Rock Star” Reality Check for Marketing Graduates”

2004 International Conference on College Teaching and Learning
Dr. Selia Karsten, Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario
Spring 2004

Abstract The Challenge Design and Development Learning Outcomes
Class Schedule Assessment of Learning Activities and Projects Lessons Learned  Resources


This presentation highlights design and development strategies for a one-hour, fifth semester, hybrid, project-based, career planning course for Marketing Administration students. Too often students fantasize that they'll grab glamour positions when they graduate. In this course they'll collaboratively create multimedia profiles of marketing graduates as "real world" case studies.  In the process, they'll hone job search skills and develop effective portfolios, eportfolios and calling cards to use in networking.

The Challenge

In developing this Marketing Career Planning course, a major challenge was to cover the essentials of job search in one hour a week. Students dream of positions in the marketing industry that are highly unlikely at entry level. They can however find work using their soft or transferable skills, positioning them to move up the professional ladder. Students need to review marketing essentials and related skills that they've acquired in the program. The usual career–related content must also be included: research, networking, job search, investigating employers, interview skills, support systems and professional development plans. How can all of this be done successfully in such a short amount of class time?

Going beyond the usual strategies to polish job search skills, students learn what has actually happened to program graduates. Each team identifies, selects, interviews and documents the working life of a marketing graduate. Relevant artifacts are used to build an electronically enhanced portrait for presentation. What students learn is reflected as they build their own professional portfolios and eportfolios. Course work is monitored in weekly meetings. Career Centre workshops and online discussions in BlackBoard curriculum related forums give on-going support.

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Design and Development of the Course

The three year Marketing Administration Program at Seneca College has been undergoing review and revitalization as the School of Marketing and eBusiness aims to outshine offerings by the many marketing programs available in the greater Toronto, Ontario area colleges.

To work through the design of such a course, I selected two Marketing Administration graduates to work with to experience and document the process of creating their profiles to use as stimulus for a core course project. Ophilia Davis and Mel Bellissimo were previously students in my Computer Applications for Presentations course in 1996. Both were honors graduates and both have been out working since graduation. Ophilia is of Jamaican heritage and grew up in a large single parent family in low income housing. Mel is of Italian-Canadian descent and is one of three brothers who attended private schools before college.  In exchange for working with me as I developed the course from June through December of 2003, they were able to better assess their lives, their career choices and were guided in the building of portfolios and eportfolios.

In developing this course, I wanted to find a way to help students review the marketing program.  They need to polish job search skills, see the job market in realistic terms and work together with classmates to create a meaningful project that will help them survey graduates and employment opportunities in a new light. For this, I created a constructivist environment in which students can build on prior knowledge to construct new meaning related to his/her own reality. I see collaboration as an important feature of the process of the course work.

The class, when it is first delivered in the fall of 2004, will be hybrid, that is, conducted partly on-line, using web-based materials and communication interfaces, to compensate for the constraints of having only one hour of class time for each of the thirteen weeks of classes. Resources I have collected will be available the course is launched and it is expected that students will be building their own resources as the course progresses. Participants, will be using asynchronous discussions as well as synchronous chats.  Learning partners will be encouraged to promote further collaboration and sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills.

The course will be conducted using the BlackBoard learning management system.  Links to resources and class notes will be linked within the framework of the BlackBoard template. Weekly online discussions will invite participation, engaging learners outside of the classroom setting regarding issues and ideas related to the course curriculum.

For more details see: Marketing Career Planning Course Home Page

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Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of MRK5XX, Marketing Career Planning students will be able to:

1. Identify personal career related skills and related artifacts (such as an updated resume, sample cover letters, certificates, testimonials, examples of best school work, a business card) for development and production of a professional portfolio and eportfolio

2. Compile resources related to career strategies and professional development in the marketing field to add to professional portfolio and eportfolio

3. Attend career related workshops and research and use sources of employment information and networking to understand the current job market

4. Develop a personal database of information related to employers and successful graduates in order to identify professional role models

5. Working as a team member, participants will create a "profile" of a successful MKA graduate. Artifacts produced by students will include: a profile project plan with story board, an interview of a graduate, a shooting (photos and/or video) schedule, timelines and budget, and the completed "product" - a multimedia Power Point presentation.

