Sonja Heydeman wins 2020 JERAA Outstanding Teaching Award



Sonja Heydeman of RMIT University has won the 2020 JERAA Award for Outstanding Teaching in a Journalism Program for The News Corp RMIT Data Journalism Interdisciplinary Project.

This project takes an innovative approach to develop data-journalism skills, pairing interdisciplinary student teams via internships with an industry partner, News Corp.

Sonja’s project was commended by the judges “as was a new and innovative WIL project that used an interdisciplinary pathway to foster job-ready data journalism skills”.

Part of the News Corp RMIT Data Journalism Interdisciplinary Project.

This year’s teaching award judges were Professor Trevor Cullen of Edith Cowan University, Associate Professor Kristy Hess of Deakin University, and Assistant Professor Caroline Graham of Bond University.

The judges noted that this “student-centred project had clearly defined objectives, and connected students with another discipline, to work collaboratively with industry to learn and acquire key data skills and experiences.

“The project provides an excellent case study and exemplar for other journalism educators, especially in terms of cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning and experiential learning. It also created an authentic experience to build job-ready skills.”

Sonja said she intends to use the $2000 prize money for travel, accommodation and expenses for students to stay in regional areas and develop stories based on their data exploration. She has offered to share information on the project with other journalism educators.

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