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Comm Professors' Courses on Drones Gaining National Attention

drones lab studentsTwo Department of Communication faculty, Associate Professor Sean Lawson and Professor Avery Holton, were awarded an H2 Professorship to teach an innovative series of courses about drones throughout 2014. The professorship was jointly funded by the U of U College of Humanities and the Honors College and presented students a unique, integrated approach to drones. Now, the technology news site MediaShift is featuring a piece covering the success of the courses, co-authored by Dr. Lawson and Dr. Holton. Since the site is a leader in covering developments in media and technology, including innovations in education, and reaches 300,000 readers daily, the inclusion of the piece is very welcome publicity after a successful year of hands-on teaching and learning. 

Students in two courses during 2014 explored the ethical, legal and social implications of drones while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience building and flying drones. "In short, we offered students an immersive and hands-on approach to drone education and innovation that combined critical thinking with creative application," the professors described. The pair of courses commenced last fall with a "Drones and Society" course that offered students a deep dive into the ethical, legal and social implications of both military and civilian drones.  

Read an excerpt of the new piece below and see the original publication here:

drones students"Drones seem to be up to no good lately. Cast by the news media as pesky toys interfering with everything from wildfire containment efforts to commercial airline flights, the promise of drones is often overlooked. But the growing number of innovative uses for drones are no less important for understanding this technology. Individuals and organizations of various stripes are developing innovative uses for drones, from package delivery to search and rescue and other life-saving uses.

Universities across the United States are also contributing to drone innovation. So far, journalism programs like the University of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism Lab and the Missouri Drone Journalism Program have been on the forefront of university drone innovation. Other programs, like the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College are lending a critical eye to the ethical, legal and social implications of drones while various schools of engineering develop programs focused on technical know-how.

Read the full piece, "Testing Immersive Classroom Innovation With Drones."

Last Updated: 9/20/21