Replace Your “For Dummies” Collection With THIS Online Learning Resource

SMU Libraries has just started a subscription to O’Reilly’s Learning Platform for Higher Education, that includes e-books, case studies, videos, and Learning Paths.  Topics range from graphic design, software training, leadership, job search, and business strategy.  Here is a sampling of what is available:

UX Design – From Beginner to Professional Learning Path

This learning path is designed to teach you basic and advanced concepts in UX design with the help of real-world use cases on process, design, and techniques.

Careers for Creative People: Design and some real world advice from ridiculously talented individuals doing jobs they love

This book provides a comprehensive list of creative jobs in advertising, career best practices, and advice from experts in their field, helping talented creative people.

The Handbook of International Advertising Research

The handbook’s comprehensive treatment highlights existing knowledge, reports major findings across the subject, and recommends directions and agendas for future research.

Adobe InDesign CC Classroom in a Book (2019 Release)

The 15 project-based step-by-step lessons in this book show users the key techniques for working in InDesign. Designers will build a strong foundation of typographic, color, page layout, and document-construction skills that will enable them to produce a broad range of print and digital publications.

Need help? Want to know more about research or databases for advertising? Contact Megan.

TAI Student Rani Vestal Shares about the Graphic Design Minor

Did you know that you can minor in graphic design at SMU? SMU Advertising offers this minor to provide students with a basic understanding and development of skills necessary for design across all media.

I’m currently a junior and always knew that I wanted a creative career – I just didn’t know what it could be. So when I declared my English major in Dedman College as a sophomore, due to my love of writing and literature, I also considered minoring in other disciplines to figure out what I wanted to do in the real world. When I searched through the latest course catalog, I was most intrigued by the Typography class because I love art and fonts. However, I couldn’t take it because I needed to 1) declare the graphic design minor and 2) take three prerequisite classes. With limited Photoshop and Illustrator experience, I met with Cheryl, declared the minor and enrolled in Creative Production. My minors now include history, Spanish, and graphic design. They surprisingly fuse together nicely.

The graphic design minor is unique because it unites students from a variety of majors including the three advertising tracks, studio art and English. We all have different creative interests from 90s album covers to pop art which manifest in our work. I love the classes when we collectively critique design roughs because my peers’ feedback is always valuable and respectful – this ultimately pushes me to better my deigns. I also find it fascinating that we can be given the same project guidelines and produce utterly different, yet equally compelling, work. After taking the same courses these last few years, we’ve really bonded and come to understand each other’s styles in a small graphic design “cohort.” 

I’ve almost completed the fourth and final prerequisite of the minor, and am eager to begin taking elective courses. However, the prerequisites were valuable and here’s why:

  • Creative Production (ADV 1360)
    This class taught me essential keyboard shortcuts in the Adobe Creative Suite which immediately expedited my design process. Having previously learned the programs by myself, these tricks were seriously ground-breaking and make me feel like a design wizard.

  • Word and Image, Art and Design: 1900-Present (ADV 2323)
    This was also right up my alley because it merges two of my favorite subjects: history and graphic design. I still reference the textbook from this class for inspiration because it streamlines historic design samples from cave art in Lascaux, France to postmodern Pee-wee Herman (my latest rediscovery is Lester Beall).
  • Introduction to Graphic Design (ADV 3323)
    I really enjoyed this course because I finally began integrating my knowledge of software and design into class projects. Seeing my personal work in print for the first time, instead of work for a client, was electrifying. I enjoyed learning color theory and creating packaging design for a Monster 826 coffee company.
  • Typography (3361)
    The course I’ve been waiting for! We hit the ground running this semester and dove into typeface classification, calligraphy and more. So far, I’ve prototyped a bitmap typeface and created album art for an angry Aztec band (Spanish + graphic design unite!). By this point, we’re all sort of “type geeks” and I love that we can identify and criticize typefaces together.

