Annenberg X offers set of experimental learning courses for fall 2014

Photo of Jonathan Aronson.

USC Annenberg Professors Jonathan Aronson, K.C. Cole and Marc Cooper will be part of a new series of two-unit courses this fall designed to engage students seeking careers in media, journalism, communications and entertainment with the world around them. Dubbed Annenberg X, the courses offer students an experimental, interdisciplinary learning experience which will introduce them to new ways of thinking, collaborating and partaking in the world both on and off campus. Classes will feature field trips, guest speakers and hands-on activities and experiments. Seven Annenberg X classes are offered for the fall semester; three 220 level classes, and four 420 level classes. The 220 level classes are only open to undergraduates, while 420 level classes are also open to graduate students.

Each class will run for approximately six weeks, beginning either at the start of the semester or halfway through. Annenberg X is not a minor or degree program, so students can take multiple Annenberg X courses each semester if they should choose, and students

Photo of K.C. Cole.

who are currently registered for 14-16 units for fall are able and encouraged to add a two-unit Annenberg X course. Professor Cole will be teaching ASCJ 420: Environmental Communications Experience, Catalina with Roberta Marinelli. This course will allow students to work alongside marine scientists and students at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Catalina Island for two days in September, and promote discussions about engaging the public in conversations around sustainability. Maker Experience: The Exploratorium is another of Cole's ASCJ 420 courses, and will take students to the innovative San Francisco center for art, science and technology in October. Maker Experience: I-Fixit is the third ASCJ 420 class which will be taught by Cole and Courtney Miller. Its aim is to encourage students to use critical thinking and communication skills to repair things and share those solutions online, and will include a field trip to San Louis Obispo in November.

"With these classes, the big thing is we actually don't know what might happen," Cole said. "They really are experimental."  

Professor Aronson will be teaching ASCJ 220: Going Viral, and ASCJ 420: Leadership in Startup Media Ventures with entrepreneur Dinesh Moorjani, founder of numerous startups, including Tinder. Aronson's ACSJ 220: Getting the Skills You Need Tomorrow, Today will focus on helping students navigate the modern world of job hunting and career-building, and is open to all USC students.

"We're trying to really support cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary [learning]," Aronson said of the new ASCJ classes. "These are the first classes in Annenberg designed with both the communications side and the journalism side of the houses combined. But in addition, there are other groups that we imagine will find that will find this very exciting."

Another Annenberg X course offered to all University students is Marc Cooper’s ACSJ 220: Pitching Your Ideas and Stories, which aims to help journalists pitch stories to editors, and entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to investors. Registration for all seven Annenberg X classes is currently still open, and more Annenberg X classes are planned for Spring 2015.