Renee Hobbs

Renee Hobbs is Professor and Founding Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island.

She founded the Media Education Lab, and created the first national teacher education program in media literacy, the Harvard Institute on Media Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Professor Hobbs’ research examines the intersections of the fields of media studies and education. She has published dozens of articles in scholarly journals in the fields of communication, education and health. She is the founding co-editor of the Journal for Media Literacy Education. Her 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 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 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.

She served as a Fellow for the American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy, and helped found the Partnership for Media Education, which evolved into the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). 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.

Hobbs helped develop the Powerful Voices for Kids program. She partnered with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to explore how media literacy can promote multicultural understanding. Her current consulting clients include PBS NewsHour and the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum.

She has developed numerous award-winning resources for K-12 students and educators that help develop digital and media literacy competencies. Assignment: Media Literacy was developed with support from the Maryland State Department of Education and The Discovery Channel. With support from the U.S. Office on Women's Health, she created My Pop Studio, an award-winning online edutainment website that introduces tween girls to media literacy concepts. She also created an online interactive 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.

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.

Read the abstract of the paper Professor Hobbs presented for STI's What Society Needs from Media in the Age of Digital Communication meeting.

Professor Renee Hobbs discussed with STI how her research suggests some of the ways that society benefits from a media-literate public. Read it here.