College-level radio curriculum: educator and manager perceptions on curriculum content and convergence curriculum adoption

Kappmeyer, Kersten
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College-level radio educators and radio station managers were asked to rate the perceived importance of specific courses within the radio-related curriculum, and their perceptions of the importance assigned by the opposite group members to each course. Using the co-orientation model, the levels of agreement, congruency, and accuracy between groups were measured. The respondents were also asked to rate their support of convergence curriculum adoption in college-level radio education, and the reasons for their level of support. Educators and managers exhibited a degree of agreement on the courses they preferred as part of a complete radio curriculum. In fact, both groups supported radio skills courses to a high degree, as well as management, and new media courses. Managers, however, placed greater importance on advertising and marketing courses, while educators emphasized law, regulation, ethics, and criticism. An examination of congruency and accuracy of inter-group perceptions revealed a great amount of differences. At a significant level, educators perceived manager views as one-dimensional in emphasizing radio skills courses, while managers felt educators gave too much emphasis to liberal arts courses; neither of these views was accurate. Therefore, the data showed that most differences were in perception, not in reality. Educators and managers both perceived the adoption of a convergence curriculum as a positive response to media trends. Managers tended to be less positive in their support but this tendency was not statistically significant between the two groups. The tone of reasons given for and against this support was significantly different, with educators providing more positive reasons. However, the data showed that educators and managers welcome convergence in radio education. The specific findings give radio educators and radio managers a quantitative basis on which to base curricular discussions. It also fosters an understanding of group positions based on reality, not in mere perceptions. Mass communication education can benefit from additional evidence on which to base convergence curriculum adoption decisions. The methodology presented here also gives curriculum designers a way to effectively assess content in any area of study with industry ties.

Journalism and mass communication