Category Archives: Outside the Classroom

A Student’s Guide to PWR’s Experiential Learning Components

The PWR major has several experiential learning elements, including one PWR internship and one PWR research experience. A PWR major must have two credit hours of both internship and research experiences to graduate. Additionally, PWR majors must complete a senior portfolio as well as a senior Capstone Project, which are meant to represent the cumulative knowledge gained throughout their experience in the PWR program. The PWR program’s experiential learning and portfolio/Capstone Project requirements are designed to prepare students for a career in Professional Writing. Internship and research experience allow students to see how the skills acquired in PWR can be transferred into a professional environment. The senior portfolio and Capstone Project are helpful as they provide students with a conglomeration of their work and synthesis of their professional writing skills which can be added to future resumes and job applications. Students pursuing a PWR degree as well as undecided students interested in a writing-based program can benefit greatly from these experiences, as they provide the opportunity for hands-on practice in a PWR-based field. While these PWR major requirements are incredibly valuable to future professional pursuits, they may seem daunting to sophomores and juniors pursuing a degree in PWR. Luckily, Elon’s PWR program has a multitude of resources meant to help students fulfill these program obligations. 

 

Internships

PWR internships are meant to be an exciting opportunity to see how the skills learned in PWR courses can be translated into a fulfilling career. Despite the many possibilities offered by internships, some students worry about the requirement as they do not know where to start their internship search. One way for you to get on top of their internship requirements is by reaching out to PWR faculty and advisors, who are well equipped to help you find a suitable internship. There are many internships available on campus that count towards the PWR internship requirement. In the past, students have interned as social media managers for various student organizations and publishers for campus institutions such as the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). PWR major Liz Crouse undertook the publishing internship for the CEL last year, and her experience is documented on Elon’s CUPID Blog site for those interested to see what the job entails. If you would rather gain their internship experience in a workplace environment, the Elon Job Network offers the opportunity to search for PWR-related internships on various work sites including law firms, tech firms, advertising agencies, publishing companies, TV stations, and more. PWR faculty and advisors are more than willing to help find an off-campus internship that aligns with your future career interests, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. For more information on the PWR internship requirement, visit the PWR program internship page. 

 

Research

The research component of the PWR major offers students the opportunity to bolster future portfolios while gaining hands-on experience with various professional writing genres and research methods. Many professors within the PWR program double as mentors for ongoing research opportunities that are available to PWR students. An example of one of these projects is the Highway 64/NC Climate Project, which is spearheaded by Dr. Strickland. This project allows student researchers to travel the length of NC, connect with students from other universities as well as local politicians, farmers, journalists, and environmentalists to document how NC is adapting to climate change. The Center for Writing Excellence also offers several research opportunities for PWR students, including alumni writing projects, faculty and staff writing group projects, and non-academic writing projects. To learn more about these experiences, reach out to Dr. Rosinski. There are several other research project opportunities outlined on the PWR undergraduate research page, so be sure to check them out if you are worried about your research requirement. You can also talk to PWR professors and advisors if you aren’t sure which research opportunity aligns best with your interests and skills. For additional information on research opportunities, be sure to check out the CUPID Blog for student perspectives on various undergraduate research projects. 

 

