Celis wins Provost’s award celebrating his use of technology in teaching

By Gretchen Parker

Journalism professor Bill Celis (pictured) has been honored with the Provost’s Prize for Teaching with Technology award for his “outstanding achievements in teaching through the incorporation of technology into courses and curricula.” 

In the fall of 2010, Celis launched an iPad reporting experiment in his advanced journalism Specialized Reporting class (J584). The entire curriculum, including his instruction and students’ news gathering and reporting, was conducted via iPads. In the spring of 2011, Celis expanded the iPad pilot in his Reporting Urban Affairs course (J476).

Celis, along with his USC Annenberg partners Wendy Chapman, director of web technologies, and Matt Frank, new media specialist, presented the results to several national conferences. The team has garnered wide recognition for their project, the first known curriculum of its kind in a journalism program.

“I do look forward in my classes, in how I frame a course and use technology. Not only in packaging the knowledge but also in exploring with students the different ways we deliver journalism. I’m always into experimentation,” said Celis, who will be one the School of Journalism's associate directors along with Laura Castañeda beginning in August. “It’s important to stay ahead of the curve – or at least with the curve.”

The Provost’s award recognizes Celis’ body of work at Annenberg, during which he has aggressively introduced technology in a range of courses. In 2006, he launched Watt Way, a blog by his magazine writing class. In 2008, he began requiring graduate students to produce multimedia research projects alongside their assigned papers. In his Urban Affairs Reporting class in 2009, his students produced reports with mobile technology through partnerships with Annenberg Professor François Bar and his Mobile Voices project.

Celis was presented with the award, which comes with a $5,000 prize, at the 2011 Teaching with Technology Conference this week, which was held by the USC Center for Scholarly Technology.

“Bill Celis received this distinction for his exemplary use of technology to promote student engagement in the learning process. His work is inspirational and provides leadership in this important area of teaching and learning,” said Susan Metros, associate chief information officer for Technology-Enhanced Learning and associate vice provost for Information Technology Services.

The invitation-only conference was headlined with a keynote address from Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts Henry Jenkins, who spoke about the participatory culture of the new media landscape and its effect on models of teaching and learning. Other panels at the conference featured USC Annenberg Professor Jonathan Taplin, Research Director Erin Reilly and Associate Professor Dmitri Williams.

Celis, Frank and Chapman also presented their iPad class reporting project during a session called “Mobile Learning and Reporting in the Digital Age.”

See examples of students’ iPad reporting work here: http://wattway.org/blog/