Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Geo-Tagging and Mapping in the Cloud to Foster Research Readiness and Ethical Cognizance in Advertising Students

Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Geo-Tagging and Mapping in the Cloud to Foster Research Readiness and Ethical Cognizance in Advertising Students

Article excerpt

Media-saturated environments and industry demand for applied technological skills have posed a unique set of challenges for advertising educators. Educators must constantly strive to balance academic objectives and technical skills (Kim, 2012). Fortunately, the same advances in technology that have spurred the demand for technical skills also have enabled the development of creative and cost-effective teaching activities to help educators integrate the academic and technical demands of evolving advertising curricula.

For this teaching activity, students systematically captured and geo-tagged photos of outdoor advertising in communities within the county where their university is located. They used free, cloud-based applications to map and share data. In doing so, they built a visual representation of local outdoor advertising in the county and analyzed it in relation to census data. Using these resources, students formed interest-based research teams from which they developed unique research questions and analyzed the data within the context of their specific question. Each team presented their results in a class poster session. This teaching activity addressed both the theoretical knowledge and the technical skills demanded of today's undergraduate advertising students.

This project was designed to address the following student learning outcomes: to re-sensitize students to the barrage of visual advertising images that surrounds them in their daily lives; foster skills in research readiness and ethical cognizance and boost student interaction with new technologies. In the literature review, I briefly present the basis for targeting these areas for inclusion in undergraduate advertising education and explain how the design elements of the project link to these curricular goals. In the explanation of the teaching activity, I describe the step-by-step process used to implement the project and specify the tools used. The outcomes section provides student feedback, including course evaluation data and instructor insights. The discussion section links the literature surrounding experiential education to the project outcomes. The considerations and limitations section is geared toward instructors who may be contemplating the design of a similar project.

Literature Review

Re-Sensitizing Students to Advertising

It is estimated that young people are exposed to 3,000 advertising images per day (Strasburger, 2006). However, they often believe they can tune out the advertising messages. Simons and Jones (2011) borrow the psychological term, the "not me" phenomenon, to describe the propensity to deny the personal influence of persuasive messages. When people are exposed to message overload, they tend to process information peripherally, increasing their susceptibility to persuasion. The tendency to process information peripherally is "impossible to avoid in today's fast-paced, message-dense society" (Simons & Jones, 2011, p. 229). As an advertising instructor, I recognized the "not me" phenomenon among my students. In this learning project, I included a hands-on data collection process to help re-sensitize students to advertising images in their physical environment and counter the "not me" phenomenon.

The data collection phase of the project moved students out of the classroom and into the community to capture (via photograph), geo-tag and map visual outdoor advertising. Because emotive and metaphorical images can lead to persuasion (Huddy & Gunnthorsdottir, 2000; Jeong, 2007), having students participate in the collection of visual data was an intentional step within the project design to increase awareness of visual messages and move students toward more critical engagement with advertising images that surround them in their daily life. In addition, the increased awareness of visual imagery will prepare students to engage with the industry shift toward "more visual ways of communication" (Newman, 2014, p. …

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