Birzeit professor discusses creative media teaching and learning in online seminar series

Saleh Masharqeh, the research and studies coordinator at the Media Development Center and a lecturer in media at Birzeit University, has recently discussed his experience in developing innovative modules for media programs in Palestinian universities as part of an online series of seminars on media development organized by MEDAS 21 and the IAMCR Media Sector Development Working Group. 

The seminars, organized from July 2 through July 23, focused on media development in universities, highlighting the experiences of international faculty members and media experts in developing innovative teaching techniques, designing creative curricula, and providing networking opportunities. 

Masharqeh joined Linje Manyozo, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Martin Scott, from the University of East Anglia; Mary Mayers, a freelance communications and media consultant; and Usha Raman, from the University of Hyderabad in a discussion on creative media teaching and training. 

In his talk, Masharqeh highlighted his experience as part of the Media Development Center’s academic development initiative, which includes 18 universities and four colleges, all of which offer degrees in media and journalism. The initiative aims to establish new courses and modules that keep students abreast of the latest advances, developments, and changes in the media landscape with new teaching and learning materials, applied research, and instructor training. 

Discussing new teaching and learning methodologies, Masharqeh stressed the need for a new approach to media education, whereby the content that university students engage with is developed by media professors, experts, and journalists in the field. Teaching and learning, he added, have to be participatory, with students taking an active part in guiding the learning process. Assessment practices, too, have to match the realities of journalism, with practical and field exams replacing written tests. 

Masharqeh also gave a brief overview of the digital media diploma program offered by the Media Development Center. The program, he noted, is designed to equip students with the digital media skills required in modern news media agencies, offering courses that emphasize the production of text, audio, and video as a single multimedia package − rather than teaching them as discrete skills that rarely intersect in the field. 

The program, Masharqeh added, offers ten courses − spread across 334 training hours − focusing on data journalism, digital media broadcasting, and 360-, VR-, and AR-based media production. 

At the end of the seminar, the host, Mira Keßler, asked the panelists to discuss one of their creative learning and teaching experiences. Masharqeh, discussing Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem, Gaza, and elsewhere, said that students were able to take advantage of the skills that they’ve gained during their studies — and develop new ones — as they were covering events on the ground. The students, he noted, were assessed based on their ability to creatively report incidents using a multitude of new media technologies.