The blog is a place to express my concerns on issues driving teaching and research on integrated marketing communications (IMC) and public relations. Postings are an eclectic mix of published, quoted and original work. Topics include education, controversy, stakeholders, trends. Links and ideas are welcome.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Sample Syllabus for review by colleagues, current students and readers
For 2011 Draft Integrated Marketing Communications Department
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D.
Formerly known as Communication Skills and Persuasive Messages
Office hours: Wednesdays or by appointment and before and after class firstname.lastname@example.org
3-101 McCormick Tribune Center
847 491-5011 Office phone. Or 847 4915011
Rachael Mersey Office hours: Wednesdays or by appointment and before and after class email@example.com
3-114 McCormick Tribune Center
II. Course Description, Goals and Objectives
From a very senior communications executive of a top branded company: “Let me offer up Walker’s Law: The greater the amount of communication, the less valuable bad communications and the more valuable good communications. Here’s how I got there. Today, many of us communicate essentially from the moment we wake up until we turn out the lights at night, sixteen hours or more. (If you include passive one-way communication, like radio and TV, that number goes even higher.) This is far more than our grandparents or their grandparents communicated. With sixteen hours of communications a day, only the good stuff cuts through the clutter and gets noticed.
The quickest way to the top in any organization is to be able to express your thoughts concisely and compellingly. Especially for those just starting out, it provides a way to set yourself apart and show your potential in a very tangible and noticeable way. I continually remind those on my team: “If this e-mail (or memo or presentation or elevator conversation) was the only thing a top executive had to judge you by, are you OK with that?” Often it is what they will be judged on. As a result I advise every professional, but particularly those starting out, to put communication at the top of the list of things to work on. Communication matters.”
Integrated Communications (Communication Skills and Persuasive Messages) is an IMC course designed to improve students’ skills in developing and delivering traditional and newer technological communications. The course emphasizes knowledge of the how communications can contribute to policy, and strategy. It also provides the rationale or explanation of why communications is needed or a particular tactic would be productive.
The course will improve your skills in writing for business, skills in oral presentation, interpersonal skills in business environments, and, when needed, persuasive messages. The course builds on the title of the degree and your personal orientation and commitment to communication. In the professionally competitive spirit on NU’s campus, we would like to say that our goal is to make you 20 percent better communicators than your peers enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management.
This course is designed to give you an overview of the role of communications for a wide range of stakeholders relevant to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). We will address the “C” in IMC as a policy and strategic advantage for marketing and management leaders. The strategic elements are unique to communications. They include an audience based 4 step process from the international work of IMC faculty and consultants.
It also contains rich theoretical concepts that have been tested time and again to provide the argument why a particular strategy or tactic would be useful for solving organizational problems. Several strategic research and data tracking methods for communications will be introduced for your use to help you defend your recommendations. Most managers will not have the specific knowledge you will possess from this class and the IMC curriculum – you must be prepared to prove the value of your suggestions. You will learn that in this class.
We seek to:
1.Write fundamental and more advanced types of IMC messages and know the basic elements of each type.
2.Write clear, brief and accurate pieces of communication that employ correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage and context.
3.Edit our own writing for basic errors and correct them by using proper editing symbols.
4.Write and edit fast enough to be able to complete assignments under deadline pressure in a corporation, in the field, on the way to the meeting or on the podium.
5.Use Associated Press (AP) style as followed by businesses and other organizations.
6.Apply judgments to sets of facts and then synthesize those facts into openings that are concise and writing that is organized and coherent.
7.Know when to attribute information in order to avoid editorializing, and know how to handle attribution smoothly and quotations properly.
8.Gather facts and transfer them accurately.
9.The strategic process used by hundreds of businesses trained by the faculty gives the tactical methods above a means to be measured and rewarded. To evaluate the tactical activities above we will learn about general communications audits, digital database audits, readability studies and competitive message analysis software.
IV. Assignments / Projects
You will have many manageable assignments in this course. Assignments are due on the dates in the outline, but many of the assignments can be completed in the weekly lab with a writing teacher and coach supporting you. For all assignments, emphasis is on quality of writing and presentation. The intent is to constantly improve your skills.
The course imitates the standards of professional communicators and marketing communicators and researchers in corporations, agencies and consulting firms. This is not just a class but a simulation of your ability to produce communications clearly, accurately and quickly. Like the writing examinations corporations, consulting firms and agencies are administering to job applicants; we expect you to be able to write and speak intelligently about your field with grammatical and rhetorical precision.
