The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism will offer a new course next fall semester that utilizes Google Glass technology inside the classroom.
Robert Hernandez, assistant professor of Professional Practice at Annenberg, will be leading the class, titled “Glass Journalism,” that he developed with students across different schools, including Annenberg and the Viterbi School of Engineering.
The main focus of the course will be to create content that will be consumed and experienced through Google Glass and to create Glass apps by the end of the course. The course aims to develop a new form of storytelling.
This technology can change how information is relayed in journalism, Hernandez said. He is curious to see how, for example, National Public Radio will function on the platform, as well as how breaking news will be featured.
The class will consist of 12 to 15 students who will be divided into teams to create Glass apps that can be released to the public. David Carr, a sophomore majoring in computer science and part of the collaboration team that developed the course content, noted that the students will come from a wide range of academic backgrounds and majors so that each can contribute his or her own expertise in building a valuable app.
“The neat thing about this class is that everything about it is open-ended,” Carr said.
Hernandez said his main goal is to revolutionize the way news is told by creating an interactive form of practicing journalism. Hernandez also wants to abandon the practice of “shovelware,” where a new medium does not necessarily entail an improvement in news coverage — such as when television was essentially radio with pictures.
“That’s not really taking advantage of the media,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez hopes to do the opposite with Glass as it can potentially change how news stories are created, consumed and experienced. Though Glass is the “shiny new object that got everyone’s attention,” he would like to see news stories that are optimized for Glass in the future, using high-tech features such as hands-free method of operation as an advantage.
“The point here is to collaborate, to embrace technology, to be proactive,” Hernandez said.
Jessie Wong, a junior majoring in public relations and part of the collaboration team, said the course has the power to influence how Google Glass will be used in the future. She hopes the technology will open up possibilities to integrate the new with the old and have the two work harmoniously.
“We have a really good opportunity here to shape how this technology can be used,” Wong said. “It’s almost like you’re practicing journalism on a different medium, different style, but still doing the same core tasks.”
The class will be centered on real-life application of the skill sets the students have already learned. The key is the culture of collaboration, in which different types of students come together and work as equals, Hernandez said.
“It’s not I work for you, you work for me,” he said. “We’re exploring and collaborating and building this together.”
Hernandez stressed that the role students play in this class will be significantly different from the traditional standard, and the usual method of professors determining the course content will not be applied.
“I’m not teaching this class, I’m facilitating and leading the class,” Hernandez said.
Any student is welcome to take the class, as Hernandez believes each student will offer different expertise to the project. He described the class as an “open sandbox,” where students are free to explore and determine the direction the class takes.
Though the class emphasizes students becoming familiar with Glass, the ultimate goal is to encourage teamwork and to instill the importance of technology experience.
“Even if Google Glass is a failure, think of all the successes we get out of it,” Hernandez said, “We are going to determine if this is a success or a failure. It’s on us.”