UniPollWatch was the biggest student journalism reporting project ever undertaken in Australia and USC was one of 28 universities involved. The project involved covering the 2016 Federal election and was integrated into the course CMN214 Investigative and Data Journalism. Students profiled candidates across seven Queensland electorates, examined key issues through articles and data journalism graphics, and ensured Queensland was covered on Election Day through stories on Sunshine Coast poll booths, candidate celebrations and results. In USC’s Journalism Program there is a focus on a practical education that provides work-integrated learning opportunities to ensure students know what to expect in the industry – and how to succeed. The UniPollWatch project improved the learning outcomes of the students by giving them confidence to tackle difficult and different subjects, helping them become published journalists, and opening their eyes to career opportunities. More than 20 students provided detailed feedback during the course of the project, outlining their improved learning. After the successful implementation of the UniPollWatch project in a journalism course, this type of learning can be transferred to other USC journalism subjects. This includes covering other types of elections or major events across cultural, entertainment or sporting genres. This can help ensure graduates are more prepared and job-ready for the variety of tasks likely to await them as full-time journalists.
2016 Learning & Teaching Week: 2020 Teaching Visions. 2020 - What's Next?, Sunshine Coast, Australia 31 October - 4 November 2016