Pilot project: Open online training for bloggers in North Africa | Media Development | DW | 12.11.2012
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Media Development

Pilot project: Open online training for bloggers in North Africa

DW Akademie has launched its first open-access online training course. More than 300 citizen journalists and bloggers from North Africa are testing the new learning format.

Over the next six weeks, DW Akademie is testing an innovative new training format. The Open Media Summit (OMS) is an interactive online course combining e-learning and social media. Based on the MOOC concept (massive open online course) - a development currently gaining ground in higher education circles - the OMS is an open-access, interactive, online platform where educational resources are distributed through live streaming, discussion forums and other online resources. The course is free and open to everyone. The only prerequisites are English and Arabic language skills - and a computer or laptop with an Internet connection.

The OMS website offers a virtual campus. Here participants can meet in online classrooms, access training resources and take part in live stream sessions. The website shows how many people are online and the countries they're from. This is part of the concept behind open exchange and interactive learning.

More than 40 people took part in the first live session. In a video conference, DW Akademie's Holger Hank and DW television host Dima Tarhini introduced the course concept and fielded questions posed via chat as well as ones that had been posted in a dedicated Facebook group. "Direct interaction is important to us," said Hank. "This is about shared learning."

DW Akademie's first Open Media Summit is focused on citizen journalism and digital media activism in North Africa and the Arab region. "This is particularly relevant because of events related to the Arab Spring," says Hank. "The format allows us to include blog authors and online activists." DW Akademie has for years been conducting training workshops for journalists in the region. The course's focus and format tie in well with recent political developments there and how they relate to digital media.

Upcoming topics on the course agenda include dealing responsibly with online sources, data-driven journalism and Internet censorship. A total of six live video sessions will feature guest experts from North Africa. The course is open to all those interested, and newcomers are welcome.

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