Senior Portfolio

The PWR’s senior portfolio is designed to showcase a student’s development over time as well as their current level of achievement. Portfolios are a collection of drafts and final projects which are reflective of your academic achievements as well as your future career aspirations. PWR portfolio drafts are due to Dr. Li on the first Monday of October of your senior year, and the final revised copy is due on November 30th of the same year. Your senior portfolio will then be evaluated by an external reviewer who is not associated with the PWR program. Many PWR alumni have noted that their senior portfolios helped them stand out from other candidates throughout their job search after graduation. In your portfolio, you should showcase the work that you are most proud of. So long as a document is representative of the skills you learned in the PWR program while also proving your capabilities for a specified career, it can be included within your portfolio. This can include projects done in PWR courses, articles written for student organizations, or reports and texts from your internship and research requirements. A good way to get on top of your senior portfolio requirement is by saving PWR-related texts and projects early on. You can store these documents in a folder on your Google Drive or Microsoft Office so they are there when you begin constructing your digital portfolio. You can also begin working with your faculty mentor as early as your Sophomore year to begin preparing your portfolio. To get an idea of what is expected of your senior portfolio requirement, visit the PWR Portfolio page, which has examples of previous student portfolios that you can use as inspiration.  If you have a working portfolio by the Spring semester of your Junior year, you are eligible to submit your work for a chance to win the Junior ePortfolio Award. This honor (along with $500) is awarded to an outstanding portfolio-in-progress by a current junior majoring in PWR or English, or minoring in PWS. Submissions are due by the third Monday of April, which will be April 22nd of 2022. 

Lauren Franceshini’s 2017 Senior Portfolio Page

 

PWR Senior Capstone Project

A final requirement of the PWR program is the Senior Capstone Project. This research-based project is part of the Senior Seminar that PWR students are required to take in the Spring semester of their senior year. The Senior Capstone Project is meant to showcase the knowledge and skills of rhetorical, professional, and design strategies that a student learns throughout their time in the PWR program. The Capstone is an integrated portion of the senior assessment process, and students present their projects at an open-house-style Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) at the end of the semester to faculty and other audiences. More information about the requirements of the Senior Capstone Project as well as examples of previous students’ Portfolio Projects can be found on the PWR Senior Capstone Project page of Elon’s PWR department website. Undergraduate students are also encouraged to go to Senior Capstone Project showcases at SURF each spring to get an idea of what will be expected of them. 

Kelly Dodge’s 2016 Senior Capstone Project

 

It is beneficial for PWR students to be proactive about the four major PWR requirements. Be sure to reach out to PWR professors and upperclassmen early on, and begin preparing documents for your senior portfolio as soon as possible. This will help alleviate your senior year workload while ensuring that only your finest achievements are included in your portfolio. Talk to PWR faculty and advisors about research and internship opportunities, they will be able to help you figure out what experiences will be best suited to your needs and aspirations. The PWR major requirements are not meant to be daunting. They are designed to help you become successful in a career you are passionate about by preparing you for the post-graduation job search and making you familiar with how PWR is used in the real world. If you feel stressed about any of these components of the PWR program, reach out to your faculty advisor and begin planning how you will fulfill the requirements.

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Lessons and Lingo from my Nonprofit Internship: Morgan Bassett

Morgan Bassett ’23 (PWR)

I felt very fortunate to accept an internship offer from the Human Services Council, a nationally recognized nonprofit. They tackle a myriad of issues pertaining to individuals’ safety, physical, and emotional health. My internship dealt directly with the Norwalk Mentor Program, based out of Norwalk, CT. Although it was a solely remote experience, I still worked alongside a team of interns and supervisors to register new mentors. There are currently over 300 Norwalk students who could greatly benefit from a caring adult in their lives, providing additional guidance and support during a time of difficulty. So, it was essential to develop persuasive deliverables that would encourage adults to mentor this fall.

During a period of eight weeks, I was able to produce and publish 5 deliverables for mentor recruitment. They’re now included in my digital portfolio, alongside reflections about the development process and execution of rhetorical choices. Each deliverable presented a new set of challenges and opportunities to improve my current writing abilities. More importantly, I now recognize several overarching themes that represent this collection of work and even define my entire internship experience. 

  1. Repurposing existing texts/materials saves invaluable time.

I discovered this strategy during my first week while composing an email pitch for potential new mentors. The pitch needed to provide an overview of the Norwalk Mentor Program for unfamiliar audiences, but I too was unfamiliar with these specifics. I ended up utilizing previously written articles about the program and surfing the Human Service Council’s website for other necessary facts. This initial process of repurposing allowed me to write a 5-line email pitch, and I eventually included these lines in other deliverables (i.e., the press release and social media posts). Outside of the internship, I’ve implemented efforts of repurposing to write digital articles and tackle course-related projects.  