Despite my liberal arts major, the minor has helped me land a few advertising internships. Working at SLANT Partners in Downtown Dallas refined my professional skills because I learned how to gracefully correspond with clients. And the skills I developed through the graphic design classes also allowed me to work on real client projects including the brand development of a local philanthropic bakery. I now intern for the Temerlin Advertising Institute which has helped me meet more SMU Advertising faculty and learn about local networking opportunities. Because of this, I feel more connected to the school and industry alike.

If you’re considering the minor or are already enrolled in related courses, I encourage you to explore personal creative projects just for fun. The time you spend ‘playing’ is when you can really discover and develop your unique creative style. I spend much of my free time developing websites and animating graphics because those opportunities interest me but have not yet presented themselves in my courses. I also believe that I’m happier and more confident in my design skills through personal creative outlets because there’s no client or GPA pressure.

I’m excited to launch my creative career as a graphic designer after I graduate which would not be possible without the knowledge and experience I’ve acquired through the graphic design classes. I hope to work for a creative agency that specializes in digital, branding and packaging design. I’ve also considered freelancing before I eventually open up my own coffee shop… stay tuned.

Click here to learn more about the graphic design minor and course offerings.

Graphic Panel of CD Insert
Branding for Personal Podcast
Magazine Layout for Boaz Commons
Physical Representation of Bitmap Typeface

Neuroscience Proves Advertising’s Effectiveness

Conrad Li and Lauren Howard

“Great creative is about the gut feel and neuroscience proves it to be real.”

As advertisers we assume that great creative pieces will automatically result in high-recall and brand recognition. Human brains are decidedly lazy and have to be working all the time to gather and understand information, which means that advertisers need to work hard to make both the advertising message interesting and memorable.

In order for brands to be successful with their advertisements, they need to be understanding of the different ways to connect with consumers. They need to reduce the cognitive load that consumers are experiencing through their advertisements so that viewers don’t feel overwhelmed, but still understand the idea and message of the ad. Brands need to focus on three kinds of thinking to be successful and reduce the cognitive load: Brand Kind, Behavior Kind, and most importantly Brain Kind.

Brand Kind is the reality or relationship consumers have with brands; they are looking for “friends with benefits” relationship where they get what they want from the brand without too much effort. Behavior kind deals with the ability and opportunity for ads to bring a change in behavior such as making a purchase. Brain Kind is the most important one for brands to focus on and it deals with the visual shortcuts that allow brands to connect consumers using as many senses as possible. When ads only use one sense to reach consumers, there is not as much engagement, recognition, resonance, or relevance.

The speakers throughout this session showed that they used neuroscience to measure the key metrics stated above. Some of the world’s most memorable and well performing ads rated highly in engagement, but sometimes had the lowest brand recall. By using neuroscience, the presenters were trying to find a sweet spot between creativity and memory. Since memory is a finite resource, creatives need to find the best way to garner as much of it as possible. They believe that better experiences and engagement of senses can help with brand recall, but too much will lead to cognitive overload.

Brands that use creative ways to create moving ads (such as video) and experiential setups have the highest recognition, resonance, and relevance. Ads such as Sony’s Bravio Balls and Apple’s 1984 have high recall and recognition because of the ways they engage the brain. In the end, ads that have great creative elements that involve using different senses and direct brand messaging are the ones that stay with us the longest.

Meet Megan Heuer: The Advertising Librarian!

For those of you who have not met me before, I am the librarian for Temerlin.  I always enjoy working with the advertising students on the kinds of critical thinking needed for secondary research.  The students at Temerlin never cease to impress me with the creativity and enthusiasm they bring to the work!  We have so many great services at the SMU Libraries, so here’s a rundown of things you should take advantage of.

