Renee Hobbs

Renee
Hobbs
Founder
Hobbs informal 2011 best.png

Renee Hobbs is Professor of Communication Studies at the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. From 2012 - 2014, as the school's Founding Director, she helped develop a strategic plan and increased visibility for the new school, which includes departments and programs in Journalism, Film/Media, Communication Studies, Public Relations, Writing & Rhetoric and a graduate program in Library and Information Studies. She also served as Interim Director of the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, leading that department through a major curriculum renewal process. 

About Renee Hobbs. Professor Hobbs is an internationally-recognized authority on digital and media literacy education. Through community and global service and as a researcher, teacher, advocate and media professional, Hobbs has worked to advance the quality of digital and media literacy education in the United States and around the world. With her colleague Julie Coiro, she helped develop the nation's first Graduate Certificate in Digital Literacy, a 12-credit graduate program for K-12 and college faculty, librarians and media professionals. She is Founder and Director of the Media Education Lab, whose mission is to improve the quality of media literacy education through research and community service. In the early 1990s, she created the first national teacher education program in media literacy, the Harvard Institute on Media Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

Research. Renee Hobbs maintains an active research agenda that examines the intersections of the fields of media studies and education. She has published dozens of articles in scholarly journals in three fields: communication, education and health. She is the founding co-editor of the Journal for Media Literacy Education, an open-access peer reviewed journal that advances scholarship in the field. Her current work examines teacher motivations for integrating digital tools and media literacy concepts into the curriculum. She has developed and validated measures of media literacy competencies for adolescents. Now she is exploring how children activate media literacy competencies in formal and informal learning. Discovering Media Literacy: Digital Media and Popular Culture in Elementary School is a book that chronicles a three-year partnership with the Russell Byers Charter School in Philadelphia, written in 2013 with her former student and colleague David Cooper Moore. Her 2011 book, Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom offers portraits of how secondary educators integrate critical thinking and communication skills across the curriculum. Her 2010 book, Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning helps teachers understand copyright law as it applies to the use of digital media in education. Reading the Media: Media Literacy in High School English (Teachers College Press, 2007) provides the first large-scale empirical evidence of the impact of media literacy education on reading comprehension skills. She also co-authored Elements of Language, the first secondary English language arts textbook to incorporate media literacy. Hobbs also offers program evaluation services for multimedia education with clients including PBS Student Reporting Labs and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Teaching. Hobbs offers graduate and undergraduate courses in mass media, children and media, digital and media literacy education, youth media culture, children and youth service in librarianship, digital learning, educational multimedia production and research methods. She supervises graduate students in the fields of library and information studies, media studies, and education. Hobbs uses inquiry learning practices and emphasizes the role of students as content creators through digital multimedia. She is an experienced teacher educator and offers staff development programs to educators across the United States and around the world. 

Advocacy. Renee Hobbs works to increase visibility for digital and media literacy at the national level. In 2012, she served as a Fellow for the American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy. As a field-builder, she helped found the Partnership for Media Education, which evolved into the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), the national membership organization for media literacy. She has sought exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to advance the benefits of digital learning for all teachers and students. She is also active in helping educators understand their rights and responsibilities when using mass media, popular culture and digital media in education. Her white paper, Digital and Media Literacy: A Plan of Action offers a blueprint of pragmatic actions to bring these competencies to all Americans. It was released in Washington D.C. in November, 2010 and published by the Aspen Institute and the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

Community and Global Service. Hobbs developed Powerful Voices for Kids, a university-school partnership that offers a comprehensive program for K-12 schools including a summer enrichment program for children, staff development program, hands-on mentoring and curriculum development, and parent and community outreach. She has worked in Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, France and China to help bring media literacy education to students and teachers worldwide.  She partnered with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to explore how media literacy can promote mulicultural understanding, particularly of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East. 

Media Production. Renee Hobbs is a multimedia producer and has developed numerous award-winning resources for K-12 students and educators. Assignment: Media Literacy was developed with support from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Discovery Channel. The U.S. Office on Women's Health provided funding for Hobbs to create My Pop Studio, an award-winning online edutainment game that introduces tween girls to media literacy concepts and takes girls "behind the scenes" of popular music, television, magazines, and online media. She also created an online education program for integrating social media into the teaching of the 2008 Presidential election, with support from PBS Teachers.  Access, Analyze, Act: A Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement is an interactive website for teachers designed to strengthen their ability to use social media tools developed by the PBS community. Her documentary video, Tuning in to Media, won the Parent's Choice Award in 1994.

Renee Hobbs received an Ed.D in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.A. in Communication from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. with a double major in English Literature and Film/Video Studies from the University of Michigan.

Click here to access her current CV and read more about her early work to develop the field of media literacy education. View a video interview with her about her leadership in media literacy.

Renee offers presentations, keynote addresses, workshops and seminars. Contact Renee directly at hobbs@uri.edu or phone (401)874-2110 for more information.