What? Students don’t want less blog work? Well, I do!

Last week, I lamented to the world about how my marking load is killing me.

In some ways, that blog post was a cry for help, a plea for ideas as to how I can minimize the amount of time—often whole weekends—that I spend evaluating student work.

I received lots of great suggestions. Here are some:

  1. Have the students evaluate themselves (I already do that—the evaluators get graded for the quality of their evaluations—but I don’t yet feel comfortable allowing students to grade one another).
  2. Have students write blogs every second week and grade only three of five instead of grading four of eight weekly posts.
  3. Incorporate my concurrent paper-based assignments into the blogs.
All in all, the midterm feedback from advertising students was good

All in all, the midterm feedback from advertising students was good

After receiving these suggestions from a number of colleagues, I reviewed with my students their informal evaluations of my Writing for Marketing class and asked them if they’d like to see the blog assignment reduced.

I expected a resounding “yes.” But that’s not what they said.

They seemed to like the idea of incorporating other assignments into the weekly blogs so that they don’t have to submit two concurrent assignments in a week. But they also told me that the blogging should remain a weekly task, that it was necessary to help them to steadily grow as writers and as advertising and marketing industry observers.

Wow. I didn’t see that one coming—despite some of the thrilling comments I received from students in the informal midterm evaluation I had them do. Here are some of their comments about the blog assignment:

  • I am really enjoying the blogging assignment. I like researching new topics in the field (of advertising and marketing) and finding my writing weaknesses and strengths.
  • The blog assignment is the best thing that’s ever happened to me as far as a helpful writing exercise.
  • I like having lots of opportunity to write in a creative fashion.
  • I was not (initially) excited about the blogging project, but I have surprisingly not had a bad time with it.

About the course in general, 11 students out of 44 who completed the midterm evaluation, told me the workload is too heavy. This was a common criticism, so I’ll be reducing the workload for next year. Overall, though, comments were positive. Here are a few of the ones that made my day:

  • Perfect. Learning lots from Frank.
  • This is the first writing class that I’ve ever enjoyed. I like the dynamic teaching style that you use because it makes otherwise dry material easy to digest.
  • You’re one of my favourite teachers I’ve ever had.
  • The pace of the class is great. The lectures are followed up with labs, which makes retention much easier as a student. Practical application of lessons taught is much more effective than quizzes on terminology.
  • I feel my grammar skills have improved greatly.
  • I look forward to what comes next.

It looks like I’m doing most things right. And the weekly blogging assignment, in all its weekend-killing glory, is here to stay.

I’ll just have to find other ways to reduce my teaching workload.

So get ready, students, because I want my weekends back and next semester is going to be a whole different ball game.


Without further ado, here are my favourite first-year blogs of the week:

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 5.37.33 PMKassanda DeGuire urges others to get out of their comfort zone in her post Shut up and do it!. Indeed, Kassandra was not happy to hear at the start of the semester that she would have to write a weekly blog. Five weeks later, she’s found a new passion.

It’s hard not to chuckle when you read Chantal Lauzon’s prose. This week, in her post Cleverly Corny, she writes about how even the corniest, most annoying ads can be effective.

Blogmeister Jason Manuge muses about the future of the smart watch in advertising in his latest post and shows off his Pebble. I have tech envy.

Swedish international student Maja Jordahl reflects on the difference in advertising between Canada and Sweden when it comes to respecting gender neutrality.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 5.41.03 PMIn Your Digital Addiction, Victoria Butler introduces us to RescueTime, a computer application that can monitor the amount of time one spends on social media sites. Just knowing she’s being monitored is already helping her to get back to the real world (or not?).

Andrea Bedford shares a lesson from the class of marketing prof. Kathy Patterson about one of the eight appeal techniques used in advertising: the negative appeal technique.

Ryan Maybee admits that a recent presentation at the monthly meeting of my Fuse Mentorship Program has opened his eyes to the importance to his career of networking while in college: networking with classmates, professors, and folks in the outside world.

In It’s a small world after all, Adam Wemp teaches us that social media is about more than Facebook, Twitter, and “the other usual suspects.”

In Thank you, Ceren Tinar (aka JJ), writes about the power of the thank-you note and shares with us an effective thank-you note she wrote for moi. Thank you, JJ, for showing that you thoroughly absorbed my lesson on how to write a thank-you note.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 5.42.27 PMIn her Week 5 post, Sex sells and we like it, Sarah Kidd reflects on a lesson on the eight appeal techniques used in marketing. Sarah shows us how sex is used to sway us—maybe even “trick” us—to buy products.

Victoria Gonidis shares how the smartphone is providing the “ideal buying experience” for the extroverted consumer in her Week 5 post Less time socializing.

Ciera Jones shares how “augmented reality” may be the future of advertising.


About teachingteacher

Business communications instructor, journalist, corporate communications writer and media trainer ... and Masters Candidate M.Ad.Ed.
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