  • Advertising Research Guides – Find these attached to advertising courses in Canvas by clicking “Library Help.” I create these online guides to make advertising research easier for you.
  • One-on-One Research Help – Sometimes you just need to talk through your project with a person. I meet with individuals and small groups, either in person or online. I can’t tell you how many times I have had students say that they don’t know why they ever waited so long to take advantage of this service!
  • Chat Help – If you need help immediately, you can chat with one of the library’s research assistants. You can find this anywhere on the library website by clicking the red “Ask Us” flag on the upper right side.
  • Workshops – Adulting 101, Finding Balanced News, Advanced Internet Research, Making Citation Easier, How to Read Scholarly Article – these are some of the topics that are offered through our workshop program. Is there a topic you would like to suggest?  Would you like to schedule a custom session for a group of students?  Let me know!

Contact:
Megan Heuer
mheuer@smu.edu
(214) 768-1856
Make an appointment

Alumna Feature: Amy Cooley ’18

I came to SMU and wanted to be a theater major. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. At the beginning of my freshman year, I asked myself, “what can I study that still allows me to be surrounded by unique, creative, and thought-provoking people?” Luckily, I found Advertising which allowed me to think creatively, problem-solve, and exhibit my presentation skills acquired from experience in theater. I also majored in Spanish which helped me learn more about other cultures.  This better positioned me to navigate the world advertising because I can understand and interact with people who speak different languages.

After being accepted into the TAI Strategic Brand Management program, I met with my academic advisor. She told me about Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency in Dallas. After that conversation, my goal was to work for Dieste because it fuses my two majors and celebrates the diversity of every person.

I was hired as a Project Manager at Dieste after I graduated in May. In my opinion, the project manager is one of the most valuable positions to have at an agency. I oversee the strategic process from start to finish and interact with every department that is involved with the project (e.g. creative production, financials, brand leadership). I am now knowledgeable of the departments’ goals so I can empathize with them and better understand their needs. This will help me in the future as I continue to navigate different fields in advertising.

I cannot speak more highly of TAI and the faculty because they prepared me for my first professional role in Advertising. My brand management classes taught me how to think strategically, how to strengthen brands, and how to manage specific daily tasks. My ethics course helped me view the world through different cultural perspectives and understand the ethical responsibility in advertising. And although I was not enrolled in the Creative Advertising program, the Introduction to Creativity course prepared me for the wonderful weirdness that I experience among the creatives on my team. Finally, my two years of experience on Ad Team solidified what I had learned. I exemplified my project management skills as the Team Director and provided prospective employers with a printed plan book, visual and textual proof of my professional skills. I was confident in my interview with Dieste but I believe that the book sealed the deal.

I encourage current TAI students to embrace the department, the faculty, and the programs it offers (like Ad Team *wink*). While actually working in the field leverages your professional experience, TAI gets you there as close as possible. Additionally, I encourage you to embrace your niche. Continue to pursue your passions. Working at Dieste has further emphasized the importance of embracing cultures. Beyond ethnicity and heritage, the unique interests of people become parts of their culture. As advertisers, the better we can understand everyone’s interests, the better we can connect them to the brands we represent.

Alumna Feature: Jolie Guz ’18

You never know where a single Instagram contest will take you. For me, one little Instagram post allowed me to present an elevator pitch to Scott Belsky, Chief Product Development Officer of Adobe. He basically makes all creative careers possible. That elevator pitch won me a trip to Adobe MAX,  an annual creative conference. During this three-day conference in Los Angeles, four thousand art directors, designers, and typeface enthusiasts join together and dive deeper into the software that makes our jobs possible. We tested out new features, listened to industry leaders, and nabbed a TON of free stuff (my favorite freebie was an ACTUAL type specimen! It’s a little metal piece of a letterpress that came in a tiny labeled test tube. SO COOL!). The conference encouraged me to get outside of my laptop and appreciate all the awesomeness of design and how it brings together incredibly interesting people and projects.

I recently graduated from TAI in May but my SMU experience has given me the warmest welcome into the real world. I work with several former TAI rockstars at BBDO in New York –  several of whom were in my own cohort! I also still bother my professors even though I’m no longer in their classes (Sorry Mark for de-railing your Advanced Portfolio class a couple weeks ago!). My education didn’t stopped when I left the classroom. The foundation of skills that I learned at TAI gave me the confidence to enter the art direction world wholeheartedly. My professors taught me that it’s always okay to ask questions and to seek advice from trusted friends and colleagues to strengthen my work.

