Conclusion to the iPadJournos semester

The iPadJournos called it a semester with the conclusion of the social media portfolio evaluations on Thursday afternoon. Before a panel of six judges, the students in our Social Media Journalism class presented their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts as well as one or two extra platforms such as Pinterest, Storify and Google+.

By Zachary Holden and Ireti Adesanya

View a photo galary on the portfolio presentations by clicking on the photo.

The room was split in two, seven iPadJournos per side so the professionals could effectively evaluate in a timely manner. One side had Scott Wise (Director of Interactive Media at CBS 6), Kendall Morris (Partner at Create Digital) and Jeff Nugent (Associate Director of VCU’s Center for Teaching Excellence), while the other side had Christina Dick (Community Manager at the Martin Agency), Jeff South (Associate Professor at VCU’s School of Mass Communications) and Phil Riggan (New Media Specialist at

It began with a day full of anticipation for the iPadJournos on what to expect from this evaluation. Once it began, however, a collective sigh of relief filled the room with knowing it wouldn’t be as challenging as some thought. After about an hour and a half the evaluations were completed and the professionals had to return to their jobs.

The overall consensus about the Ipadjournos’ portfolios was amazement. “The Ipadjournos are creating the right path for social media and journalism,” said Jeff Nugent. Phil Riggan echoed those comments by saying that he was blown away by what we they had accomplished.

Christina Dick emailed later, saying “I was very impressed with your students.”

Kendall Morris also emailed saying, “Thanks for having me! You have some very talented students and it was great to some work.”

The professionals seemed to really enjoy interacting with the iPadJournos and everyone, students and professionals, left learning a lot from each other. It was a great way to end the semester for a class that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. There’s no better way than to have actual professionals critique the portfolios everyone has worked on for so long and see what exactly needs to be improved.

A small break was taken to enjoy pizza. Then, the iPadJournos circled around the center table to partake in a semester review on the iPads and the learning experience they provided.

Jeff Nugent, who provided the iPads for the class, wanted the students to give the course an evaluation. Many students were in consensus that the use of iPads for reporting purposes was a great idea.

“It had everything we needed,” said Audra Shreve. “The fact that we could shoot and edit on location was great,” she added. Other students enjoyed the inclusion of the iPad in the course curriculum. The students were required to find a cool tool and app for the iPad. Many of them felt that this requirement enriched the experience with the iPad. The CTE is now thinking of expanding this type of course to other subjects. It is also evaluating ways to make iPads readily available to more VCU students in a cost-friendly manner.

The final parting gift was the students parting with their beloved iPads. What began as an exciting semester ended in sad moments as the students left the classroom 1.33 pounds lighter. A fantastic semester finally came to an end.

Even though, the class is over the students will always remember these last four months.

“This class has helped me meet people. I had classes with some of you, but now I feel like I could walk to any of you and say hi,” said Amber Shiflett.  Although they had to say goodbye, all 14 students can always claim that they were the first iPadJournos.

Zachary Holden and Ireti Adesanya are journalism students at VCU’s School of Mass Communications.

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