Online learning activities have promised new ways to engage students. This paper describes the design and use of the NewsScripts online learning exercise over a decade. This web-based television news scriptwriting exercise is used with media students at the University of Cape Town to expose them to news scriptwriting practices. Students write a script to match a video, employing a television news writing style. The more important transformational opportunity is deepening students’ own critical media analysis skills. Our focus is how the NewsScripts design evolved and changed over time to remain part of the curriculum. Underlying the curricula of university media programs are tensions around balancing analysis and critique with more practical skills. Even when such opportunities are created in the curriculum, it is challenging to entrench these as alternative forms of assessment to an essay. This paper describes successive cycles of the design of NewsScripts intersected with these curricula and planning concerns.
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