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PR Edu Thoughts on Past, Present and Future

In preparation for the coming semester, I’ve found myself thinking back and then looking forward.

My interests here are primarily on evaluating where people are, what positive aspects they may have gained from our classroom projects, and – how we can make them even more valuable and entertaining. Yep, that’s right. I said entertaining. You see, I believe students will dive in with greater fervor if they feel it is fun and they can see a true payoff at the end.

The projects I’m referring to are our eportfolio or digital resume and portfolio HTML creations.

So, where are they now?  


People on the move … a sampling …

Christin Eubanks, whose blog is located at my PRception, has been doing some interesting writing there – and some work for her sister. Christin created amandAMEubanks to spotlight her sister Amanda’s wonderful artwork. Check it out. Shock of shocks, she even got Amanda started in … wait for it … blogging. She even turned Amanda’s resume into HTML. Wow, what a kind sister. Amanda ought to spring for the paid domain hosting, though.

Mary Kneeland Metcalf has also been active blogging. Visit Displaced In Chicago to follow Mary in her new career with Edelman. I like trying to keep up with students after they fly the nest here at Auburn. I believe Mary’s even started a group blog of past AU grads, too. And, after all, without Mary Kneeland how would I have come across Spatula Diaries from Baton Rouge. Mary Kneeland good! Oh, and I think she’ll kick off Marcomblog’s Fall Season, too.

Now, not one of my old students, but an interesting find. I came upon a trackback from Phillip La Peyre, a PR² undergrad at Deakin University in Australia. He is a student of Ross Monaghan at Deakin. Phillip is checking out Marcomblog and the Student Digital Resumes and Portfolios from Summer 2007 and Spring 2007. I like seeing students interested in the projects. I hope more PR higher ed programs will undertake like-minded senior projects online, along with the print portfolios. I’d love to learn from, and adapt with, what I learn from their efforts.

Karen Russell, of UGA, linked to our projects. Also, Richard Bailey, Leeds Metropolitan University (UK), kindly referenced them in an interview at Karen’s blogTeaching PR, too. Thank you to both Richard and Karen.

So, I’m happy that there is at least interest in what we are doing. And there seems to be perceived value in the exercises from other faculty, students and my own students. But, what do we keep in the projects and where to we adapt and change? If you have ideas … please share.


So, that’s the past … what of our future semesters …

In Style & Design, which may be renamed – by the way, we intend to continue blogging at both The Loveliest Village and PRblogs.org.

At The Loveliest Village, students will continue to blog and podcast. However, after this summer’s experiment, we’ll just be doing video blogging. Using the Flip Video camera, we’ll have each student creating one video interview – with story and photo – each week.

Thanks to Shannon Whitley, we will continue to explore, and learn from, PRX Builder. We’ll even explore his new PRX Builder NewsAds program.

And, we’ll continue to utilize the resources of the Edelman StoryCrafter tools for creating social media releases, too. Many thanks to Edelman for allowing us access to StoryCrafter.

Style and Design, along with PR Writing, will utilize PRblogs.org for hosting our student blogs. Marcomblog will be re-awakened after a long summer hiatus. Students will interact with mentors there. Look for perhaps two new practitioners to join us – one from Asia and the other from Australia. More on that later.

Then, in PR Writing, we will continue to write daily. A new addition will be the creation of a full blown media room using the resources of Jonathan Arehart’s MyMediaRoom. It is a “News platform that enables organizations to get their message out”, according to the site. I was tipped off to MyMediaRoom some time ago by this Kami Huyse post. Thanks to Kami for continuing to offer great info at her blog, Communication Overtones. And many thanks to Jonathan for allowing us to come in and fill up about 20 new media rooms.

In the MyMediaRoom project, each student will seek out a local nonprofit and build a newsroom for them – from the ground up. Sounds fun, huh? Maybe I can even pair them with a student in Style & Design to create a bit of video for the newsroom.

So, is that enough? Too much? Anyone have other ideas about how to incorporate social media into class activities, while not overwhelming the students? (Oh, they believe I overwhelm them with work anyway, but – you know what I mean … I hope.) Believe it or not, the students still spend the vast majority of their time on working with the software in Style & Design and writing in PR Writing. Social media is a small part. Hey, it is 15 weeks. They ought to be able to accomplish a lot.


Podcasts: Video and audio …

I want to clarify that I’m not abandoning audio podcasts at The Loveliest Village because they aren’t fun, or worthwhile. I just think the students will find the video podcasts more enjoyable. The cost to them will be the same as audio, so I no longer have an aversion to requiring they do video.

One of the audio podcasts I’ll still encourage them to follow is On The Record from Eric Schwartzman. Eric covers media relations, online media, podcasting, new media, PR, and marketing very well. On the Record offers up great interviews. They are probably the best in this genre, easily, and are better than most you’ll find in all of podcasting. That’s my opinion, but look at his site and you’ll see that Jonathan, his podcast and his agency, have won many awards.

Not only that, but students and recent grads, look what else I learned by listening to On The Record…


PR Opportunities for recent grads …

Schwartzman PR has PR Job Opportunities. Yes, they are hiring! This is the same firm that also brings us iPressroom. That’s another cool resource I’d love to show the students. I’d be willing to bet that Eric also has interns at his agency. Ya’ think? Doesn’t hurt to ask and find out.


New sites, toys and such …

Finally, I am very much looking forward to the launch of P.O.T.U.S. ’08 on XM Radio. I’m not really a political junkie, but the format and content seems pretty compelling. I like to dream and in the past I have dreamed of a very well funded project whereby students could have followed the campaigns – creating video/audio/blog content. Man, what a learning experience that could have been. A guy can dream, can’t he?

With the possibility of a tremendous opportunity developing during the semester, I’m looking at many tools to fold into a project for all the classes. Can’t say what it is now, but this one could be quite cool. I can assure you that the person we would have participating in it is quite unique.

Those toys and tools I’m tinkering with (and trying to decide if, and then how, they may be used in class) are: Twitter, Ustream.tv, Justin.tv, and even Robert Scoble’s video podcasts and live streams at ScobleShow. We’ll see how they play out as viable opportunities for class. Any suggestions? I’m open to them.

That’s it, that’s all … what do you think?



7 comments

  1. Thanks, Christin. You’re very kind. I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things from you in the future. Not a doubt in my mind. Take care.

    Now, I have to figure out why the comments on my blogs posts show up when I’m logged out … but aren’t there when I’m logged in? Very strange.

    Note to self: “Dear Self, don’t fiddle with the templates you dork.”

    Update: OK, fixed it. Sheesh!

  2. I second Christi!

    Thanks for the shout out! I can’t wait to kick off Marcom, I will definitely send you my post this week. I wish I were about to start my semester at Auburn. Have fun with the new group and don’t make them cry too much!

  3. When I was in school, I was #323 in a sea of anonymous faces. I’ve got to invent that time machine so that I can go back and study under Robert. 🙂

    What an incredible gift to give to your students, to actually care how they use the knowledge that you’ve helped them attain.

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  5. Thank you, Mary. I look forward to the post in Marcomblog. It will be interesting for the students to hear about your experiences and see how social media can help students and new hires, too.

    Shannon, thank you, too. We benefit from learning from you, as well, ya’ know. Thanks for all the great tools and knowledge you have shared … and the others, that I’m sure are in the works and on the way.

    Ya’ll need to stop ’cause my head is already too inflated. 🙂

    Bryan, thank you for the link and mention, too.

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