Category Archives: CTEC Overview

Best of the Web 2016 Competition

I want to thank everyone in the division for another great Best of the Web competition this year. We received 32 entries and will be giving out 10 awards at this year’s conference in Minneapolis. The quality of design and technological capability were phenomenal in both the web and app categories. We will be presenting the awards and showing the winning entries on Thursday, August 4 and I hope to see a good turn out in support from our division!

What is Best of the Web?

The Best of the Web competition is an annual web and app design contest offered in collaboration between the Communication Technology and Visual Communication Divisions of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC). Web or app entries submitted to this competition must advance education or research in journalism and/or mass communication. The contest is open to faculty and students who work for or attend an institution that is accredited by AEJMC, or are current members of AEJMC.

The competition consists of four categories: Individual/Team/Single class designation for web and app, and Multiple class/Institution designation for web and app. Web and app design professionals and academics with a background in web and app design technology are responsible for judging the competition. Judging primarily focuses on the design, presentation and technological components of the project.

And the Awards Go To…

Category 1: Individual/Team/Single Class website

  1. Munno, Syracuse University
  2. Triche, Elon University
  3. http://thepersonalbrandingtoolkit.comHeather Fullenkamp, Ball State University

Category 2: Individual/Team/Single Class app

  1. The Slice SU, Seth Gitner, Syracuse University
  2. The Slice SU_Recipe Box, Seth Gitner, Syracuse University
  3. Ball State University Athletics, Megan McNames, Ball State University

Category 3: Multiple Class/Institution website

  1. Steve Davis, Syracuse University
  2. Renée Stevens, Syracuse University
  3. Robert Byrd, University of Memphis

Category 4: Multiple Class/Institution app

  1. Joel Beeson, West Virginia University and Morgan State University

Examples of This Year’s Winners

The My Housing Matters project by Steve Davis at Syracuse University is an excellent example of web design that not only advances education and research in mass communication, but also engages students in social issues that matter in the community. This project is a collaboration between CNY Fair Housing and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications that shares honest and personal accounts of residents and focuses on the people who work at local agencies to “personalize the numbers, charts, maps and indexes. The project is about residents, decision-makers and policy-makers, those who use the system and who make it run, often up against long odds — and sometimes, in the face of scorn.”

The Fractured Tour project by Joel Beeson at West Virginia University and Morgan State University is an engaging “experiment in a journalistic, immersive, self-guided documentary ‘tour’ of the economic, racial and ideological divides in Selma, Alabama.” The app uses virtual reality to immerse the viewer in a storied environment to engage with issues on race and social justice from a first-person perspective. It pushes journalism education in a new direction by asking students to rethink storytelling conventions and how to approach their work environments.

This year’s competition received many great quality submissions. Please be sure to attend our panel on the first day of the conference to see all of the amazing award winners.

See you in Minneapolis!

~Cindy S. Vincent, Best of the Web Chair


Friend or Foe? Evaluating your relationship with laptops in the classroom

For years, educators have debated whether they should ban students’ laptops from their classrooms. Proponents argue students use this technology in class to foster classroom discussion and strengthen the overall educational experience. Critics suggest laptops are nothing more than machines of distraction that disconnect students from the class and limit their success.

These critics have a little extra ammo in the form of a recent study at West Point. Economists at the school banned laptop use in randomly selected sections of a popular economics course. One third of the sections could use laptops or other technology to take notes, one third could only use it to look at class materials, and one-third couldn’t use them at all.

The investigators found that students who did use laptops scored worse on the final. Smarter students in this group especially struggled compared to their counterparts in the no-laptop groups. The researchers concluded that while they expected the smarter students to use their laptops effectively, they instead because the biggest victims of the technology.

However, for those of us teaching media-focused courses, taking laptops completely out of the classroom may not be the answer. More and more of our lessons plans involve topics related to social media, multimedia, and other technologies. Students with laptops can engage in material and be more active participants in class. So maybe it’s not a matter of eliminating the distraction, but instead turning the distraction into a classroom enhancement.

While there are countless ways you can do this, I would like to offer just a few suggestions to get you started, largely based on a report by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Michigan.

  1. Establish a clear, specific laptop policy.

Educators vary in the type of policy they establish – everything from a complete ban to no limitations at all. More and more are migrating to something more in the middle – such as allowing laptops but requiring students to turn off their wireless connection during class. Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to establish and enforce your policy from the first day of class.

  1. Establish a “laptop-free zone.”

If you do decide to allow the use of laptops within your class, you could consider establishing a portion of the class as a “laptop-free zone” for students who don’t like being distracted by classmates on their laptops.

