College of Communication and Information Offers New Study Abroad Course in Prague
The Schools of Communication Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication will offer a new study abroad opportunity in Prague, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, during Summer Session III.
Modern Media and Democracy is a five-week seminar designed for undergraduate students who are interested in gaining an overview of the Czech culture, taking a more focused look at the media and democracy and improving their research and storytelling skills. The course, worth 3 credit hours, is co-sponsored by the Prague Freedom Foundation.
Applications will be accepted from any CCI undergraduate student. Admissions will be competitive, interviews will be required, and only 10 students will be admitted. Course and application information will soon be available online.
The new course will run from July 15 through Aug. 17. Students will spend the first three weeks in Franklin Hall reading, researching and preparing for the trip by gaining an understanding of Prague and the culture, government and media of the Czech Republic. In the third week, students will select a research topic to explore while in Prague. The final two weeks of the course, from Aug. 3 through Aug. 18, will be in Prague, where students will study at Anglo-American University (AAU) located near Old Town Prague.
While in Prague, students will regularly report on topics related to media and democracy, posting their stories and images on a course blog and website.
The course is a collaboration between JMC Associate Professor Candace Perkins Bowen and COMM Assistant Professor Catherine Goodall, Ph.D. They hope to encourage CCI students to gain global perspectives and challenge them to understand the differences in media structure, news reporting and storytelling in Prague, the home base of numerous national and international media outlets.
"We are looking for students capable of adapting to new situations and solving problems," Perkins Bowen said. "How do students cope if sources aren't easily accessible or forthcoming? How do they work with sources for whom English is not a primary language? We want to attract students who feel comfortable researching, interviewing and writing and who have some facility with multimedia storytelling."
Perkins Bowen's experience as a journalism instructor in Prague in 1998 influenced her desire to expose CCI students to the culture and the country. "I love Prague. Being there was so valuable to me that I want other students to have the same experience." "This is a unique opportunity for students to explore the role of modern media in democracy in both the United States and the Czech Republic," Goodall said. "Students will be challenged to investigate an area of particular interest to them. For example, they may wish to explore differences in political campaigning, health promotion and media structure and law in both countries. We are excited to work individually with students to help them gain the most from this experience."
Perkins Bowen directs both the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University and the statewide Ohio Scholastic Media Association. She also oversees the online master's degree program for Journalism Educators. A former high school journalism teacher with a Bachelor of Science in newspaper journalism and a Master of Arts in journalism education, Perkins Bowen was named the Journalism Education Association's 2013 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award winner. She is a past president and remains on the board of the Journalism Education Association. In addition, she is on the Steering Committee of the Student Press Law Center Advisory Council and is past head of the Scholastic Journalism Division of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Goodall conducts health communication and mass communication research. She is interested in how various types of mediated messages (e.g., news, advertisements, entertainment media) depict health issues and how those messages influence people. Much of her work has focused on substance use message (alcohol, tobacco). Her work emphasizes message processing and seeks to identify various mechanisms through which messages influence people. She has a particular interest in message processing that is automatic, and to some extent unconscious to message recipients. Her teaching interests include health communication, media effects, persuasion and public communication campaigns. She holds a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.
As part of the Prague study abroad agreement, 10 students from AAU will come to Kent State in January 2014. JMC Adjunct Professor John Bowen will lead this exchange.