  1. Sales-based strategies seep into communication in unexpected ways.

One of my supervisors explained that life is filled with sales lingo and behaviors. I can’t say I agree with their viewpoint wholeheartedly, but I did eventually see how my communicative efforts were riddled with specific sales-based strategies. One of these strategies was persuasion, which seeped into each deliverable. I needed to truly convince my audience to become a mentor before the summer ended. The urgency was heightened, so my final product passionately conveyed how mentoring was fun and easy, free of charge for only an hour (per week) of someone’s time. I was also very direct in my initial pitches and correspondences. My closing line would ask for a phone call with the recipient, then I would provide my own availability for that particular week. I quickly learned this maneuver was producing more sincere and timely responses, even if someone was telling me they were unavailable to mentor. I believe the goals of this internship require a strong devotion to sales techniques, especially since we are promoting the benefits of this program to a busy professional or unfamiliar individual. 

  1. Keep it colloquial!

I’ve always recognized and accepted my technical, formal writing style. It has defined my college research papers, argumentative pieces, and additional academic projects. However, I realized this style wasn’t consistently reaching my target audience for the internship, which included any adult from age 18 to 60 years old. This extremely large range forced me to shift into a more conversational tone, omitting excessive vocabulary and other unnecessary elements. I tackled this approach in all my deliverables, but I paid special attention to it while composing my press release. It was my longest deliverable that included a program overview and multiple quotes from the director. This higher word count held me accountable for a colloquial feel and read of the press release, which could become a document that recruited the most mentors during the internship. I composed each sentence to include the most important details, making sure not to repeat or embellish this information. Additionally, I read the document aloud several times, imagining that I was hearing it over the radio or reading it in a newspaper. Did any words or phrasing trip me up or sound unnatural to the ear? Could I simplify anything I had written even further? These questions allowed me to thoroughly evaluate this deliverable and deeply consider the importance of a clear, succinct write-up. 

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to dive into non-academic spaces and projects while discovering new communicative tools for my own storytelling.

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Getting Into the Headspace of a Social Media Marketing Specialist: Alejandra Gonzalez

Alejandra Gonzalez ’23 (PWR)

Becoming the Marketing and Communication intern for the Center for Access and Success’s First-Generation Student Services has been an eye-opening experience about the digital media world. I heard about the internship from Oscar Miranda, the center’s Assistant Director, when I would enter the office for small check-up chats or for resources that I needed as a first-generation student. I remember wanting to sign up after hearing him speak about the plans and ideas for the internship, but I did not think I was ready yet since I was a first-year at the time. After taking a few PWR classes where I learned the principles of design and marketing strategies, I felt more confident to sign up and step into the role. 

I expected the internship to involve the promotion of events and resources by reposting school events or creating posts for upcoming events. I knew I needed to use my creativity to engage our students and to promote resources provided by offices around campus, but I expected it to be simple solo work. Thankfully, that was not the case. During my first meeting with Oscar, I realized there were fine details about the job that most do not consider at first. I learned that my role would include more than simply creating promotional content. I would be responsible for finding first-generation student accomplishments to highlight, reaching out to students for engagement, creating informational posts, and researching my audience’s expectations. Seeing the list of responsibilities for this semester made me think about the even bigger responsibilities that people who hold social media positions have. I thought about the content they created, the strategies they carried out, and the intricate schedules they stuck to. 

Before I began creating or trying to post anything on the social media pages, I decided to do research on the audience we were trying to reach. This audience analysis ensured that I knew the values and expectations that our audience would be inclined to respond to online. Oscar properly introduced me to the small, yet strongly diverse, first-generation community at Elon. We knew of about 500 young students on-campus and current followers on social media. In order to devise a social media plan, I investigated what social media platform they interacted with the most, which was Instagram. The posts that they interacted with the most were ones that included familiar faces and questions they could answer. However, during the internship, I saw that the page also engaged with other first-generation dedicated pages. This caused me to change a few of the features in the content I was creating. I wasn’t just making posts for our students on-campus but other first-generation organizations too. I added college resources that were universally obtainable along with resources available at Elon, including the library, academic advising, and more. Once I had a better understanding of who to connect with, my journey to step into the shoes of the people who work within the field of marketing and communications began.