  1. Set aside time for laptop use.

If you’re like me, you hesitate to completely ban the use of laptops in class

because there are student who genuinely like to use them to take notes

during class discussions. In an attempt to compromise, I will specify certain times when the laptops can be used for note taking and other times when they won’t be needed. Also, in many instances, I make electronic versions of my lecture notes available after class on our course website. This eliminates pressure my students may feel to write down everything they see on the PowerPoint. Along those lines, consider outlining on your syllabus calendar days that students will be using technology in class and/or days it won’t be necessary.

  1. If you can’t beat them, join them.

Some educators have found it is more effective to integrate students’ technology use into their lesson plans rather than ban them. They focus on getting the students engaged by employing a wide range of strategies, from using cellphones as clickers to assigning students to conduct on-the-fly research during class. So instead of fighting against the laptops, use them to your advantage.

  1. Be flexible.

No two classes are the same, and no class is the exact same from one semester to another. So you may find that you need to adjust your stance on laptops to best meet the needs of the class and your students. That’s okay. Just identify an approach that works best for the situation at hand, recognizing that it may need to change in future semesters.

Laptop use in the classroom will continue to create issues that are not going away anytime soon. They may even increase as the technology evolves. So it’s important that we as educators try to stay ahead of this trend as we work to provide students with the most valuable learning experience. It may require a change in thinking – abandoning the belief that laptop use is stifling our students’ learning and replacing it with the view that this and other technology use can help reform our teaching moving forward.

Kris Boyle is an Assistant Professor at the School of Communications at Brigham Young University and the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair

Best of the Web/Digital Competition

The “Best of the Web/Best of Digital” competition is an annual Web and app design contest for members of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. The competition is offered as a collaboration between the Communication Technology and Visual Communication divisions of the AEJMC.

Submission deadline is April 12, 2016. For more information please click here.

Also, if you are interested in serving as a judge for the competition please contact Cindy Vincent at cvincent2 (at) salemstate (dot) edu.

A new kind of newsletter

Bart Wojdynski, Division Head

Hello, CTECers, and welcome to Bitstream! This will now be your online home for all things CTEC news.

As many of you who have been loyal members for years know, our division has traditionally published a thrice-yearly newsletter in PDF form that served as our way of passing on to you paper calls, important division information, discussion of timely topics in teaching or professional freedom and responsibility, and other issues related to the ways in which technology and communication interact dynamically to shape our lives.

However, we also know from talking to you over the years that taking the time to open and read the whole PDF newsletter was… well, something that you did somewhat seldom. So, after discussing our plan with AEJMC Council of Divisions in San Francisco last year, we have decided to re-vamp our newsletter into a blog-style page on our website, available at

We are excited about replacing our PDF newsletter with Bitstream for several reasons:

1) We’ll be able to bring you content and updates from our officers in a more timely fashion, without you having to wait until the next newsletter is sent out.

2) We’ll be able to link directly to specific articles through our social media accounts, which not only serve as entry points to our content for many of our members, but also will help our best content be easily re-shared to a broader audience.

3) In addition to articles written by our officers, we’ll also have another way of passing along other interesting paper calls, journal calls, job listings, and news articles

4) We’re also excited about bringing you some new forms and types of content — look for it throughout the spring and summer!

Oh, and if you do prefer your CTEC news bundled and archived by season? Don’t fret – all of our articles will still be compiled into seasonal archive pages for the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Lastly, for all of our members, don’t be shy about contacting us if you’d like to contribute to Bitstream, too! This is certainly not designed to just be a top-down, officers-only outlet. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at, or to our Website and News Chair, Mike Horning at, and we’ll find a way for you to contribute as well!


Bartosz W. Wojdynski is an Assistant Professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, where he heads the Digital Media Attention and Cognition Lab.


The Gene Burd award is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Gene Burd of the University of Texas at Austin and honors the best faculty research presented in the Communication Technology Division for the year.

Showing off Where I am? The Interplay of Personality Traits, Self-disclosure, and Motivation on Facebook Check-ins
Shaojung Sharon Wang, Institute of Communications Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan

Facebook Use and Political Participation
Gary Tang, Lap Fung The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The Extended iSelf: The Impact of iPhone Separation on Cognition, Emotion,
and Physiology During Cognitive Tasks
Russell Clayton and Glenn Leshner, Missouri

Feeling Happy or Being Immersed? Advertising Effects of Game-Product Congruity in Different Game App Environments
Shaojung Sharon Wang; Hsuan-Yi Chou, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan


Don’t forget! Our business meeting will be Saturday, August 8 from 7-8:30 p.m. in Pacific A. We look forward to seeing you there!

CTEC Summer Newsletter Now Available


Photo by: Carol Lin

As you enjoy the sites and sounds of San Francisco at this year’s AEJMC conference, be sure to catch up on division news and announcements in our summer newsletter. We look forward to seeing everyone at the CTEC business meeting, Saturday, August 8.