Scott said it best in his opening keynote presentation on the first day of MAX: “The best way to learn to create is by seeing how others create.” TAI allowed me to learn from and alongside some of my favorite creative minds and I feel endlessly grateful for that opportunity.

Oh, and I’m grateful for Instagram contests too!

Instagram Submission Graphics

Ethical Dimensions of Art and Design

By: TAI Professor Mark Allen

As someone who has studied both art and philosophy, people regularly ask me what, if anything, they have in common. While I think that there are many fascinating ways in which these two domains overlap, one similarity that I find particularly interesting is the intersection of ethics and aesthetics.

One way that ethics and aesthetics are similar is that they both deal with value. When we say that a painting or a deed is “good,” at least one of the things we mean is that the thing or action in question has value. When we say that a painting or a deed is “bad,” at least one of the things we mean is that it has little value, or even negative value insomuch that it diminishes our experience of life or the world around us. It’s why we use words like “beautiful” and “ugly” interchangeably to describe both artistic works and moral acts.

– That was a beautiful song. 

– That was a beautiful thing you did. 

– That sculpture is ugly. 

– That was a really ugly thing to say. 

In other words, murder is not merely wrong, there is something truly ugly about it. And when a painter puts the final brushstroke on the canvas, there is something distinctly right about it. So, there seems to be an aesthetic dimension to the moral life and an ethical dimension to the aesthetic.

Whether it be moral or artistic, things of value improve our lives in some way. But it is important to point out that many of the things we value most (like good art and good deeds) are worth pursuing for their own sake, regardless of any utilitarian benefit we get out of them. Sure, listening to certain types of music can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Those who live a life of kindness and generosity often experience the rush of positive feelings and a general sense of well-being. Such benefits are real and welcome, but nonetheless secondary. Good music is valuable even if it doesn’t reduce our heart rate (sometimes it does just the opposite). Acts of kindness and generosity often go unnoticed and lead to self-sacrifice.

Another thing that the spheres of ethics and aesthetics share is the concept of wisdom. No one appreciates it when their difficult seasons or ethical dilemmas are met with oversimplified advice and platitudes from those who mean well, but lack the awareness and nuanced sensitivity that a situation calls for. so often life doesn’t seem to play by any rules, which is why—when things gets complicated—we seek out the counsel of the wise, not just the intelligent or talented. Nor those who have simply memorized a rigid code of conduct: Always do this. Never do that.

Of course, it’s important to start with the “unbreakable” rules that all people everywhere value: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie. We instruct children to tell the truth, to be kind and to respect their elders. And yet, as they mature we explain that there may come a time when other rules come into play. When a stranger asks if a parent is home; when a bully is cruel to the weak or marginalized; when an adult behaves inappropriately toward a child. It such cases, it’s not time to be nice. But the proper responses in these situations are not somehow violations of the fundamental moral principles of truth, kindness and respect—quite the contrary, the fitting responses are based on and upheld by the most basic fundamentals.

Over the course of my career I’ve been able to witness these parallels play out in the classroom, particularly my design classes. [1] Pick up any good textbook on the topic and more than likely you’ll find a set of rules that, when followed, lead to good design. My go-to text for beginners is Timothy Samara’s Design Elements, which starts off with just such a section entitled, “Twenty Rules You Should Never Break.” Here Samara makes it clear that students of design should:

#4 Never use more than two typefaces. 

#8 Never fill up all the negative space in a layout. 

#18 Always make sure your composition is dynamic and full of motion.” [2]

I like Samara because he is great for beginners in that he gives clear-cut, easy-to-follow rules that help students avoid some of the most common pitfalls that the untrained or self-taught designer may struggle with. However, the complaint I frequently get after a few weeks is that Samara’s method is a very strict and narrow way to approach such an artful discipline. I mean, is the process of design really just a set of rules? A flowchart of do’s and don’ts?