Once again, my main role was to boost student engagement, create informational posts, and research my audience’s expectations. To reach out to students, I decided to create a weekly Instagram Live that allowed me to interview several students and highlight their successes. I created a light and inviting promotional post that detailed the person and when the interview was going to take place. My informational posts were based on what I saw the audience wanted to see such as upcoming events. I thank my previous PWR courses that allowed me to have practice and develop the skills necessary to create content. I revisited the principles of design and other pre-existing material to create new content for the feed. For example, to create the “S’mores Social” flyer I went through the CRAP principles as a type of checklist. I chose colors that contrasted with each in order to make the information stand out. Since the sky was navy blue, I decided yellow would be more visible and can connect with the color of the stars. I added the star icons because the main background did not emphasize them a lot and added an outline of a s’more to highlight what the event was dedicated to. For captions, I maintained a tone that was encouraging and tried to ask questions for engagement. I created a schedule that allowed me to post my campaigns on specific days. For example, True/False posts on Tuesdays or the First-Gen Lives on Friday.

This internship also developed my interpersonal skills as I interviewed students and created connections with faculty and staff. It expanded my knowledge about marketing and social engagement. It allowed me to expand my understanding of the importance of both textual and visual rhetoric in connecting with an audience. After finishing this internship, I feel prepared to become a social media specialist if I choose to pursue a career in that field. It exposed me to the possibility of creating promotional posters for other people online. I also feel encouraged to begin exploring opportunities for graphic work in other departments on campus.

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PWR Internship Perspective: Liz Crouse

Elizabeth Crouse ’22 (PWR)

This semester, I served as one of two Publishing Interns at Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (CEL), an on-campus office that centers around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, a field that aims to improve student learning experience by investigating teaching practices. Throughout the semester, I applied the skills I learned in my Professional Writing and Rhetoric classes to copyedit blog posts, create graphics, manage social media, create informative video scripts, and other tasks to further the Center’s mission. As a part of the internship experience, I was mentored by Dr. Travis Maynard, who, during my first week as a nervous intern, introduced me to a 1990 study of interns in similar positions to my own at the University of Minnesota. In “Moving Beyond the Academic Community: Transitional Stages in Professional Writing” by Anson and Forsberg, the authors described the transition from classroom to internship in three phases: expectation, or the phase when the intern assumes what the experience will be like, disorientation, or the process of learning that their expectation may have been inaccurate, and transition/resolution, or when the intern learns to adapt the skills they have to the internship setting. 

These steps relate to the horizontal and vertical transfer systems required to make the transition into a professional setting. “Transfer” is defined as taking what you learn in one context and applying it to another, and within academia, it generally refers to the transition from classroom to the workplace. Horizontal transfer is essentially a 1:1 translation of skills from the classroom to an internship, meaning that the skills I develop in the classroom are the exact skills required in the workplace. While convenient, these transitions are rare. Vertical transfer, on the other hand, happens when a gap exists between the skills and concepts learned in the classroom and those required in an internship setting, prompting a significant learning curve — or “disorientation” — during the transition from classroom to professional setting. This type of transfer was more prevalent in my experience with my CEL internship. Vertical transfer, however, is one goal of the Professional Writing and Rhetoric department’s internship requirement; it is a chance to learn how skills from the classroom fit into a professional environment.

Going into the internship during my own “expectation” phase, I was nervous but still confident because of my background in classes like PWR 215: Professional Writing and Rhetoric and PWR 211: Publishing and Editing 1. I knew the basics of editing, content creation, and graphic design; however, I knew little about CEL itself and less about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. On the first day of my internship, I was given time to peruse the CEL website and learn more about the mission and function of the office.

