Category Archives: School Success

Team-based learning – my new soap box

Last week I co-presented a “lunch and learn” seminar at our on-campus Center for Teaching and Learning on the topic of team-based learning. A small group of us had a good conversation about how this teaching method can be used to facilitate active learning in our courses. While I’m fairly new to this teaching method, I have become such an evangelist for it by taking every opportunity I can to speak about how I’ve applied it in my courses.

What I like most about this teaching method is how it energizes the classroom environment and shifts the dynamic away from students passively receiving knowledge to the application of such knowledge. There is a ton of information on the web about team-based learning (tbl) so I won’t describe it in too much detail here, except to say that this approach emphasizes student prep work at home, with class time shifting to first testing students’ comprehension of key concepts through “readiness assessment tests” followed by the bulk of class time focusing on application of concepts and ideas through, what is essentially, team-based problem solving.

This method works really well by requiring students to complete the assigned prep work at home and then reinforcing that acquired knowledge in the classroom through application. So, classroom time moves away from the instructor-led lecture to more of a “bottom-up” approach with students participating in discussion with me and their classmates about the decisions they made in solving the assigned problems.

For my part, I also really like the more spontaneous, “mini” lectures that arise from this class structure. Rather than preparing lengthy lecture notes, I use the learning objectives as a guide for what students should get out of the assigned material, and the assessment test and the application activities help inform me of the gaps in student learning. I can then address these gaps immediately and more “organicly” — i.e. in a more “off-the-cuff” explanation/lecture and discussion.

Team-based learning is really an innovative way for students to learn and I’m looking forward to deepening my knowledge of this method both through continued application of it, as well as  through future research studies in which I would like to examine more carefully the variables that may support, or hinder, its success application.

Dog days of summer and digital pedagogy

It is seemingly the middle of summer, but as August arrives so, too, does preparation for next semester. I’m dusting off my blog and thinking fresh about digital pedagogy– or how to more effectively integrate digital tools to support student learning outcomes.

As part of Pacific’s commitment to pursuing innovative learning methods, I am participating in a pilot program in which we have access to a slew of new technology-based tools that we can integrate into one or a few classes over the next year. This year, I am looking forward to incorporating a digital assignment into Communication 135: Principles of Public Relations. While I’m still fine-tuning the assignment I think students will be excited to work with these new tools in the context of the course.

I’m also looking forward to developing a digital hub to support Communication students during their internships. I envision an online community where students can reflect, share experiences, and connect what they’ve learned in the classroom to their practical experience.

I hope you’re all enjoying the summer and I look forward to seeing you back on campus!

Assignments and deadlines

I wanted to touch base and reiterate the deadlines for the remainder of the semester. I realize this is the point in the semester where everyone is starting to feel the strain. However, the deadlines in this class are all fairly staggered and I the work is manageable — especially, if you take advantage of the class time that I give you to work on your projects.

As a reminder, here’s what’s coming up:

1) 1:30 – 2:30 minute “MyPacific” video assignment.
Due: Thursday, October 30.

2) 3-page reflection paper, “screen grabs,” and final peer reviews related to Client social media plans (individual assignment).
Theatre Arts team due: Tuesday, November 4.
Pac Ave team due: Thursday, November 13.

3) Live tweeting assignment.
Tweeting to be complete by Monday, November 17.
Storify report due Tuesday, November 25.

4) Final paper: social media plan or case study analysis (individual paper).
Presentations due: December 2 and 4. Papers due: December 4.
By November 13, you should identify your topic/Client in a one paragraph proposal describing your topic/Client and goal statement — to be approved by me.

*5) Grad students – you will write a short, research paper (7-10 pages) that, hopefully, can be used to support your upcoming thesis.
Due: Thursday, December 11.

We will also have 4 more weeks of blog writing. The purpose of the blog writing is to a) encourage you to reflect on the readings, which you should still be doing as they provide insight into your hands-on work, and b) to continue to develop your writing skills and blogging “voice.” Also, don’t forget to engage with your classmates’ blogs on at least 5 separate occasions.

Tomorrow will be primarily a working session. We will meet in the lab again.

As a reminder, there will be no class on Thursday, November 20 nor Tuesday, November 25 — although I will be on campus and available for one-on-one meetings, if needed. Also, there is no final exam.

Schedule – Week of November 6

What an exciting week! Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 6! Finally, the day is here. I am still hoping somebody will live tweet during election night. 🙂

Meanwhile, in COMM 193 I’d like to read about your thoughts on content curation, and the platforms of Pinterest and Tumblr that we discussed last week. Also, on Tuesday, Graduate students will present their social media case studies — these are the papers that you handed in last week, but that we didn’t get to present. You don’t need to prepare a formal powerpoint, but it would be helpful for you to show the class some examples of the materials (i.e. the campaign) that you analyzed. Please prepare, this will be part of your grade.

It is a busy month, for sure, but we will allocate some class time for your group work. Here are some deadlines to take note of:

Thursday, November 6, Quiz #3, topics to be covered include readings & class discussion from week 8 (social photography & social writing to week 10, web curation)

Tuesday, November 13: Live tweeting assignment due (post your storify link in your blog) and presentations

Thursday, November 15: Draft due of your social media plan, from Goal(s) to Tactics/technologies. Please make an effort with this — there will be points associated with it.

Tuesday, November 20: Personal branding assignment due

Thursday, November 29:  Quiz #4 (readings & discussion from Week 11 and 12, Metrics and SEO)

I think that’s everything – for now. Have a great weekend!




C193 Schedule

It’s difficult to believe we are nearing the last month of classes for the semester!

In looking over the syllabus, I’ve made a few changes, please note:
– Graduate Case Study Assignment is now due on Tuesday, Oct 30
– Laura and Carrie will present on Pinterest and Tumblr on Tuesday, Oct 30
– Quiz #3 will be rescheduled to Thursday, November 8

– Thursday, November 1, will be a group work day – you will meet in your groups to work on your social media plan. I would also like to meet with each of the groups individually, in my office, to address your concerns and campaign directions.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Quiz #2 – Social Media and PR (C193)

Where oh where is this semester going???

This is a reminder that we have our second quiz this Thursday, October 11. Quiz will cover Groundswell Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and our discussion on live tweeting.

Upcoming Quizzes

Hello Students:
I wanted to remind you that students in C193/293 (Social Media for PR) will be writing a short quiz on Thursday, September 20.  The quiz will cover Groundswell readings, Chapters 1 -4. Make sure you’re up-to-date on the readings (i.e. have read + processed the material) and you’ll be fine.

For students in C135 your first exam is on Tuesday, September 25. This exam will cover chapters 1 – 6. Again, attending class lectures and discussion, and actively reading and understanding the material is good preparation. As an extra check of your knowledge, try to answer the questions throughout each of the chapters.

Good luck! With preparation you’ll all do great! While tests can be stressful they can be an effective learning tool. So, enjoy the process of acquiring  knowledge! 🙂

September 2012- Back to school!

Welcome students to Fall Semester 2012!

I’m looking forward to a terrific semester of learning and engagement with all of you. Public relations is a fascinating profession that is continually evolving, especially with the advent of new mediums and technologies. Public relations is all around us, and I want to challenge you to be critical thinkers and consumers of information and media representations. By studying effective — and ineffective — communication you will be able to better develop skills that will faciliate your own communication planning by being a more critical and reflective communicator.

I want to remind students in the Social Media class to always bring your laptops/iPads to class as well as the current book we’re reading. So for the next few weeks, please bring Groundswell with you.

Here’s to a great semester ahead!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me.