In one sense, I think my students are right to complain—the book does start off in a rather rigid fashion. Always do this, never do that. But the other big reason I use this text is the way Samara ends the book with a chapter devoted to examples of how each and every one of his twenty rules can be broken. Of course, Samara saves this chapter for the end because he is a seasoned professional and an experienced educator. He knows that, until students master the fundamentals, they have not yet developed the aesthetic savvy needed to flex foundational principles like an experienced pro. The fact that Samara offers up twenty ways to break his twenty rules is not proof that aesthetic relativism is true; it only reveals that both skill and experience are needed in order to become a good designer.

When teaching through this text I always stress that Samara does not end his book by saying “Now, throw out all the rules I mentioned earlier and do whatever you want because, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If this were true we could choose type, color and style arbitrarily, despite the context or meaning of the work. By contrast, Samara provides detailed, illustrated examples of legitimate exceptions—not contradictions. It’s why the actual name of his final chapter is When and Why to Break Every Rule in this Book.”

Personally, I wish Samara had used a different word than “break” because it’s not as if he is teaching students to actually violate or contradict any fundamental rules of design here. He’s making an appeal to a higher (yet complementary) set of principles that can only be properly wielded with a great deal of knowledge and experience. The examples he gives are exceptions based on more advanced rules that don’t translate well into pithy lists, templates or 140 characters—methods that are the domain of master designers and artists. Perhaps there is a proper time and place for truisms and templates, but with complex themes and problems comes the need for artists who have more than just a set of skills, but in a very real sense demonstrate a certain kind of artistic wisdom.

Aristotle’s approach to ethics most closely embodies what I’m trying to demonstrate and is largely based on what is known as the Golden Mean—that is, finding a “middle” way between the extremes of deficiency and excess. For example, courage is a virtue with respect to how someone responds to danger—if taken to one extreme in excess, it becomes recklessness, while the deficient extreme manifests itself as cowardice. It is no accident that Aristotle uses art as a way to illustrate this concept in his Nicomachean Ethics:

“Hence people are accustomed to saying that there is nothing to take away from or add to works [of art] that are in a good state, on the grounds that the good state is destroyed by excess and deficiency but the mean preserves it; and the good craftsmen, as we say, perform their work by looking to this.” [3]

Aristotle says that we should always strive to be courageous (which might sound dogmatic). But he also says it’s important to take the particular person and situation into consideration (which might sound relativistic). But the beauty of his system is that the mean is not the exact middle, nor is it always found in the same place along the continuum between excess and deficiency. [4] Some situations call for the courageous person to act in a way that is closer to the reckless end of the spectrum, while in other situations what is courageous may seem like cowardice. For instance, a 6’4” military officer who wrestles an armed terrorist to the ground in order to save a train full of people vs. Rosa Parks who simply refused to give up her seat on a bus. Both people did the right thing—the equally courageous thing—but they did so in a way that was fitting for each context. [5]

In summary, when it comes to ethics, the well-lived life certainly comes with its fair share of rules—but it is the wise among us who are most skilled at navigating life’s complex seasons and dilemmas with earned experience and a familiarity with those moral principles of a higher but complementary order. Likewise, the fundamentals of art and design are inescapably important—in fact they form the only foundation from which more advanced skills and principles can be applied or even thought. The fact that such striking parallels show up across the seemingly unrelated disciplines of art and philosophy reveals something significant about the world and our shared experience of it—namely, that values like truth, goodness and beauty are perhaps aspects of reality itself and represent common goals toward which all humanity strives (whether we are conscious of it or not).

 

NOTES: 

[1] While I will focus here on parallels between philosophy and design, it should be noted that legendary advertising icon, Bill Bernbach, studied philosophy at NYU and remained an avid reader of philosophical works throughout his life. In fact, in a speech speech he gave to the 4A’s (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) in 1980, he specifically mentions Aristotle, St. Augustine and Bertrand Russell (among other thinkers) and relates their work to the task of advertising.

[2] Samara, Design Principles, pp. 10-23.

