Blog as Digital Teaching Tool: Results

Public relations students at Southeast Missouri State University became Culpwrits this week in order to respond to several assigned questions.  PR professor Susan Gonders reports here on the one-week curriculum based on the student scavenger hunt through Culpwrit posts. 

•    From the advice Calmetta Coleman offers in “Business Writing is Business Writing,” I asked students to identify the one tip that will be most helpful in their careers.

      80% said use of a comma in the salutation is important. It’s easy to forget this and then appear too casual. It could also make it look like you don’t know how to punctuate.

      20% pointed to spell check. Since we will be graduates in communications, we should be able to communicate without error. This reflects on our image and how people perceive us.

•    From the advice Susan Balcom Walton offers in “Time – Fourth Dimension of Job Search Process,” I asked students to identify the time of the typical job search cycle.

      60% learned that it takes 8-12 months to find a first job, but 40% added that it takes even longer for public relations graduates. Since we may have to wait as long as two years for that first job, we need to plan ahead.

•    Then I asked the students to identify one tip offered by Professor Walton for using time productively while maneuvering through the job search cycle.

      Half said they need to get as much business skill and knowledge as they can while they search for that first job. Half said that, if you need to get another job while looking for the PR position of your dreams, you should try to get something in a related field.

•    I asked students to check the no-cost templates for which Tim Conway provided links in “How to Create a Digital Career Portfolio.” When Tim saw this item in our assignment, he e-mailed us a list of additional resources. So students had several from which to choose.

      I was disappointed that 20% chose Microsoft Word, simply because this is the program with which they are most familiar. It is also the most technologically elementary. I was also disappointed that 40% chose Microsoft PowerPoint, also because they are already familiar with it.

      I was, however, pleased that 40% of the students chose to opt for something new. Half of the more adventurous students liked “Experience” because it helps people gain access to jobs, internships and other opportunities. The other half liked Visual CV because they thought it was visually appealing with many options to help you look more professional. At least some of the students found new options for their portfolios.

•    I wanted students to get familiar with some of the profession’s leaders. So I asked them to consider Gary McCormick’s “Career Capsule” and tell me which of his first 10 jobs they think was most pivotal in positioning him for his work with Scripps Networks and ultimately with HGTV.

      Interestingly, 100% of the students pointed to Gary’s position as director of public relations at Colorado Women’s College. They thought this job gave him the most valuable experience and provided the contacts that effectively put him on the path to his current position

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