Blogging in the classroom

I’ve introduced a new activity in my Introduction to Public Relations class this semester – blogging. Each of my 20 students has created her/his own “My Budding Public Relations Career” blog and they’re integrating what they’re learning in the classroom with course readings, contemporary events, internships, and their aspirations.

First, I asked them to consider which of the three primary practice arenas interest them:  agency, corporation, not-for-profit organization.

Next, I invited them to consider a particular industry that appeals to them. Many seem to be interested in fashion and sports. 

Already, they’re connecting with public relations students at other universities and working practitioners. 

I look forward to great things from these students. So far they seem to be enjoying it. 

Students are required to make 10 blog entries throughout the semester in order to earn points. So far, check out what Krysanne Bryan is blogging about!

By mid-term time, nearly all of my students have set up their blog site and regularly are contributing to it. One student even has established a relationship with a high school student interested in PR! Students’ opinions and budding career interests clearly shine through. Check them out (some you may need to cut/paste into your browser)!

MS graduate students critique the state of attention to diversity at 19 organizations

Donnalyn Pompper’s Organizational Communication class of graduate students in the MS program put 19 organizations under the microscope to critique attention to diversity, using Taylor Cox’s “multicultural organization” lens. Most were surprised at what they found. Check out their Wikispace pages by clicking the link below. You’ll find the assignment on the main page — and students’ entries listed in the left-hand column.

It’s never too late!

I’ve used part of my Winter Break to become more technology savvy — added a microphone and cam to my home computer, created two wikispace assignments for a class, taught myself how to create a podcast, have prepped a new online course from scratch, and am participating in the new Virtual Teaching Certification Program. So, props to Dominique Kliger, Renee Hobbs (who shared a very helpful pdf with me), Sheryl Kantrowitz (for stoking the fires with the S+L workshop) and youtube (luv those how-to videos)! So, the moral of the story is: Even a “seasoned” educator can learn new tricks!

Open Source Learning: Fad, Flawed, or the Future?

Having recently edited a text anthology that combines theory with films, I am naturally very interested in the future of the textbook. I came across this TED Talk (Richard Baranuik, Rice University) and wonder about the pros and cons of this theory of textbook distribution using screens and links. Is digital and online music the way to model the textbook industry? Though there are surely benefits to the “knowledge ecosystem” and global access, I suspect there is something naive about this application. Will it produce the learning “machines” (his term) or a hive mind? This assumes that the education and knowledge issue is merely one of access and distribution, but seems to ignore the effect of the screen, links, network, and hive mind on comprehension, cohesion, and, especially, critical thinking. When one looks at reading trends in America, it seems less that books that need to be remade, but rather that reading needs to be restored.