Some educators argue that reliance on technology is hindering students’ writing abilities, but faculty at WVU’s P.I. Reed School of Journalism are embracing technology to teach students grammar fundamentals.

Through an assessment of learning outcomes, School of Journalism faculty have identified the need for stronger writing and grammar skills among students. In response, the School has added a new online grammar component to the introductory media writing class required of all students.

In the media writing course, students learn how to gather information and write for a variety of media disciplines. The online grammar component is reinforced through face-to-face teaching and practical applications in the coursework.

To develop the grammar component to the course, Associate Dean John Temple enlisted the help of Jean Dailey, writing specialist at the WVU College of Law. Dailey, who developed the lessons and serves as the instructor for the grammar portion of the course, is an expert in grammar. She has taught English in public schools from Seattle to Atlanta and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from WVU.

Temple says the online lessons not only provide professors and students a common set of rules for standard English but also give students an edge in the job market.

“Professionals in the field have told us that graduates need to have solid grammar and writing skills when they’re applying for entry-level jobs,” said Temple. “These skills are particularly important for journalists and mass communications professionals.”

Lauren Swearingen, a public relations junior, has already noticed improvements in her work.

“I think the online grammar component of the JRL 215 course is extremely beneficial,” said Swearingen. “By having these weekly grammar lessons, I feel that my writing has improved. I am more conscious about my grammar while I’m writing my papers, especially for the JRL 215 course.”

The online lessons are delivered through WVU’s eCampus system and focus on parts of speech, punctuation, sentence structure, style and word choice. The grammar component counts for 20 percent of the student’s grade.


cv 11/30/09

CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism
304-293-3505 ext. 5403