Winning students from 'Introduction to Programming' MOOC attend exclusive workshop at Google São Paulo

Fifteen journalists who participated in the online course "Introduction to Programming" were at Google offices in São Paulo on Feb. 19 for an exclusive Python workshop. They were able to deepen what they learned in the Knight Center course with instructors Pedro Burgos and Álvaro Justen.

Participants had their final projects selected in a contest as part of the Knight Center course that counted on support from Google News Lab. The course aimed to encourage the application of programming knowledge for journalistic work. Most participants had never programmed before, but they all developed programs to automate useful tasks in their work routines.

"The group present at the workshop really stood out, they all brought high quality projects. From what they had already learned from the MOOC, we were able to move forward with a more specific content that will help their daily lives," Burgos said.

After a tour of Google's facilities, the contest winners presented the lines of code that brought them there and shared the difficulties they encountered. Cecília Lima, one of those selected, developed "Mina no Lance," a sports journalism tool to report on women's volleyball game schedules. "Making the project was an effort, learning to plan was something very new for me. But coming here gave me more motivation to continue seeking knowledge in this area," the journalist said.

The meeting also encouraged students to exchange experiences and to strengthen a community of journalists interested in programming. "The cool part of the day was being able to meet the group and exchange experiences with people who have the same challenges as me," said journalist Juliana Servidoni. "I just learned from a colleague something about her project that I can use in mine. Another one showed me that I can do data cleaning in a simpler way."

Rosental Calmon Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, visited Google for the students' presentations and was pleased to see their progress in an area that, according to Alves, is fundamental to the profession’s future.

For four weeks, more than 3,000 students learned the basics of programming using Python, one of the most popular and accessible languages available today. Unlike other programming courses, the MOOC presented examples and strategies aimed at the most common needs and challenges for journalists. The course was taught by programmer Álvaro Justen, project manager of the School of Data, and journalist Pedro Burgos, Knight International Fellow of ICFJ and leader of the project Impacto.Jor.

See the list of students below and click on their names to see the chosen projects:

•           Ana Tereza May Pereira, TV Band Curitiba / Universidade Positivo

•           Bárbara Pereira Libório, Canal Meio e Aos Fatos

•           Cecília Almeida Rodrigues Lima, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

•           Cristian Favaro, Agência Estado/O Estado de S.Paulo

•           Daniel Felipe Emergente Loiola, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

•           Gabriela Caesar, G1

•           José Maurício de Oliveira, TV de Rua

•           Juliana Servidoni, Câmara dos Deputados

•           Leandro Filippi, Freelancer

•           Lucas Cavalcanti Maia, Universidade Federal de Alagoas

•           Lucas Marchesini Palma, Valor Econômico

•           Lucas Thaynan Gomes dos Santos, Universidade Federal de Alagoas

•           Marília Varoni, Mensagem Comunicação

•           Plínio Luís Pereira Lopes, Universidade Federal do Paraná

•           Reinaldo Chaves da Silva, Repórter Brasil

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.