• 12Dec
    Categories: teaching Comments: 2

    The semester is winding to a close. This afternoon, my students will give their final presentations to an auditorium audience of classmates, clients, local PR professionals, and the occasional person who just happens to wander in. I’m very excited for them: I’ve seen the proposals and practice presentations, and I am looking forward to hearing feedback from clients and others.

    Meanwhile, on the last day of class I asked them to write down, on index cards I provided, three pieces of advice to next semester’s students. I promised them that I would pass on all of their tips, although I reserve the right to point out bits that are ill advised or incorrect. Many of the recommendations were repetitive, and underscore things I’ve said myself–although I suspect they will carry more weight coming from students who have been through the class. Some of the comments are wise, some amusing, some downright worrisome or simply baffling. Here, for your edification, is the complete collection of tips on what you should know if you ever find yourself in my Campaigns class, according to this semester’s students:

    On time management

    Don’t leave everything to the last minute. The campaign components really add up!
    Start campaign early and establish solid contact with client.
    Don’t procrastinate when it comes to proposal materials—consistently work on the project each week.
    Don’t procrastinate on campaign work.
    Begin working on the proposal paper in chunks over the semester. Spread the work process out so you aren’t overwhelmed at the end.
    Don’t wait until the last minute to start writing out your proposal. Formatting woes happen!
    Make sure that you keep a good schedule for the class. Time management is KEY!
    Work hard on your campaign from beginning to end to cut down on stress at the end of the campaign.
    Start work on your proposal early.
    Don’t procrastinate on the proposal.
    Don’t wait until the last weekend you have to finish and print your proposal.
    Make sure to work on the proposal throughout the semester according to the deadlines and make the first drafts a real effort.
    Keep up with the work on your campaign throughout the semester so you don’t have a ton to do right before it’s due. If you have questions, ask Dawn or your group members.
    Don’t just turn in whatever. Actually work on the assignments when they are due and don’t cram at the end.
    Always make time to work on your proposal; the end comes quickly and before you know it, it’s due.
    Even though the assignments aren’t graded weekly, work on the proposal throughout the semester.
    Work on your project early… it catches up in the end and you won’t sleep!
    DO NOT procrastinate!

    On case studies

    Make sure to read case studies—don’t just summarize them.
    Make sure the case analyses are well written and turned in on time.
    Before every case study, read through the chapters involving research, planning, implementation, evaluation, etc. to make sure you don’t leave anything out.
    Put every concept you learn into the case study write-ups. You are bound to get something right. (Note: I don’t actually recommend this approach, since you are also bound to get some things wrong. The easiest approach is just to learn the concepts.)
    Get as much help on case studies as you can.
    Take notes, they will be helpful in case studies.
    Learn the principles of communication to ace your case studies.
    Ask Gilpin to give you more specific instructions on what to include in your case studies.
    Work hard on your case studies.

    On class in general

    Attend class!
    Familiarize yourself with social media, especially blogs.
    Take thorough notes.
    Know about Twitter before the class.
    If you can’t write a blog, learn!!!
    Come to class and be on time. It is vital to your success, especially on the final exam.
    Take many, many notes in class.
    Take notes because the lectures aren’t posted on Blackboard. And use your notes when you do your case studies and compose your proposals.
    Take good notes.
    Take good notes because most are not online.
    Be active in social media.
    Don’t miss any classes.

    On editing

    Revise, revise, revise!
    Proofreading is your best friend for everything in this class (proposal, case studies, blogs).
    Proofread each part of your proposal AS YOU DO IT, and again at least 3 times before you get the final copies printed.

    On teamwork

    Stay in constant contact with your group and divide up work evenly.
    Don’t screw your group members by not doing your fair share.
    Communicate with your group constantly, openly and honestly to avoid future problems.
    Take time to meet with your group after class. It’s harder if everyone doesn’t meet at the same time.
    Delegate roles, more than just ROPE.
    Try your best to work well with your group members!!!
    Get along with your group—do your share—your grade depends on peer evaluations!
    Try your hardest to get along with your campaign group because it will make your life a lot easier.
    Get along with your group members, but don’t let them walk all over you.
    Go to class and be a good groupmate! You all need to contribute in order to put on a good show!
    Make sure your group members are pulling their weight from the start so you don’t end up doing all the work.
    Work with your group to met deadlines and fine-tune the proposal and presentation.
    Work as a team. Doing so will just make your life easier. Be considerate of each other’s schedule conflicts.
    Do your part in your group and learn how to work together!

    On stress and sanity

    Don’t stress in the beginning because everything will come together in the end.
    Drink lots of coffee before class.
    Don’t stress out too much… it will make sense eventually.
    Buy Kleenex because you’ll cry every day. (Note: I truly hope not!)
    Be patient, you will get through it…

    The miscellaneous

    Make sure to run all contact moves and questions by the contact person you work with.
    Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say something stupid.
    Don’t hesitate to ask questions. It doesn’t make sense—and it probably won’t make sense until it is completed. Then you will be shocked at the progress you made.
    Go in and talk to Dr. Gilpin in office hours. She will explain things really well and direct you on where you need to be—best for case studies!
    Put all your effort into this class, it is the culmination of you time in school and reflects what you have learned. Represent yourself well.
    Have fun with your proposal, it is a lot of work but it is a great opportunity to use your creativity.
    Be creative and utilize the resources at school, and your professor’s knowledge.
    Be as creative as possible with your campaign.

    The mysterious

    Call her Dr. not Professor. (Note: I have no idea where this one came from. Either is fine by me.)
    The blogging (Twitter) section throws the class off and you aren’t sure what is important about the class and what to learn but just be open. (Note: ?)
    Only purchase the case study book. (Note: I definitely do not recommend this strategy.)
    Don’t worry if you’re the best, everyone will pick on you, but keep working it—they are just jealous!