The first way I experienced a “disorientation” phase was during my time as a copy editor. Although I took Publishing and Editing 1 over Winter Term, I had difficulty applying the copyediting skills I learned in class to dense academic writing. To improve my skills, I talked with Dr. Maynard, and we were able to create a more thorough editing process through workbook exercises. Each week, I saw my skills grow as we reviewed by editing Chicago-style references, using commas correctly, and identifying tricky proper noun rules. Ultimately, my editing skills are much stronger now, and I feel more prepared each time I start to copyedit a new post.

Initially, the professional environment was disorienting as, in some ways, it directly contrasts the traditional classroom environment I am accustomed to. Some tasks, assigned with intentional vagueness, left me feeling confused and underqualified. However, throughout the semester, I spent time watching YouTube tutorials to improve my abilities in the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro), which in turn allowed me to be more creative and better understand what professional graphic design norms and standards are. By the end of the semester, assignments no longer seemed vague, but instead seemed to allow room for creativity and interpretation within the boundaries that I now understand as industry standards.

As the semester drew to a close, I entered the transition/resolution phase of my internship. In the office, I felt more comfortable interacting with my coworkers, and my work outside of the office to improve my skills is starting to pay off. This internship was a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of what a publishing career looks like in higher education, and I look forward to utilizing the skills I’ve learned in my internship in a publishing and editing career moving forward. I felt exponentially more prepared to begin my summer internship as a Copywriter Intern at Red Ventures, an international public relations and brand management firm, with a Charlotte, NC, branch, and I could not be more excited and grateful for my supervisors at the Center for Engaged Learning, Dr. Jessie L. Moore and Jennie Goforth, and my internship mentor Dr. Travis Maynard, all of whom have helped me transition into my professional role as a writer through my internship experience. I look forward to returning to the Center for Engaged Learning in the Fall as the Senior Publishing Intern. To see a full portfolio of my work from my internship, click here.

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How to Price Design Work

Charles Arrington ’21 (PWR)

Freelance writing and design is a great source of income for those in the field of PWR. It allows for working on your own schedule, setting your own rates, and most importantly, doing what you love. However, getting started as a freelance writer is no small task. You must consider where to advertise your services and what exactly it is that you want to sell. I chose to look into Fiverr when it came time to start marketing my services and skills in a freelance setting.

Fiverr is a great site devoted to helping professionals find work through an easy to use platform. Getting started with an account was straightforward and presented no problems, but when I was prompted to list my first ‘gig,’ I ran into the issue of pricing my services. That’s where digital design and marketing professional Will Paterson comes in.

Through YouTube, Will offers a series of videos devoted to helping you build your digital design empire. The one I was most interested in was a video on how to price your work. It evoked the same spirit that one of my peers captured in a line, “What is this work really worth to you and your business?” Below I will break down key pieces of advice given by Will Paterson; here’s a link to the video for future reference. It is an excellent video for students and young professionals looking to get into freelance work – especially if you are not sure where to start.

Paterson’s tips include:

