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SMART schools

Creative Communications evolves with new media

RRC’s reputed program incorporates emerging technologies to prepare grads for new market Photos and story by Audrey Neale

multiple marketing positions – well, I’d wonder how I got so lucky. What brought me to this fortunate place? Two words: Creative Communications. For those who aren’t familiar with the


program, it's a two-year diploma program at Red River College that prepares roughly 75 students a year for a variety of careers in the communications field. Broadcast- ers, radio hosts, copywriters, journalists, event planners; there is really no telling where the program will lead you. “I went in wanting to be a journalist and

now I’m a videographer for Te Winnipeg Foundation. I love it here,” says recent graduate, Nolan Bicknell. I was initially drawn to “Cre Comm”

for its creative side, and for the oppor- tunity to push myself after hearing how demanding it was. Cre Comm claims to accept the most promising students each year, and does so through an entry test, portfolio submission, and final interview. Te entry process is admittedly tough,

but reasonable (make sure to know your Great Lakes…). After a few months of sporadic contact with the college and deciding whether or not I was willing to give up my social life, I was in. Accepted as an eager pupil with the

itch to write, but still slightly unsure what communications actually meant. Communications can be defined as the

imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. Te program taught us just that, how to creatively get messages across in different ways and have them stand out amongst the clutter. In first year, there are four key subjects:

advertising, journalism, public relations and media production. We also took electives that taught us creative writing, grammar, and fundamental design skills. Te workload was heavy, but the in-

structors, who are also industry profes- sionals, made the material as fun and interesting as possible. My homework ranged from creating

a Vine video to attending a City Hall meeting and scrumming with Sam Katz. We also learned how to properly shoot video; how to write for a variety of media;

The author created the website GoWPG for a school project, and Tourism Winnipeg has posted the link to its nightlife page, giving it real-world credibility.

and the fundamentals of journalism and public relations crisis communications (that’s just year one). In second year, you choose a “major”

and strengthen your skills in either ad- vertising, journalism, public relations or media production, with the goal of building a strong portfolio in that area. “It was so difficult to choose. I felt drawn

to everything for different reasons, but media production taught me how to com- municate visually – which is incredibly important in the multimedia world that we live in,” says Bicknell. Along with the second year comes work

placements and the infamous Independ- ent Professional Project (IPP). A handful of charity events, books, short films and

f you were to tell me two years ago that today I’d be running my own youth tourism website and interviewing for

EP releases each year are done by Cre Comm students driven by the incentive to graduate. An IPP is a large, real-life creative

project that we must pitch and carry out, and then use our communication skills to market it to the public. Friends of mine did amazing work: some wrote books which are now being sold in McNally Robinson or developed rebrands for lo- cal companies; one made a TV pilot, and others made outstanding documentaries. For my IPP, I wanted to build a website

for local youth that showcased how cool Winnipeg is. I built the website GoWPG myself, and filled it with up-to-date bar listings, blog posts, a nightlife calendar, and created accompanying social media which I update regularly. It has been very well-received, and

Tourism Winnipeg ended up posting the link on its nightlife page which was an unbelievable accomplishment. I never would have done that had it not been for Cre Comm. Troughout the two years I made great

friends and had incredible experiences. I was part of the Winnipeg Humane

Society telethon which required a full eight-hour work day of live streaming; I presented a rebrand idea to the owners of Unburger; I made a documentary about mental health; I interviewed strangers on the street for journalism class; I won a national award from Ad Standards Canada – the list goes on. I commend Cre Comm for its moder-

nity and constant adaptation to technol- ogy. We literally learned how to tweet and were required to keep our social media accounts fresh and current. We worked primarily with Mac com-

puters and learned how to use industry- standard software and video equipment. We also took web design in our second year, and learned the basics of Dream- weaver and Squarespace to keep us digitally fluent. “We all know that social media isn’t go-

ing away, and Cre Comm taught us how to use it effectively and strategically. Tey did a great job of incorporating that into the workload,” says Bicknell. Although I majored in advertising, my

graduating class and I all have the same diploma. Te communications field is a broad one, and I’m excited to see where it will lead me.

Demand for online education increases as working professionals look for flexibility

By University of Roehampton

week, building a family and – somehow – at- tending night classes in Montreal. If there’s one thing he discovered from


his arduous experience, it’s that the campus model for education isn’t always the best option. “If I had the option of online edu- cation, it would have benefited my family the most,” he says. “If I didn’t have to go to a campus to pursue my MBA, I would have been better able to share my parental duties.” There is a growing demand for online

education in Canada and around the world as working professionals look for more flex- ible options to increase their education and remain competitive. Nearly a decade ago, Professor Mancini left a 30-year career as a management professional to teach online – and to help others avoid the difficulties he once faced.

August 2014

hen Tony Mancini was earning his master of business administration (MBA), he was working 60 hours a

He currently is the academic director

for online management programs at the University of Roehampton, a UK-based institution offering online master degree programs in management, public health, education, public administration and psychology.

Flewxibility Flexibility is just one of the many reasons

online education attracts more and more students each year. For working profes- sionals looking to advance their education while continuing to work, online education offers an alternative that does not require travelling to a campus. Trends in technology have made edu-

cation more accessible, especially for the increasingly mobile workforce. Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and tablets coupled with compatible applica- tions, online students are able to take their classroom with them wherever they go and complete their coursework when it fits their schedules.

Global classmates

Today’s workforce isn’t just more mobile, it’s also more global as Canadian compa-

nies conduct more business internation- ally. As a result, companies are looking for employees who have broad geographic experience and understanding. In an online program, students are able

to learn with and from colleagues from around the world and build a robust global network of fellow professionals who often share best practices and offer different viewpoints on what leads to successful strategy. “It’s nice to read perspectives on a partic-

ular topic that are different from the North American standard I am accustomed to,” says Francis Richard, a Roehampton online student from New Brunswick. Employers have a lot to gain by hiring

graduates of online programs, but an on- line student’s current employer benefits as well.

Immediate rewards Instead of taking a break professionally

to earn an advanced degree, online stu- dents are able to apply the knowledge and practical skills they learn in class to their jobs almost immediately, meaning that students and employers don’t need to wait

until graduation to start seeing the benefits of online education. For example, students from the Univer-

sity of Roehampton’s online MBA program must complete a final management re- search project that ties together all facets of the program before graduating. This culminating component of the

curriculum requires students to demon- strate the ability to apply their knowledge of theory as well as their preparation for the real world of business. Surprisingly, most Canadian universities do not require students to complete final management research projects. Outside of larger institutions, only a few

Canadian universities offer online options for today’s graduate student. Meanwhile, Professor Mancini and others in his field continue to help higher education move to- ward a model demonstrating how diversity in the virtual classroom fuels new thinking. Students like Francis Richard are the

future of our employment market, and those who have varied expertise and an adaptable, global way of thinking have the competitive advantage.


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