Four Mizzou courses outside the journalism school to hone your digital skills

By Andrew Gibson
Creative Commons photo from Flickr user nigelpepper
No matter what emphasis area you choose in the Missouri School of Journalism, you're going to walk away with some coveted digital skills.

Reporting classes teach you how to produce text, photos and videos for an online audience. In Multimedia Planning and Design (Journalism 4502), taught by Rob Weir, you learn how to build snazzy news websites using HTML5 and CSS3. And if you enroll in David Herzog's Computer-Assisted Reporting (Journalism 4430), you'll have no trouble using MySQL to find stories in data.

That said, as you register for summer and fall courses, consider looking away from the northeast corner of Francis Quadrangle if you want to bolster your digital skill set. The computer science and information technology departments, among others, offer a slew of courses worth working into your four-year plan.

Introduction to Web Development (Information Science & Learning Technologies 4360)

This is the perfect option if you have no experience in Web development. It moves through the fundamentals of HTML and CSS at a reasonable pace and (at least when I took it) requires you to hand code a website for your final project. The course is entirely online, but you still have to finish it in one semester.

Intermediate Web Development (Information Science & Learning Technologies 4370)

This is the sequel to the previous course. You'll take your coding skills a step further and learn JavaScript, the language that powers the majority of interactive effects on the Web. It can be frustrating at first, but once you grasp the fundamentals, you'll have a leg up on much of the journalism world. This course is 100 percent online.

Introduction to the Internet, WWW and Multimedia Systems (Computer Science 2830)

If you take this course, you don't need the previous two. It covers HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery within the first seven weeks. Later on, you'll learn PHP, Ajax and SQL. The workload isn't bad, but the class does move quickly. If you pay attention and start your homework assignments early, you'll walk away with a web skill set journalism employers will go gaga for. (For the record, CS 2050 is listed as a prerequisite for this course. But I'm enrolled in CS 2830 this semester, and my instructor said he didn't kick anyone out who hadn't taken CS 2050.)

Database Applications and Information Systems (Computer Science 3380)

OK, I'm sort of playing a trick with this one. To take CS 3380, you first have to take CS 2050. And to take CS 2050, you first have to take CS 1050.

But it's worth it. Why? One, because those prerequisites will teach you the valuable fundamentals of programming. Two, because in CS 2830, you'll learn SQL. This is an essential skill for finding stories in data. I haven't taken CS 3380, but I wish I'd had room.

Anything missing from the list? Tell me in the comments.

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