[3] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1106b 10-14.

[4] It is important to note here that the “middle” state that Aristotle advocates is not the exact middle or “average” between extremes, but rather a mean relative to the situation. With this feature, Aristotle’s ethics avoid the moderation fallacy (Ex: Jim isn’t paying attention and backs into Pam’s car. Even though it’s Jim’s fault, he offers to do what’s “fair” by meeting her in the middle and paying for half of the damages).

[5] Aristotle also points out that certain vices that are not on a continuum between extremes, so there is no mean. Ex: there is no “just right” amount of racism, cruelty or adultery.

My First Year at Temerlin Advertising Institute

By: TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang 

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since I joined Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI). Looking back, this is an incredible year filled with exciting opportunities and experiences.

TAI stands at the intersection between the advertising industry and the research community. The unique combination provides a great source of inspiration. Through many TAI initiatives over the year, I have been engaged in conversations with both top advertising scholars and industry leaders. I am able to further develop my research program not only by asking questions that are important to theories but also with the industry trends and needs in mind. As the convergence of media and technology has disrupted the landscape of advertising practice, I extended my research on traditional persuasion theories to the digital domain. I initiated research projects that explore how novel digital advertising practices such as native ads and advergames can be used to promote public health and social good. These projects received funding support from the Meadows School, the University Research Council, and the Sam Taylor Fellowship. With the support of TAI, I was able to present four research papers at the annual conferences of the American Academy of Advertising, National Communication Association, and International Communication Association.

As a professor, I always hope to help my students understand the real-world meanings of theories, and motivate them to transplant the knowledge acquired in the classroom to the world at large. Located in a vibrant city and connected to the industry community, TAI is a great place to implement this teaching philosophy. I am also impressed by TAI students’ motivation and their aptitude for making connections between the somewhat abstract academic process and their life. I have had student groups investigating consumers’ perceptions of Whole Foods after Amazon’s acquisition, exploring the use of experiential marketing strategies in military recruitment, and examining how car commercials affect gender stereotyping, just to name a few.

My collaboration with the 9-1-1 program in the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) in the classroom of Strategic Brand Management 2 is a highlight of this approach. Students formed four teams to perform a brand audit for the 9-1-1 program from different angles and provided executable plans for promoting its branding among the public, college students, elected officials, and telecommunication professionals. This task required the abilities to flexibly apply marketing principles in the textbook to the nonprofit context and to critically analyze real-world problems. My students excelled with their creativity, curiosity, and diligence.

Christy Williams, director of the 9-1-1 program, said, “Working with Yan and her students in the Strategic Brand Management class was a great benefit to the 9-1-1 program in the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).  Collaboration with academia is important to our program, as we understand that times are changing and there is value in students’ perspectives.  NCTCOG is very progressive with our technology and we want to keep up with our education and branding as well.  The students at SMU provided new insights and ideas through their class projects.  They served as a ‘fresh eye’ into our program and delivered professional constructive criticism along with proposals for improvement in their presentations. We expected advice on improving our website and social media, but were surprised with the insightful suggestions for presentations and field awareness.  The suggestion to ‘focus on inspiration more than education’ could change the future direction of our awareness strategy.  All in all, we found great value in the partnership.  In fact, we believe that the value will continue with a group of students who took a project to heart and made a difference.  Each one of them demonstrated that they are 9-1-1 champions!” It is certainly one of the most rewarding moments when I saw what students learned and accomplished in the classroom could make a difference in the real world.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of talented colleagues and to instill the passion for and knowledge of advertising into many gifted students. I look forward to another fruitful and joyful year.

Praise From a Class Client

Class Clients

In the program capstone course, Advertising Campaigns, our senior students showcase their accumulated knowledge through an intensive practical exercise. Working in small agency groups, they vie for the new business of a client. The client is real, in the room and judging their performance. The problems and the budgets are real. Students investigate, plan, develop strategies, create integrated marketing campaigns and solve clients’ advertising problems. We’ve worked with brands such as American Airlines, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Glidden, Nokia, Rockfish, Kinko’s, Hyundai, Postal Vault, Toyota Matrix, Bank of America, Waste Management, Wingstop and FLA USA.

