Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quoted in Hot, Flat and Crowded

Professor Speth is soon going to be on stage at Coker discussing his take on the global changes our world is undergoing. Dr. Pat Lincoln sent out a note to faculty reminding them of this upcoming event, part of the Lois-Coker Walters lecture series and a major element of the Coker Centennial celebration. So, here is Dr. Lincoln's announcement:

The Centennial Celebration continues with the Lois Walters Coker Lecture Series address by Dr. James "Gus" Speth Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy at Yale.

“The Environmental Crisis and the Coming Transformation”

Wednesday, October 29th at 8:00 p.m., Watson Theater

Don’t miss this remarkable opportunity to hear from one the nation’s leading environmentalists and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Dr. Speth will talk about the major changes in our economic and political systems that must be made in order to avoid an environmental catastrophe. More about Dr. Speth and the topic of his address can be found at http://www.coker.edu/news/GUS_SPETH_2008.html

AND—an even more remarkable opportunity for members of the Coker College community—Dr. Speth will lead a “guided discussion” the day after his lecture on Thursday, October 30th at 11:00 a.m. in the Drawing Room.

Dr. Speth will make opening remarks and then field questions from the audience. Imagine having this extraordinary chance to interact directly with someone who has played such a major role in shaping environmental policies! Seating in the Drawing Room is limited, so anyone present will be able to participate in the discussion, if they wish to do so.

Patricia G. Lincoln, Ph.D. Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Coker College Hartsville, SC 29550

Here is a youtube video that shows Dr. Speth in a recent discussion on some of his ideas.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ragan Seminar Loaded with information

Just got back from the Ragan Communications seminar on Corporate Communications in a Web 2.0 world. There was a great emphasis on the use of Social Media as a communication tool within organizations and as a way to reach customers and other stakeholders. This semester I am teaching the Organizational Communication class here at Coker and with this seminar up in Carey, NC, at the SAS World Headquarters it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. Will be blogging more about this but today I want to show a sample of this social media. First -- we have the blog, one of the most obvious tools of social media. And, you can embed photos and videos in blogs. This conference seemed like a great opportunity to ask some of the professionals in the field about advice for students who will soon be in the job market. Shel Holtz, who was getting ready to give the morning's keynote address on Trends that may take us to the 3.0 world shared a short thought for students in the video on today's blog. Shel, is one of the thought leaders in social media.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Senior has interesting take on "Green"

Kat Friedmann posted an feature story at Hartsvilletoday.com. I am guessing it stems from an assignment in her feature writing class this semester. Hope some of the other students feel good enough about their stories to post for a larger readership. Here is the link for Kat's story. Lots of interesting things come from these classes at Coker and Kat, who has worked several internships while a student, has developed a pretty lengthy resume.

"Link Love" newly added to my lexicon

At Coker I have the good fortune to be teaching a variety of courses that I put under the umbrella of professional communication studies. These are courses like public relations, organizational communications, media writing, crisis communication and others. This field, like many fields, is changing rapidly in today's information age. That is one reason I thought the Ragan "Corporate Communications in a Web 2.0 World" would be a good conference to attend. The fact that it is at the SAS World Headquarters in Carey, NC, (driving distance from Coker)helped it make even more sense.

One of the fields in which I have a strong interest is the whole question of Social Media as a corporate communication tool. Yesterday I got to sit in on a session by Shel Holtz, a Web 2.0 guru. He introduced me to the term "link love." Probably it is a term I should have known because I have been reading another guru on this subject, Paul Gillin and going to wejavascript:void(0)binars to see how blogging can be used for both internal and external communication, I guess hearing it made it sink in. Link Love is something those who blog strive for. Having other people link to your blog and linking your thoughts to others' blogs is one way of getting your messages more coverage. Link Love is the term that sticks in my mind but there is a great deal of other material that will be useful, even to the Organizational Communication class that I am currently teaching. I am also hoping it will be extremely useful for the messages about Selling Hartsville.