You should always be prepared to contribute to class discussions, demonstrating preparation by asking questions and by integrating the vocabulary and concepts from the readings into class comments. You will complete a self-evaluation for attendance and class participation at the mid-point with the help of Searle Teaching Center and at the end of the quarter. Your effective class comments may address questions raised by others, integrate material from this and other courses, draw on real-world experiences and observations, or pose new questions to the class. We encourage your thoughtful contribution from your reading, experience and inspired class discussion.
High-quality participation involves knowing when to speak and when to listen. Comments that are repetitive, disrespectful, or lacking sufficient foundation are discouraged. Students will have the opportunity to post relevant news articles via Twitter and to elaborate on their relevance in the class
Mid-term Subject Examination
There will be a one 90 minute mid-term exam in class. The exam will consist of several short essay questions about the readings and lectures. You will be given the reading before the exam and will be expected to apply the content from class to answer the questions. Some suggested topics will be part of the review session before the day of the examination.
Final Subject Examination
There will be a 110 minute final exam in class. The final exam will also consist of several short essay questions about the readings and lectures. You will be given the readings before the exam and will be expected to apply the content from class to answer the questions. Some suggested topics will be part of the review session before the day of the examination.
Final Editing Examination
You will also take a final editing examination in your final laboratory session. The exam will be your “post” editing exam to demonstrate your graded improvement from the class entry “pre” editing examination.
Peer and Personal Evaluation
Also, please note that you will be asked to complete a peer evaluation of each of your lab partners. In addition to quantitatively evaluating the contribution of each team member (including yourself), you will offer developmental feedback for each teammate as well. You and your peers will evaluate your own contributions to the progress and success of the class. The expectation is that you will share in the success of the class with your participation.
There are four cases, 6 editing assignments, 2 oral assignments, two examinations on content (reading, lectures, panels, and cases), discussion, Twitter site usage, peer evaluation, pre and post editing examinations
All work in the course contributes to your final grade. This includes in-class assignments and lab homework, quizzes and examinations. In keeping with the proud Medill tradition, you must rewrite any assignment with a √- or a grade of C+ or below. Your grade on a rewrite will combine with the original grade for an average grade on the assignment. There is the tradition of a “Medill F” where you misspell the names of the people, company or product/service in the IMC work.
VI. Honesty, Plagiarism, and Cheating
This course follows the Northwestern University code of student conduct as described in the NU student handbook and the Medill code of ethics. Questions of academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, and other violations, their terms and conditions are all listed in the Student Handbook. The Student Handbook outlines the contract between the student, the instructor, and the University. Please read this and familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.
The headline from Medill is: You cannot cheat in any way. It can cost you your graduate degree.
Please attend your assigned lab. There isn’t space for extra students in the lab rooms. Unless you arrange to shift to another lab with another student and notify the instructor in advance, the instructor may give you a zero on your work that day.
VIII. Course Outline
The 10 Week 19 lecture/discussion classes would include the following topics:
1.Stakeholder Targeting and Mapping (1) (supported with video) Readings and theory related to: Eckhouse: Rhetoric and Competitive Advantage. Organization and Competitive Messages
·Mainstreaming: TV's ability to pull people to a common understanding of an issue.
What is freedom of speech for corporations? Politically oriented corporate messaging? How can we have a common understanding in a diverse nation? If it works in China should we use it in the U.S. and vice versa?”
·Technological determinism: Media communication and the technology it uses help shape the society in which we live.
What is the real effect of a wildly popular magazine in this age such as People Style Watch? What is our perception of our society? Is it the medium or the message again? How does any important issue, product or service become successful in a high tech age?
2.Applied Rhetorical Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 1 Read Competitive Communications Eckhouse Classical Argument and Modern Business and articles on specified communication theory
·Uses and gratifications: People use media to fill personal and social needs.
Can the newer cable media go too far with Fox and MSNBC? Is this the new propaganda age?
·Agenda melding: People join groups by "melding" agendas.
What about Chinese on-line buying clubs for building commercial communities? Can we integrate business and society with common green agenda?
·Dissonance: When confronted by new information, people experience mental discomfort and they work to limit or reduce that discomfort.
Do I buy gas from the local BP dealer? Should I give my fiancé a diamond (possibly conflict source)?
