5 ideas for marketing and communications professors success in the classroom

Here in the United States, we’re just about to embark on a new academic year and therefore this is a good time for me to provide some ideas for instructors. If you know a professor who teaches marketing or communications (or a student taking a course in these areas), please pass this on.

It's exciting how far we've come in the area of marketing and public relations education at our colleges and universities worldwide. Just two years ago I found the state of university instruction generally so poor that I wrote a post titled Many marketing and communications professors are criminals. While I'm nowhere near as pessimistic as I was then, the academic world is very resistant to change (especially those with tenure), so there are definitely people who still resist teaching the new rules of marketing.

Here are some ideas I've learned from professors around the world that you might use in your classroom.

1. Care about your students

Take a look at this post from Bill Sledzik, Associate Professor, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Kent State University: Why we teach: Reflections on 20 years in the classroom.

Bill is someone who understood very early that we're going through a change towards digital. Because he cares about students, he implemented the ideas in the classroom before almost anyone else.

Here's an interview I did with Bill to learn more about what he does so well.

Direct link to Bill Sledzik discuses modern Public Relations education on YouTube.

2. Show, don't tell

One of the best ways to get students active with social media is to use popular platforms as tools in class. For example, you can use a blog as the course syllabus. Twitter could be the way people ask questions outside of class (longer answers could be posted somewhere with a link). Other platforms that could be used include Slideshare for presentations and Pinterest for links.

3. Encourage students to get away from the CV and resume

One of the most important things you can do for students is prepare them for the real world of job search. Starting right from the first year, students need to find internships. Upon graduation, they need full time work. Sadly, the vast majority of marketing and communications students still focus exclusively on the boring old plain text CV.

You should encourage students to start a personal blog as part of class. The blog will serve as a way to get them known to potential employers. For example, here's new Tufts graduate Lindsey Kirchoff's blog.

4. Pick a local nonprofit and do a pro-bono makeover of their online marketing

Having students work together to help a local organization is a good way to actually implement ideas. You can see the results in just one term and it will help a worthy cause.

5. Choose the right classroom materials

My book The New Rules of Marketing and PR, now in its third edition, is used in many hundreds of universities around the world. It's a primary or supplemental text in Marketing courses and Public Relations courses as well as MBA programs, entrepreneurial offerings and journalism classes.

My publishers, John Wiley & Sons, have put together a special resources page, which includes free instructor materials that you can use in class to supplement The New Rules of Marketing and PR. The materials are free, however, you need to register on the site to get access.

Are you a professor? What techniques do you use?

If you’re a student or recent graduate, what were some of the effective ways you were taught?

David Meerman Scott

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