ALTF Fellowship Activities – 2015 / 2016

(updated 14 March, 2016)

ALTF initial activities 

  • Ethics application submitted on 28 July – accepted on 11 September.
  • Spoke at the ALTF induction course on 5 August in Sydney.
  • Presentation at the annual Teaching Fellows meeting on 26 Sept in Melbourne.
  • Attended the ESOLT conference in Melbourne on 27

One-day workshop (Feb 1) on journalism capstone units at UWA with:

  • Curtin
  • Notre Dame
  • Murdoch
  • ECU


  • One-minute pitch to ECU Leadership – the VC and all deputy VCs.
  • Delivered a paper on my Fellowship program at ECU’s teaching conference, held ECU’s Joondalup campus in Perth, 4 November, 2015.
  • Panel presentation on Journalism capstone units at the National Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, 1 December, 2015.

Poster presentations

Delivered a five-minute poster presentation at a WAND conference at the University of Western Australia, Perth, on 6 November.


Organised and ran a 45 minute panel on journalism capstone units at the annual Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia conference at Bathurst on 1 December 2015. Roughly 50 people attended.


Conducted one-hour face-to-face interviews with the head of journalism programs at the 10 universities: There are 30 universities in Australia that teach journalism at either undergraduate or postgraduate level or both. These universities were chosen as all of them promote journalism capstone units as part of their degree or major. The interviews sought answers to 5 questions.

  • What is your understanding of a capstone unit?
  • What type of journalism capstone units do you use?
  • How are they structured and administered?
  • What have been the positive outcomes?
  • What were some of the failings ?
  1. Swinburne – 21 September
  2. Monash – 22 September
  3. Melbourne – 23 September
  4. RMIT – 24 September
  5. Canberra – 13 October
  6. UTS – 10 November
  7. Sydney – 12 November
  8. Wollongong. – 11 November
  9. UniSA – 2 December
  10. Newcastle – 2 December
  11. Charles Sturt – 1 December

Research papers on journalism capstone units accepted for:

  • The HERSDA conference in Perth, Western Australia, July 2016.
  • The International Journalism Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, July 2016.
  • The National Journalism Education and research Association of Australia conference, in Auckland, New Zealand in July 2016.
  • The IAMCR in Leicester, UK, July 2016.
  • The national JERAA conference in Brisbane, December 2016.


  • Peer-reviewed journal article submitted to Journalism and mass communication educator (JMCE)
  • Peer reviewed abstract/paper accepted for the World Congress of Journalism education conference.


 Principles, standards and best practice delivered by end of December 2016.


Programme of Activities 

(Published on: 30 August, 2015)

Phase 1. (September – December 2015) Wide consultation with educators and editors

The intention of the first phase of the project will be to work with the Project Working Group and stakeholders to develop an agreed set of graduate attributes that industry expects from journalism graduates. This phase of the project will develop an agreed set of graduate capabilities that the capstone unit will seek to demonstrate and assess. This component of the program will draw on the Fellowship work of Professor Beverley Oliver who has developed resources and activities associated with the following graduate capabilities.

  • Written and oral communication
  • Critical and analytical (and sometimes creative and reflective) thinking
  • Problem-solving (including generating ideas and innovative solutions)
  • Information literacy, often associated with technology
  • Learning and working independently
  • Learning and working collaboratively
  • Ethical and inclusive engagement with communities, cultures and nations.

(Oliver, 2011, Good Practice Report: Assuring Graduate Outcomes).


  • Conduct face-to-face discussions with journalism academics at 10 universities to gather preliminary material and begin to develop guidelines and strategies.
  • Visit news editors in Perth and Sydney to identify critical elements of a capstone unit.
  • Produce and circulate a discussion paper describing criteria, strategies, standards and assessments for a capstone unit for consideration by relevant stakeholders, as a platform for debate and discussion. Use feedback to inform and guide revisions.
  • Host panel discussion and conference paper at the National Journalism Education conference (JERAA) 2-5 December 2015 to discuss and review proposed outcomes.
  • Engage such media as Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation, Crikey, The West Australian, ABC 720, ECU Media to further disseminate findings and outcomes among relevant stakeholders.

Phase 2. (January – June 2016) Build capstone and develop forms

The project members will develop a range of different capstone units to suit the individual programs. It is intended to have people with similar programs to work together to develop their units in ways that will enable them to develop complementary programs that are suited to benchmarking activities. Investigation of the attributes of the existing capstone units will be used to develop principles to guide the design of the various units.

  1. Invite universities (including ECU) to trial the development of a new capstone unit for their journalism course. The project will seek participation from at least 6 institutions and will work with them in pairs. By working in pairs, the teams will collaborate to develop a mutually agreeable unit, which can then be peer-reviewed in its implementation and benchmarked. The teams will develop a journalism capstone unit which they will embed in their journalism programmes from 2017 onwards.
  2. Seek further consultation with the WPG and further feedback from the Evaluation Team.
  3. Prepare preliminary documents describing the critical elements of an effective capstone unit and a conceptual model to be presented to journalism educators at a regional seminar for journalism educators at UTS in Sydney in June.
  4. Submit six month interim report.
  5. Engage such media as The Conversation, and upload updates on various websites such as the MEAA, JERAA and ECU.


  • Formulate preliminary model of the journalism capstone unit.
  • Elicit feedback from regional seminar on the journalism capstone at UTS in Sydney.
  • Elicit feedback from media interviews: The Australian (Higher Education section).

Phase 3. (July – December 2016) Dissemination and promotion

  1. Chair a Q and A panel session and present a peer-reviewed paper on the Fellowship’s aims, progress and outcomes at the Fourth World Journalism Education Congress, AUT, Auckland, New Zealand from 12-16 July 2016). The theme of the congress is “Identity and Integrity of Journalism Education”. This international conference will bring together journalism educators from more than 40 countries. The Fellowship will add both timely and practical input to the Conference theme and debates.
  2. Peer-reviewed article published in the Australian Journalism Review (AJR) on the rationale, process, findings and implications of the Fellowship for the 2016 December edition of the AJR.
  3. Peer-reviewed article published in the 2016 November edition of Pacific Journalism Review (PJR) on the outcomes of the Fellowship and the implications for graduate capabilities and employment. These are the two top journalism education journals in Australia and New Zealand.
  4. Host panel to share Fellowship outcomes on what has been agreed to in terms of framework, guidelines and strategies for the embedding of a journalism capstone unit at the JERAA conference, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane (December 2016).
  5. Develop Fellowship website at ECU linked to the OLT Fellowship website.
  6. Final report written and sent to OLT.
  7. Engage such media as The Conversation, The Australian (The Higher Education section), The West Australian and ABC in coverage of Fellowship outcomes.


  • Dissemination of Fellowship findings in two peer-reviewed journalism education academic journal articles.
  • Host panel discussion and present conference paper at the national JERAA conference.
  • Final report on the Fellowship.
  • Upload Fellowship findings to Fellowship, ECU and the JERAA website.
  • Conduct media interviews with The Conversation and ABC

The universities will be encouraged to adopt the outcomes through the consent collaborative process of the Fellowship as evidenced by individual and groups meetings and review panels at universities, together with panel discussions and Q&A sessions at both national and international Journalism education conferences in 2015 and 2016. Also, the Fellowship project is appealing because it does not adopt a “one size fits all approach’ but builds on a previous OLT project – Discipline Network: Journalism, Media and Communication that examined learning and teaching outcomes. This Fellowship adds a new and practical dimension – developing capstone units for journalism programs that effectively measure and assure graduate capabilities.


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