The main message in Holtz' first session was how to establish relationships with bloggers who might be writing about subjects that are important to an organization's goals. For example, if a blogger is writing about college decisions by seniors, a discussion of how Coker sets up campus visits might be useful for the blogger. That kind of notice in a blog with lots of "link love" would get Coker College some additional notice. The subtitle of Paul Gillin's newest book on "Secrets of Social Media Marketing" is "How to Use Online Conversations and Customer Communities to Turbo-Charge Your Business." Both the presentation by Shel Holtz and the Gillin book are emphasizing the concept of CONVERSATION as a communication tool. While the conversation concept is not new to corporate communicators, the technology is now in place to actually implement conversations for both internal and external audiences and your organization.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poetry By Julia Klimek

is featured online. Dr. Klimek is an English professor at Coker. One of the great things about the Coker experience is being able to share some of this fantastic work.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Creating Media about the Coker Experience

One of the courses I teach is called INTRODUCTION TO MASS COMMUNICATION, CULTURE AND MEDIA LITERACY. In the material we cover, media literacy is one of the underlying themes; often a concept the students have not discussed in those terms in their previous talks about media. One assignment that continues to provide surprises is the assignment Coker College where I ask the students to create a piece of media about the Coker experience. This assignment has evolved from using Polaroid cameras to create posters to the developing of complex power points. And, today's class set the bar higher as one of the teams had a student with final cut pro on his personal computer and they skipped the story board idea and went right to video.

The objectives of this project and this section of the class are to help the students get some concrete understanding of Media Literacy Concepts like:

Media are constructions
Media representations construct reality
Media have commercial purposes
Audiences negotiate meaning
Each medium has is own codes and conventions
Media messages contain values and ideology and
Media many have social effects, outcomes and consequences.

This project provided the class with the concrete representation. The teams all had the same assignment. Tell an audience about Coker.
video could take awhile to upload. A group that included several athletes focused on athletics, showing Coker from the Athlete perspective. Another group focused on the learning experience of the round-table classroom while providing background on things at the college. A third group focused on the theme of Coker as your home while another group provided a story of the college from founding to today. And another team used the media player function of the computer to combine power point and video to highlight happenings in this centennial year. While a 50 minute class did not do justice to the explanations, it did provide the students with a good view of how each of the teams constructed a slightly different "reality" using different content for their message. The idea of codes and conventions really took hold when those who had done the power point as assigned felt they were out of the running when they saw the two videos. Each team did understand the commercial aspects because of focus either on prospective students or prospective donors.

From the instructor perspective, it was fun to see the media literacy principles come alive. David Considine of Appalachian State was the first to introduce them to me in one of his Media Literacy courses. One of his media literacy focused books is Visual Images

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debates get some viewers

One of my recurring soap box presentations this semester has been the "interesting" times in which we are living in our country. So, how to make that connect with students. One idea, which I used four years ago, was to invite students to a debate viewing party. Sometimes, when you add food, you can get some interest. So on Tuesday night about 12 students came in to watch the town-hall style debate between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. A couple of students wandered in later after hearing about food but many stuck through the debate's nearly 90 minutes. We were much like the audience in the debate hall, polite, watchful, listening. We did not spend time analyzing the comments or even voting on a debate winner. My observation was that the students were listening closely and they understand the importance of this election. I think several of them were glad they invested the time -- and not just because of the pizza or tacos.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homecoming 2008 -- 100 Years

It is really good to see all the former students back for Homecoming though you begin to feel old when it seems like this past May when a student graduated by he declares he is in his third year of law school. I think both Alex Kornfeld and I think that time is flying.

And, Jen Crocker Roberts spent two years in the business world and is now pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Converse. She is going into early childhood and here Dr. Joe Rubinstein is showing her a couple of math tricks to work with the young students.

And, Stryker, the mascot, was intriguing to Dr. Joe and Dr.Katie's young ones.

There was a great deal going on over the weekend with sports center stage as baseball, girls soccer and guys soccer all had games. The basketball teams played some alumni games and I probably missed somewhere else. We did hear again that the Landmark in Hartsville is not a place anyone wants to stay. And, The Spencers were really great at the Coker-Hartsville Concert Series on Friday night.

This was also the weekend that the Hartsville - The Art of Good Living marketing campaign was launched.