De Anza College’s Journalism 21B Features class is a class that has the potential of transforming students into skilled feature writers, yet is lacking in organization.
Farideh Dada, who is also an instructor at the San Jose City College journalism department and was a former journalist herself, taught the course.
The requirements to pass the class are to write an article a week that focuses on different styles of feature writing, a quiz each week, posting an article on the weekly blog, and class attendance and participation.
All of the articles that were in the course gave students the chance to practice writing different types of feature pieces, such as profiles, columns, and reviews. This part of the course was advantageous, because it forced students to experience with these different forms of writing and equip them to know how to properly write future feature articles.
The downside to the class was how the in-class work was organized and the syllabus, which laid down the schedule of the quarter.
The class schedule in the syllabus was rather vague because it never said what assignments and quizzes were due on a particular day. Students prefer to know what will be covered in class each day and what is due on each day so they can come prepared.
As for the in-class work, it felt like too many activities were jammed into one day and rushed, not allowing the student to fully soak up and process the main point of the activity.
If more time were spent on an activity, the student would become more familiar and comfortable with the lesson that each activity taught, instead of feeling rushed and not wanting to participate.
One example of a rushed class activity is the learning and memorizing of AP words.
Each student in the class was given a letter that they were supposed to pick two words from each class, memorize it, write it on the board and then explain the rules to the rest of the class.
The class would then write down the words on the board and try to remember the rules of the word.
While the point of this exercise is understandable, because knowledge of AP style is essential for journalism, the picking of random words from random letters felt extremely unorganized.
The exercise would have felt more structured if the instructor had given the students a list of the letters that would be covered during the quarter, and each student was assigned the word they were supposed to remember and present at the beginning of the course. Therefore the students would know what letters were required to be covered ahead of time and would feel the need to prepare instead of choosing random words from random letters.
Jour.21 B contains class assignments that can strengthen a student’s skills in features writing. With the addition of some organization to the in-class work and the syllabus, this class would receive an A.