Free! Online course on the fundamentals of news design

Want a starter course on what makes for great news design? SND has partnered with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas to offer a free five-week online course “Introduction to News Design” from June 27 to July 31.

Registration is open. Click here to sign up for this free online course.

“We’re surrounded by news and information. Good design gives us cues to what is important, credible and worth our time. It’s a fascinating field of study and a meaningful career path,” said Sara Quinn, president of the Society for News Design and course instructor. “This course was created to help journalists understand how good design helps us to make sense of world around us.”

Quinn will be joined by former SND president David Kordalski, creative director for Crain’s Cleveland Business, to teach this massive open online course (MOOC) through the Knight Center’s distance learning platform,

In addition to her role at the Society for News Design and as a professor, Quinn previously taught and led research at the Poynter Institute and previously spent 20 years in newspaper newsrooms. Likewise, Kordalski has worked in visual design in newsrooms in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana over a three-decade career in journalism.

The instructors will use video-lectures, reading materials, discussion forums and quizzes to teach participants about:

  • News design across platforms: print, digital and mobile
  • Basics of typography, color and grid for publication design
  • The important marriage of words and images
  • How photographs and illustrations are perceived by audiences
  • Best practices for using varied story forms to engage readers
  • Developing a strategy for type, color and grid that supports a cohesive brand
  • How sketching and rapid prototyping can help you envision news across platforms

“We are delighted to partner with the prestigious Society for News Design to bring this innovative course to a global audience,” said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. “Knowledge about news design is becoming more and more important these days as we move from traditional media to a multiplicity of screens and ways to present the news.”

Like previous MOOCs from the Knight Center, “Introduction to News Design” is divided into five weekly modules and will be fully asynchronous, meaning there are no live classes. Although each student can take the course at the times and days they like, each module will have a weekly deadline for submission of assignments and participation in discussion forums.

Anyone interested in principles of graphic design and visual storytelling is invited to enroll in the course.

The course is free, but participants who want to receive a certificate of completion must comply with course requirements and pay an online administrative fee of $30 using an international credit card. The certificate will be issued only to students who have actively participated in the course and completed the proposed tests and exercises. The certificates can be downloaded from the internet in PDF format after the Knight Center verifies that course requirements were met. No formal course credit of any kind is associated with this certificate.

This is the 21st MOOC offered by the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The Center was created in 2002 by Professor Rosental Calmon Alves, holder of the Knight Chair in Journalism and the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the School of Journalism of the University of Texas at Austin. The Center launched its pioneering and unique MOOC program for journalism courses in 2012 and has since reached about 70,000 people from 160 countries.

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