Click to learn more or apply to be a Temerlin Class Client

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Praise from one of last semester’s class clients below…

May 16, 2018

Peter,

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for the marvelous work you and your students did on the marketing campaign for Cox Insurance.  I am thrilled with the results.  All of the campaigns went beyond my expectations and “hit it out of the ballpark.”  At the beginning of the project, you said that no client had ever been disappointed with the results and I am certainly no exception.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine a client being more happy than I am with the results.

All of the campaigns had useful information—some more than others—but the beauty of your method for teaching the students is that the competition generates an overall product which surely goes far beyond what would be possible otherwise.  In other words, the whole project is a brilliant conception, and that redounds to you.

It was very hard to pick a winner since all of the campaigns were extremely well conceived and dug deep into the market.  Red Chair’s winning campaign centered squarely on the reason why I started Cox Insurance in the first place, which is to save people time and give them the respect in the marketplace that such hard-working people deserve but have never had.

Again, thank you so much for helping me find the “nuggets” among Cox’s demographics.  I know that we have to pick a project winner and that’s why I’m writing, but let’s be clear—I’m the real winner here—and I know it.

 

Maria Coello

Cox Insurance Group, LLC

 

Why take a MayTerm or JanTerm Course?

MayTerm or JanTerm courses are not just if you need an extra class or are trying to make up for a failed course. These short courses, 11 class days and eight class days respectively, can be super beneficial and enjoyable. In both situations there are no other courses being taken at the same time so a student’s focus is only on the readings, lecture notes, and assignments of that one specific class.

Mayterm courses are about four class hours a day and JanTerm classes are about eight hours a day, so usually there is no time for extracurricular activities or part-time jobs. At first, this might scare off students, but it is only for 11 or eight class days and you are done with a three credit course for your major or minor as well as potentially a UC requirement. Also, during these two weeks, one’s focus only being on the course material helps learn the concepts well. Students can review material and continually be using and building on material from the day before and the day before that, while the professor can take additional time to review difficult concepts not always possible in class during a regular semester.

I have taught 17 week courses, JanTerm and MayTerm classes as well as 5 week summer sessions. I really think many students do better and enjoy learning the material in a shorter term course when they have only the course material to focus on.

The other element is the bonding that happens between students and also with the faculty member and students. Since people are together every day and for long periods of time, you really become a team in learning the material and working together while almost having a family like feeling. The latter point is further conducive to learning the material while enjoying the time spent learning.

For students unsure about how they would do in a course or nervous about the content, a short semester course is a great option. The average grade when I teach has typically been a little higher than the class average in a regular 17 week long semester because students learn the material better with few outside distractions. Students who sometimes struggle in a bigger class or during a 17 week semester, often find more opportunities within the class to clarify concepts and certainly outside of class time with the opportunity of seeing the professor every day.  In many cases, a MayTerm or JanTerm course is smaller during these off semester learning opportunities, which again allows for deeper learning and richer dialogue in the classroom.

On this last point, the smaller and more intensive structure allows for interesting projects to arise that may not always be possible during a longer session or with a larger class size. One year, my MayTerm ethics in advertising course undertook a volunteer opportunity to help clean up a nearby park. In the process, they learned about the park and the neighborhood in order to create a marketing plan for how to engage the community in using and taking care of the park. This past MayTerm (2018) we tackled the issue of Mental Health and students developed proposals for matching brands with different facets of Mental Health with the goal of bringing awareness to the issues and to help normalize the conversation.

Please consider a short-semester course in your future. The Temerlin Advertising Institute often offers courses in Ethics, Production, Advertising in Dallas or Advertising in NYC as well as Campaigns. Check out your course catalogue online to see what might be available for you.

By Carrie La Ferle, Ph.D.
Distinguished Teaching Professor
Temerlin Advertising Institute