Saturday, August 05, 2006

Student Presentations Cap Great Week

We know that students learn better when they are engaged with the material. However, the business of higher education sometimes makes that difficult.

During the past year, I taught two sections of principles of strategic communication (COMM 431) at The Ohio State University. This class is a mix of advertising and public relations, and I taught it from an integrated marketing communications perspective. I had 211 students in the fall and 151 in the spring.

This summer I taught principles of advertising (ADV 3310) at Texas Tech University. This time I had only 29 students. Finally! I had some freedom to incorporate some hands-on learning.

I recalled that the Duncan principles book suggested a semester-long advertising campaign assignment. It was too late to switch to Duncan (I had used one chapter in a McGraw-Hill custom text at OSU), but I incorporated the idea into my class.

The students formed agencies, measured perceptions about their clients, analyzed target markets, wrote a creative brief, and checked for possible legal and ethical problems with their campaigns.

I usually am not able to introduce some of this work until late in the copywriting class, which is taken after principles.

Friday the projects came to an end. It was my turn to sit in the back row and watch their presentations. And they really impressed me. I was amazed at the depth of their "advertising thoughts." They really took this material to heart.

My students went above and beyond, and I was really delighted. There is no question in my mind that they will remember things from their campaigns that would have never have made an impression from readings and lectures alone.

Across the board, this was a great work. And my students' work only put an exclamation point on the week. Many people say that if you expect more of your students, they will rise to the challenge. Count me as a believer.


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