A Bowie State University professor will develop a massive open online course (MOOC) to teach people how to effectively report the news using mobile devices, as one of five 2014 Visiting Fellows from Harvard University’s prestigious Nieman Foundation for Journalism.

Starting March 24, Allissa Richardson, lecturer of journalism, began two weeks as a scholar-in-residence, building the online class as a free tool to teach veteran journalists, citizens, and journalism students how to effectively report news using only tablets, mp3 players or smartphones.

She started working on the course in fall 2013 and will continue her work at Harvard, as well as giving talks on mobile journalism and exchanges ideas with other Visiting Fellows.

“Mobile journalism is an increasingly vital skill for the public to have. In times of crisis, the ordinary citizen journalist who is armed with a smartphone is often the only eyewitness we have,” said Richardson said. “When more people know about how to gather and interpret news that happens around them, the media ecosystem becomes a richer, more diverse place.”

Professor Richardson has been widely recognized for her innovations in mobile journalism. She was named a 2013 Apple Distinguished Educator for her creative teaching style, enabling Bowie State to receive Apple equipment and software for the mobile journalism lab she established in the Department of Communications.

She was also named the 2012 National Association of Black Journalism Educator of the Year.

The Nieman Foundation of Journalism works with the Fellows on a project designed to enhance journalism in unique ways. The visiting fellowships are specifically designed for individuals interested in working on special research projects designed to advance journalism. The foundation educates leaders in journalism and raises the standards of the profession by convening scholars and experts in all fields.