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Class Schedule MRK5XX Fall 2004

(NOTE: due dates for required activities in red)

ONE Personal Profiles Your Future: Goal Setting, 
Resume Review, Job Search Skills
Workshop Schedule and Sign-up
TWO Trends in Marketing Careers Projects Overview
Marketing Graduate Profile Criteria
Portfolio and ePortfolio Criteria
THREE Job Search Strategies Portfolio and ePortfolio timelines set
Teams form and Profile Project planning
Portfolio and ePortfolio Plan submitted
FOUR Employer/Employee Role Models Display: Personal Artifact Collection
Display Career Centre Resources
FIVE Interviewing Do's and Don'ts Profile Questionnaire Development
Select Profile Graduates
SIX Project Planning Project Plan Development
Submit Profile Questionnaire and Plan
SEVEN Communication Styles Technical Review/Inventory computer skills
Submit Portfolio and ePortfolio Plans
STUDY WEEK take a break take a break
EIGHT Professional Development Display Collection of Resources to date
Submit Inventory of computer skills
Plan business cards
NINE Networking Strategies Interview Skills for profile
photography and graphics skills
Projects in Progress Update
TEN Keeping Up to Date Interview Skills for profile
photography and graphics skills
Projects in Progress Update
ELEVEN Business Correspondence Profile Presentation Preparation
Portfolio and ePortfolio Production
TWELVE Packaging/Branding Profile Presentation Preparation
Portfolio and ePortfolio Production
THIRTEEN Evaluation of Projects Display Portfolios and business cards Present eportfolios and Profiles
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Assessment of Learning:

Ongoing formative feedback to the learner will be provided through e-mail, conference, forum, and chat participation on a daily basis. Summative evaluation covers participation, assignments and projects. The proposed course grading scheme is as follows:

Mode of Evaluation
Participation (Forums)  20%
Assignments  15% (3 workshops)
Profile Project  25%
Portfolio  20%
ePortfolio  20% 
Total 100%

Taken from the course outline

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Activities and Projects

The activities and projects of MRK5XX will be structured to move the students through the learning outcomes, building on the strengths and skills developed over the course of the first two years in the Marketing Administration program.  The course projects will be designed to provide the students with practical experience for building a professional portfolio and eportfolio and collaborating to create a multimedia profile of a successful graduate of the program.

Each week, the course follows a suggested format:

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Lessons Learned

I began this project in June of 2003. Before I knew it, with all of the scheduling involved in meetings with the two graduates to work on their eportfolios and portfolios, preparation for their on camera interviews, shooting the interviews and all of the still shots around the city in various locations, the summer had passed and fall term 2003 was upon me. Regarding the video tape interviews with both Mel and Ophilia, I learned to operate a new digital video camera and we shot footage in my home, at the college and at various locations suggested by the two grads. My goal was to have profiles that ran approximately 10 minutes each, and these would then be the models for students in the course. Initially, I planned to ask student teams to create video profiles of marketing graduates. What I didn't anticipate were all of the technical difficulties involved. The first hurdle was to transfer the raw video footage to a computer that had the power, space and memory to handle files of this size. The next was learning a video editing program and preparing digitized still photos that could be used as additional visuals to place over the interview tracks.

By the time I got everything set to edit the videos, it was well into the fall and I was now up to a full schedule of teaching, allowing much less time for meeting with the grads to finish up their eportfolios, never mind anything else. At this point, I decided to concentrate on creating a course home page, twelve weeks of notes for an online syllabus and a full range of discussion topics with related readings and resources. It finally dawned on me that if it was taking me this much time working with two graduates that there was no way my students in a one hour course could create video profiles of graduates. It was then that I decided that the team project needed to have students develop important artifacts (interview questionnaire, interview highlights, still shots and archival photos for selected graduates from the program) then create a multi-media power point presentation profile, the media aspect being to the limit of their already acquired skills and abilities. In this way, they would still have time to attend job skills workshops, to develop their own portfolios, eportfolios and calling cards as well as work with a team to produce a graduate profile.

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Selected Resources for eportfolios:

From Syllabus: Technology for Higher Education
The Electronic Portfolio Boom: What's It All About?
ePortfolios – Bridging the Gap Left By CMS
ePortfolios - a Pocket Full of Ambition
From Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (mcli)
Weblogs for ePortfolios
Dr. Helen Barrett's Collection of ePortfolio Links

Conference Presentation (please view with Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher)
Track 3: Innovative Teaching Strategies
International Conference on College Teaching and Learning
April 2004. For more information -

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