Insight #12: Tips and Tricks

For this assignment, our task was to reflect on the work we’ve done throughout Dr. McArthur’s Integrated Strategic Communication course, while also shedding light on some “tips & tricks” for future students. After all of the work that has been accomplished in this intense 7 week course, it’s nice to give some feedback and any helpful advice for others.

(Image courtesy of Michael Krigsman’s article on ZDNet)

The first on the list is what I’ve learned. Oh boy, this could take a while. I feel like I learned the entire trade of what public relations professionals do, but I know this was just the tip of the iceberg. This course is highly necessary for anyone who wants to pursue PR as a career. In addition, I found it very helpful in honing my voice as a writer and improving my writing/blogging skills; that being said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all students to take this course. In all honesty, if it weren’t for this class being a requirement for my major, I’m not sure if I would have taken the challenge. However, I am glad it was because due to the work being intense and demanding, it made me feel such success after each assignment was completed. Fraser Seitel, author of the class text, was so brilliant. Usually textbooks are so dry to read, especially when it refers to a trade with such specifics, but it was quite easy to follow.

Second on the list is what I wish I would have known before the class. This is tricky; if I knew how intense the course was ahead of time, I might not have taken it in the summer, then again it was a blessing taking it in the summer because of how much time it demanded- time that is much easier to find during the summer than the fall/spring semesters. I have always taken summer courses, and preferred them online. At times I wish this course was in class, only because some assignments were new experiences for me and others were very specific. Nonetheless, Dr. McArthur and most participants in the course were always so helpful. If ever there was an issue or misunderstand, post it to moodle and usually within a day or two someone will respond with an answer. This saved me so many times!

What was the most valuable learning of mine was third on the list. My dream is to pursue a career in writing, specifically being a movie critic. Since every single assignment was completed and uploaded on WordPress (a blog site) it increased my skills and knowledge of how to use and navigate through a blog. Times are-a-changing, and almost everything is paperless today. Whether during this course or in my near, near future, I would have needed to become more in-tune with my blogging techniques; this class was a great way to do so. It also inspired me to continue doing so by creating my own personal blog. Most people have been telling me to do so for so long, but this was just the push I needed.

Fourthly, what should a student do for success in this course? Whether you take this course during the summer, in class, or online, you NEED to be able to prioritize and manage your time wisely. Everyone says they are a procrastinator, and I thought I was too, but there is absolutely no room for that in this class. The most important and helpful thing you can do in this class is to work ahead. From day one, all assignments are available to do, so the work is what you make it. My schedule was a bit hectic, particularly Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I would do the assignments for those days ahead of time. Sometimes I would work through the weekend so that all my work for that week was completed. It really is up to you, which is great. Just don’t get behind, because once you’re behind it’s going to be extremely difficult to catch up; late assignments are not accepted! Also, make sure to look at every assignment and what it entails at least a day before it’s due- preferably two or three. This gives you insight on how much time it might take, depending on how comfortable you are with what the assignment is. If there was an assignment I planned to do the day of, but it required skills I have never used, I would rearrange my week and do it two days before- just in case.

The fifth and final point on the list is how I might use the skills I’ve learned to advance my career. The most important part of writing that I learned was being to differentiate between writing for the ear and writing for the eye. When you’re writing for the eye, you should be cautious to everything from your grammar to your tone of voice because it’s printed and permanent- your readers will be able to re-read and evaluate what you’ve said. Writing for the ear is much different. Even though you should be just as cautious when writing for the ear, any mistake or grammatical error isn’t as easy for people to pick up; most importantly, they can reference back to it. This is so crucial for all communications majors- and really, just about anyone- to know; especially those who want to pursue any career in writing. Learning all of this has only diversified my writing skills, and given me new insight on different techniques to writing.

(Image courtesy of


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