In Spring 2011, students enrolled in Introduction to Writing for Communication and Media learned the basics of writing for communication and media contexts, including assignments which required them to create a blog post for a weekly blog of their choosing and then submitted their post as a guest post to that blog. Students also submitted feature stories to Maryville’s own Pawprint student newspaper and several were accepted for publication. Students also submitted feature stories to the hyperlocal Patch hyperlocal. Students in this class also worked hard to complete a series of exercises designed to help them learn the basics of AP style. One of the major assignments of this class was to put together a 10-minute newscast following the style of a particular newscaster, which the students then posted to YouTube. This class is designed as an introduction to many forms of writing for communication contexts and the media and we work hard to help the students get the work they are doing in this class published!
In Spring 2011, students enrolled in Gender and Communication wrote final papers that required them to develop an argument for how a particular magazine, television show character, or website portrays masculinity and femininity through its language, symbols, and meanings which communicate a particular “brand” of masculinity or femininity that the students argued was either healthy or unhealthy for society. Students chose shows such as Desperate Housewives, Two and a Half Men, and the old show Saved by the Bell and magazines such as Cosmopolitan and their arguments required them to persuade their reader that their argument/thesis was an accurate representation of the show and a valid argument in general.
In Fall 2010, students in the E-media and digital writing course learn all about writing for the web. The class is extraordinary because it takes the concept of the “back-pack journalist” to the classroom. Through out the semester students write stories in text and add images and videos. The students learn to tell various stories—news reports, features, promotions, reviews etc.—in the language of text, images, audio and video. One important aspect of the E-media and digital writing class is the chance for the students to work with real clients. In the Fall, students worked in groups of three with various clients such as an old age home, the National Jewish Book Festival, a university library etc. Students worked with these clients to build and maintain social media tools such as blogs, twitter accounts, fan pages in Facebook, shoot and upload videos on YouTube and much more.
In Spring 2011, students enrolled in Strategic Communication Writing worked with the Kingdom House, a nonprofit organization serving clients in the near South Side of St. Louis. Students worked in pairs to develop an event for a specific audience that the Kingdom House is trying to reach and the students put together a set of eight documents that could be used to publicize the event, including a press release, a flyer, an event profile and FAQ, a blog post, and a set of 15 tweets that the organization could use to get the word out about the event.
In Spring 2011, students enrolled in Communication Research were able to select individual research projects that interested them and write a three-part research proposal throughout the course of the semester. Students elected to do research projects on organizations such as Panera Bread, Anheuser-Busch/InBev, Firestone, and LookAlike Hair Salons and through constructing their research proposals, they gained in-depth expertise related to one of the research methods that we discussed in class.
In Spring 2011, students enrolled in Professional and Organizational Communication, went out into the community and conducted informational interviews with communication professionals in organizations such as the St. Louis Rams, the St. Louis Blues, Momentum Advertising, Cannonball Advertising and St. Anthony’s Medical Center. Additionally, students worked on teams and researched and identified best practices on topics such as social media, Six Sigma, and Corporate Health and Wellness. Students attended a special lecture on utilizing social media in their job search, which was delivered by Chris Reimer, V.P. of Social Media for Falk Harrison Public Relations. One third of students obtained internships through the completion of course assignments. At the end of the course, each student had identified their career goals, networked with professionals in the field, and created a professional interview portfolio.
The Contemporary media landscape course, which is a graduate seminar, introduces students to the world of new media. The class explores what is “new” about the new media landscape and why we should care about these changes in the media landscape. Starting with social implications of the new media the course delves into how the new media landscape influence aspects of Public Relations, Advertising and Journalism. The course also talks about some of the basic tools that professionals need to know in the new media landscape.