Newhouse class delivers global education

By Sarah H. Griffin

May 29, 2020

Visual design students support South African newspaper’s COVID-19 reporting while learning to be nimble in the face of change.

When the spring semester started, Professor Ken Harper’s User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI) Design class in the Newhouse School was studying the impact of climate change in South Africa. Their original plan: to create an interactive website based on investigations and news features produced by the Mail & Guardian (M&G), a newspaper based in Johannesburg.

It soon became clear that the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic would require the full-time attention of the M&G staff, and the climate change project was sidelined. Seeing an opportunity for the students to do something of immediate value while gaining practical experience, Harper suggested that anyone interested could shift focus and devote the remainder of the semester to designing web and social media pieces to support M&G’s COVID-19 reporting. The entire class took him up on the offer.

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