3.Applied Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 2 (see video for review) Eckhouse: Refutation Argument as Inquiry, Strategic Disposition,
·Parasocial relationships: People establish social relationships with media personalities.
Q scores with Fox, Good Morning America and micro channel hosts. What is the ROI value of “fame”? Is trustworthiness and branding related?
·Framing: To make sense of events, we categorize them.
“Progressive is the new liberal”. Who uses the term? The President’s talking about stakeholders. Who defines the context of business and society?
·Knowledge gap: The more information in the social system, the more the higher SES groups will gain in knowledge compared to those in lower SES groups.
Food deserts, environmental racism, hourly wages from non-union shops - What is sustainable for whom? And, who decides?
4.Applied Communications Theory in IMC and Journalism 3 Eckhouse: Ethics in Argument – Classical Fallacies, Managing Ethos – Argument and Credibility
·Adoption: Adopters pass through five steps--awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, adoption.
Is the old model too linear as some IMC experts claim? Isn’t adoption even more important in a widely growing technological, entrepreneurial and innovative economy?
·Cultivation: People who are heavy viewers of TV tend to believe that the "real" world is more similar to the world seen on TV than do light viewers.
What are the marketing and policy ethical issues? What about product alignment with the gullible or less cynical viewers (children, elderly, undereducated)?
·Symbolic Interaction: People give meaning to symbols and then those symbols control peoples' behavior.
Why aren’t graphics and imagery more important in IMC? What has happened to semiotics in the classroom and research programs of IMC?
5.Reputation Case Study in Communications, Paul Argenti book. Case brief and discussion.
§Two-step flow: Certain members of society are active consumers of media and become opinion leaders who influence others.
Does this include bloggers, tweeters, those who are linked or use retweet or Bitly or Tinyurl?
6.Executive Panel on the Role of Communications in Leadership - Best Communication Practices in IMC. Senior managers of communications who participated in design of this class.
7.Authentic Storytelling Structure and Delivery 1 (supported with video/lab)
·Spiral of silence: Public opinion consists of those opinions you can express in public w.o socially isolating yourself.
Will we be allowed to blog about work? Can we be too transparent?
8.Storytelling Structure and Delivery 2 (Presentation of best examples from lab practice)
·Social learning theory: Children learn behaviors by watching them, including watching them on TV.
What balance should IMC put into the system? What greater damage can advertising do to marketing? Can advertising refocus its power? Doesn’t transparent PR gain in stature?
9.MARCOM Case Studies in Communications, Argenti, Brief and discussion
·Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM): Persuasive messages can be processed using either the central (recipient is motivated) or peripheral routes (recipient is not motivated).
Voting compares to which purchases? Is digital buying central? How do we process increasing numbers of messages, over increasing numbers of channels?
10. Midterm Examination on readings and lectures to-date
11. Advanced Writing and Editing 1 (supported with video/lab) Eckhouse: Managing Ethos: Conciseness; Word Choice, Syntax, Punctuation, Grammar.
AP Manual of Style and Dunsky Chapters 1-4
12. Advanced Writing and Editing 2 (corporate standards for employment)
AP Manual of Style and Dunsky Chapters 5 to conclusion
13. Communication Metrics 1, How communications is measured, Eckhouse: Electronic Ethos - Computer Revision,
14. Communication Metrics 2, Simple to sophisticated metrics Kellogg Advertising and Media, Caywood and Diermeier Chapters
15. Media Presentation Practice and Theory (supported with video/lab)
·Agenda setting: The media don't tell people what to think; they tell them what to think about.
Who is setting the industrial policy level agenda? What about extreme cable as product endorsers. Does it make sense?
16. Media Case Studies in Communications, Argenti
17. Global and Cross Cultural Communications
·Cross-cultural Theory and experiences
18. Global/Cross Cultural Case Studies in Communications, Argenti
19. Executive Panel on the Role of Global Communications in Leadership
20. Comprehensive Final Examination
Communication Coaching and Labs 10 sessions
Lab sessions for coaching and editing, rewriting would be held weekly for 1.5 hours in groups of around 18 students. The five sessions would meet from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in a dedicated writing lab.
Writing and Editing 6 assignments from IMC field: The assignments would depend on your background education, experience and testing with your peers. It would continue to include advertising, public relations, direct marketing and general business assignments. All work would be evaluated on progress in performance.
Oral Communications Delivery 4 assignments: Each student will prepare two 2-3 minute presentations that will be videoed and critiqued. Some will be presented to the entire student body.