and classroom teaching. It has become a one stop shop for students to access all their reading material and clarify their doubts.
In the absence of a central mechanism for this in Delhi University, Dr Nanda’s blog is a pioneering step in the direction of collating online educational resources. Other than written pieces and books, there are also many useful video links embedded in the content alongside links to further reading material. The section about books related to the media is a handy resource for students to get an overview of important texts.
Containing blogs from 2006 to 2020, the site also acts as a useful archive of information that students can continue to refer to. Students are the consumers and also producers of content at several places. A number of articles written by them on topics related to journalism are being incorporated on the blog on a regular basis. Once each article is published, the entire class contributes to improvise and improve it. In this manner, by the next day, an entirely new and supplemented document is ready. Having their work shared on the site, with by-lines, gives students a feeling of pride and is a meaningful addition to their portfolio.
The purpose of this enterprise is both educational and documenting some of the crucial contributions made by students. Each student’s level of involvement is based on their own enthusiasm and certain students have shown great gumption in making the most of this opportunity. Anushree Mukherjee, Himani Jindal and Riya Verma from the first year, and Aastha Poddar and Shraddha Acharya from the final year have made special contributions in adding content to the blog.
This blog is a classroom dedicated to the students of Journalism. For instance, Lockdown Diaries is a unique engagement exercise wherein students have written about their COVID quarantine experiences. It has given them a cathartic tool as well as a means of creative expression and a way to connect with their peers by means of shared experiences. Students engage with the content through comments, wherein many have added more points and resources to the discussion.
Many students have also written personal articles about their journey in college and enjoy the feeling of returning to the site to reminisce about the past. It helps document significant achievements and elaborates on the many discussions and events that have occurred on campus; serving as a useful compendium of the journalism department’s endeavours for anyone to view at a glance.
The site further highlights the innovative pedagogy used by Dr Nanda to immerse her students fully in the practice of journalism. The techniques used are one of a kind and serve as an example for how journalism teaching must incorporate practical components to be effective. A few examples of this are efforts by the students to design a magazine and newspaper from scratch. Students are responsible for thinking of names for their publications, finding articles, finalizing layouts, placing appropriate articles under the correct headings and more.
Through activities like these, students develop critical and creative thinking and experience journalism in a hands on manner and not just as a theoretical subject.
The site is a veritable treasure trove of information about Dr Nanda’s significant efforts for prison reform through the Tinka Tinka movement she founded a few years ago. The blog helps one retrieve many useful facts and glean knowledge about the same. This section includes relevant documents on Tinka Tinka Tihar, Tinka Tinka Dasna and Tinka Tinka Madhya Pradesh: three unique milestones in the arena of prison reforms in India. Other sections include columns on journalism, Dr Nanda’s poetry and a media glossary.
Dr Nanda’s media desk provides a quick and comprehensive view of her extensive work in media and her different publications. The newly introduced Corona diary about prisons is a unique initiative to document the life of prisoners during the pandemic.
Overall, this blog serves its purpose as an amalgamation of information and resources as well as a platform for students to express themselves and partake in discourse. It’s an opportunity for young journalism enthusiasts to see their work preserved for posterity and to make their engagement with the course more meaningful.
Educators can pay heed to this distinctive approach and utilise this method to make teaching and interaction easier for both teachers and students.