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Though they are more than 500 years old, newspapers have not lost their usefulness.

In addition to informing, entertaining and connecting readers with the world around them, newspapers have another niche: the college classroom.

To further explore how newspapers can be leveraged as a learner-centered, relevant and engaging tool, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will host “Newspapers and the College Curriculum” May 18 in Reeve Memorial Union Ballroom, 748 Algoma Blvd.

Sponsored by USA TODAY and the University’s Center for Scholarly Teaching, the event will take an innovative approach to connecting with students and making course material relevant to their daily lives.

Sara K. Davis, USA TODAY educational specialist, will present a keynote speech during a luncheon at 12:15 p.m. and then lead a workshop and dialogue from 1:15 to 3 p.m. to demonstrate new and practical teaching techniques that can be implemented into educators’ pedagogy immediately.

The UW Oshkosh teaching community, educators from across the region, community members and students are encouraged to attend the informative, hands-on event. UWO instructors teaching relevant courses over the interim are invited to bring their classes to the workshop.

According to Davis, connecting course material to students’ lives allows for greater retention and critical application of what they learn.

“USA TODAY can help professors make that connection in an easy, relevant way,” said Davis, who manages the Education Resource Development division for USA TODAY Education, which provides online resources for educators and students across the country at www.usatoday.com/educate.

A recent survey by Penn State University revealed that more than 70 percent of college students prefer the paper version of a newspaper to online formats.

“There is no substitute for the tactile experience,” Davis said. “Even in the age of iPads, Skype and Twitter, the hard copy of the newspaper is still relevant to students.”

Davis’s visit to UW Oshkosh is one of just a few workshops she will present in 2010.

Registration is available at www.uwosh.edu/cst. Participants can register for the luncheon/keynote session, the workshop or both.

For more information, contact the Center for Scholarly Teaching at cst@uwosh.edu.

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