From alienation to place-making: Overcoming creation anxiety in journalism students through blended learning




Blended learning, Creation anxiety, Digital immigrants, Journalism education, Liminal space, Newspaper layout


In this article, journalism students’ interaction with layout and page design software (specifically Adobe InDesign) is explored. It is an explorative inquiry into a practical research problem encountered by the author at a university of technology in South Africa. Initial observations revealed that students encountered significant challenges in performing basic layout tasks using layout software. To address this issue, a qualitative research approach was used to investigate how page layout could be taught to facilitate better comprehension of subject material. The theoretical basis of the study rests on two main postulations. Firstly, when students are confronted with new computer technologies, they find themselves in a liminal space characterised by uncertainty. Secondly, it is in this space that their uncertainty to perform basic newspaper layout techniques is manifested as creation anxiety. A questionnaire was distributed to students that informed the action research phase. Blended learning was implemented through two primary interventions namely e-learning content and video tutorials. The impact of these interventions was measured through the assessment of student work and interviews. It was found that blended learning improved students’ understanding and practical application of subject material and facilitated in mediating their creation anxiety.


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