Monday, January 19, 2009

Spring Semester 09: Out with the old, in with the new!

The new semester is here and with it a number of changes to this class. First off, we have added a new textbook to the reading list: Deirdre Breakenridge's PR 2.0: New Media, New Tools, New Audiences. I'm hoping that this book will give students an idea of the tremendous impact social media has had (and will continue to have) on the PR profession and that it will encourage them to think of new ways to conceptualize PR practice.

Based on student feedback and my own experience teaching this class for the last 3 semesters, I've decided to add more emphasis to a number of issues, including:
  • Search engine optimization
  • The semantic web
  • Cloud computing
  • Microblogging
  • Social networking sites as a PR tool
  • Personal branding
  • Social media for crisis communication
This semester we'll also have an increased number of hands-on, in-class activities designed to demonstrate the various uses of a number of social media technologies such as:
  • Using social bookmarking sites as search tools
  • Doing a social media audit
  • Setting up Google alerts and similar monitoring tools
  • Creating a community of learners who share class content via social media tools such as social bookmarks (this semester social bookmarking will be an integral part of class participation)
Although the class projects remain mostly unchanged, the web video project will be completed entirely in the cloud using free web-based video editing tools. I experimented with this last semester and decided to adopt it for good because it worked so well (some students got hooked and started using these apps to make movies for their other classes). Besides, it looks like cloud computing might just be the future (see the rumors about Apple planning to move its video editing application iMovie online).

One of the major lessons I've learned while teaching this class is that students often approach new technologies with unrealistic expectations regarding their performance and ease of use. As a result, frustration levels tend to rise rather quickly when new technologies decide not to cooperate- especially when deadlines are looming. This is why I will be adding a session on dealing with new technologies and frustration levels when things don't work the way they should. This session will focus on how to problem shoot online and resolve technology problems on your own. An important skill to have IMHO!


Deirdre said...


I'm thrilled that you are using PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences for your Spring PR classes. If you need any clarification on topics or have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at Also, if your students are interested, they can check out my author's blog ( where I discuss many of the book's topics. Thanks for using my book!!

corinnew said...


We're looking forward to working with your book this semester. Maybe we'll catch you on Twitter if we have questions - we'll certainly check out the blog.

Megan LeeAnne Garza said...

If you haven't had enough of me in your class for Audacity training, I'd be happy to do a lecture on SEO. I've prepared one for Katherine Miles and Chris Martinez and got lots of positive responses from students :)

I also like your idea about teaching troubleshooting - if you teach a student how to fish...