by Sydney Rhodes
This spring semester at UT, the COM 236 UTTV Practicum course was cut from from the spring semester schedule due to a lack of students registering for the course. Communications professor Dr. Christopher Boulton, who usually teaches the course, said he expects to bring back the class in the fall of 2019.
This course allows students to operate their own on-campus television channel by writing, producing and editing packages in a studio. Students in UTTV cover events and news that occur around the campus.
Not only is UTTV a class that students can take for credit, but it’s also a club where students can further their opportunity in broadcasting and news reporting. Since the general membership of the club is pooled from the course, the cut of the practicum has created a lack of willing participants within the club as well.
Mauricio Rich, senior journalism major and president of UTTV, said, “The UTTV club is still alive and running, but seeing that the class isn’t offered this semester, I’m now lacking the students willing to participate.”
The course was offered during spring registration last semester, but only had four students register, which led UT to cancel the practicum a month later.
“The problem with only having the UTTV club and not the class available is that we won’t have deadlines like a class would,” said Rich. “In the practicum we used to help develop students as they would create news packages and now we don’t have that.”
Ben Norton, UTTV director of production and senior advertising and public relations major, will continue with the club by working with Rich to film their own news stories. They also intend to advertise the club more through social media, campus events, and the communications and journalism department, in order to increase the number of students participating in the club.
“I wish the school would have done more to keep UTTV alive, because now that the class is gone, we have had a really low turnout rate and we rely on the class as a club,” said Norton. “Not having UTTV as a course has set us back and now we’ll have to advertise more for it when it returns in the fall.”
Although the course was not offered this spring, Boulton said he fully intends to continue with the course in the fall of 2019. Currently, he is teaching Digital Citizenship while working with Rich and Norton to find ways to increase the popularity of the UTTV practicum.
Rich, Norton, and Boulton are also looking for members to take over the club since both Rich and Norton will be graduating this May.
“I’m very passionate about UTTV and I want to keep the club and class going, so we’re currently looking for ways to improve our participation and outcome,” said Rich.
Sydney Rhodes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org