Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Team Teaching of Creative Advertising and Public Relations Courses

Academic journal article Journal of Advertising Education

Team Teaching of Creative Advertising and Public Relations Courses

Article excerpt


Advertising and public relations are interdisciplinary, complex and creative practices. Advertising agencies are made up of multiple departments, such as creative, research, media, traffic, planning and account management. While each is unique, all areas need to function together to develop strategic and innovative solutions for client communication challenges. Technology increasingly is involved with special software for each discipline and is an especially important part of the creative process.

Both creativity and training for creativity were identified as areas ripe for improvement in an investigation of undergraduate advertising programs (Stuhlfaut, 2007). Moreover, new forms of media have made visual (Stuhlfaut & Berman, 2009) and online video communication (Beard & Yang, 2011) more important. While students need to be prepared for these opportunities, finding instructors with multiple expertise is difficult. Consider that for a course on designing advertisements, teachers require: an understanding of the advertising and public relations development, strategy and creative process; design concepts such as layout, color and type; and skills for software programs, such as PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator. Likewise, in order to instruct classes on television, video, digital or other commercial broadcast production, instructors require the advertising process knowledge just mentioned, in addition to proficiencies in video, filming, lighting, editing, sound, production and Adobe Premiere Pro or similar technology.

An approach to bring together the multiple experiences required to instruct advertising and public relations courses, especially the training for creative and technology skills, is through team teaching. A teaching team can blur disciplinary boundaries, integrate various perspectives and help make courses more relevant to industry (Gaytan, 2010; Smith Ducoffe, Tromley & Tucker, 2006). It is also a way for the academy to maintain pace with business practices.

The purpose of this study is to understand better the team teaching approach in creative classes unique to advertising and public relations through assessing student surveys, course evaluations and instructor reflections. The current exploration is based on multiple sessions of two team-taught courses offered at a private Midwestern university. The paper provides educators with a useful context and benchmark for team-taught course development and further research in this area of pedagogy.

Literature Review

The first use of team teaching is attributed to William Alexander, known as the father of the American middle school, while he was attending a conference at Cornell University in 1963. Alexander's intent was to create teams of teachers to instruct relatively large groups of students (Gaytan, 2010). Teacher collaboration, co-teaching (Wang, 2012), shared teaching (van Amelsvoort, van Wijk & den Ouden, 2010) and interdisciplinary teaching (Smith Ducoffe et al., 2006) are related variations on the concept.

According to Davis (1995), team teaching is "All arrangements that include two or more faculty in some level of collaboration in the planning and delivery of a course" (p. 8; see also Buckley, 2000). Parada and Franch (2008) considered instructional methods, activities and course content to describe three forms of team teaching: parallel, rotational and interactive (as cited in van Amelsvoort et al., 2010). Parallel, the most elementary style, involves multiple instructors teaching in the same course separately on different days. Most often used for first-year undergraduate introductory courses, classes may be large - as many as 500 students. Rotational, the next level, is applied when two instructors, usually from the same department, create a course and split the lecture content. The format is suited for later years of a bachelor's program. For the most evolved style, interactive teaching, instructors work together to plan and create a course and blend content from the start. …

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