Here’s an activity I tried in my Newspaper 1 (introductory journalism) class to help facilitate students’ design knowledge and to benchmark what they remembered from our brief discussion of Adobe InDesign from first semester. The activity requires students to think about design (spacing, hierarchy, content, etc.) in conjunction with related content on a page by having them design a piece of alternative coverage to accompany a larger story on a page. They were allowed to make up information (beyond the information I provided on the sheet) as the assignment wasn’t geared to address information gathering skills but, rather, design skills.
I have yet to teach design terminology (i.e. modular design, hierarchy, fonts, etc.) — I have only taught students how to navigate the software for now — so this assignment will serve as a baseline for me to determine what my students already know about design. I’m sure I could use this assignment again after the design unit to see what the students have learned.
Feel free to modify the assignment as befits your own situation.
Here’s a sample that I did along with the students to get you thinking.