  • Position yourself – If you want to succeed in getting work at all, you have to position yourself (On Fiverr in my case) as an expert in the field you choose to work in. For example, my graphic design skills I’d say are intermediate, but my technical writing skills I would rank as expert level. That being said, clearly this is the area that I’d want to market services for primarily. In order to effectively position yourself as an expert, you must show examples of your work and your best products to convince your future clients that you are the real deal.
  • Increase your skill set – While you may be an expert in one category of design and writing, there are plenty of other people that you will have to compete with to get the paycheck and opportunities you want. By increasing your skill set and continuing to learn more skills and techniques in your field, you end up with quite a bit more to offer the client. If you can specialize in one area and bolster it with other relevant skills and technical knowledge, a client is much more likely to want to prioritize working with you over others.
  • Gain trust – Clients are much more likely to work with you and pay higher amounts for your work if you are transparent about your past projects and provide plenty of examples to show your prowess. Additionally, offering to meet with the client to establish more of a relationship goes a long way in gaining trust. Offer to meet them and discuss the project while also letting them learn more about you as a writer or designer.
  • Rehearse negotiations – Being in the freelance world will put you in situations requiring negotiation a considerable amount of the time. This is where you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more money, especially when you are confident in the value of your work. It is okay to say no to clients who refuse to pay your target amount; in fact Will Paterson and his group say no to 80% of clients that are stuck on the idea of getting the work done for less than asking price.
  • Add value – The most important foundation to setting your prices is an accurate assessment of value. Asking yourself questions about the potential your work has in the long run for any client is essential. You are not just a producer of things; you are a writer. For this reason, it isn’t just an article or blog post that you’re selling; it is your intellectual property plus time and effort.

These tips are all extremely helpful when figuring out how to price your work, and even more so in reaffirming that you should probably be charging more for your work. When you know how to assess the value of your work, you will be paid well for it.

 

Charles (Ross) Arrington is a 2021 graduate of Elon University with a degree in Professional Writing & Rhetoric.

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How the Time-Value Prioritization Funnel can help you during your college career

Myrta Santana ’21 (PWR & ARH)

I have always struggled with prioritizing my tasks, be it in school, work, or just personal pleasures. I manage to get everything done in the end, but sometimes the work that I do is not the best I could offer. When looking for skill advancement trainings, I considered looking at more design-oriented tutorials, but quickly realized that if I could not manage my time appropriately, then having the skills would not matter because I would not have the time. “Prioritizing your Tasks” by Dave Crenshaw helped me understand what I do wrong with my time and pointed out some good habits that I have and should focus more on.

Time-Value Prioritization Funnel with six decision stages

Screenshot of Dave Crenshaw’s Time-Value Prioritization Funnel

The biggest takeaway from this training was the concept of the Time-Value Prioritization Funnel (TVP). This is a metaphorical funnel with 6 levels or steps that categorize your tasks.

  • Step one: Not me, never again – tasks that are a waste of time
  • Step Two: Perhaps, but not now – tasks that you might be interested in working on later
  • Step Three: Yes, but not now – tasks that have value but have aren’t due soon
  • Step Four: Yes, but not anyone – tasks that can be permanently handled with technology
  • Step Five: Yes, but not me – tasks that you can delegate
  • Step Six: Yes, me – tasks that you need to do and have deadlines that are coming up

These levels are meant to represent a sort of inverted pyramid, starting with a wide scope that will catch the clunky projects that should not be on the list at all, and then proceeds to keep catching the tasks that are being processed until you are left with the tasks that are meant for you and need to be done now.

The training went as far as to offer examples of how to apply this system to actual situations. You would start by determining what project you want to evaluate. Take this blog post for example. This post is something that has value, and so it goes past that first step. I know all the information I need for the project so we can go past step two. The deadline is very close, and this is something that a device cannot do for me, so that covers steps three and four. The blog is based on my experience and what I have learned, meaning I cannot delegate, moving past step five. Having determined that this project must be done by me soon, I must go ahead and schedule to do it within the coming days. This is the funnel in action!

Early in the training, Crenshaw discusses a way in which we can try ranking the value of tasks in accordance with our time by saying:

“List all the different kinds of work-related activities that you perform. Then, after you’ve listed out all the activities, write the estimated value per hour for each of those activities… Then, after you’ve made this list, with all the values per hour, rank each activity according to how much it’s worth.”

In doing this, you are preparing to see what you will run through the funnel, and it will also help if you have more than one task that fall within step six.

I went into this training thinking that there wasn’t much I could learn when it came to prioritizing, but I was proved wrong. Crenshaw reassures us that procrastinating is useful when done correctly, something that helped me be more confident in my study habits and not feel like my process was entirely bad. I think this training would be an amazing resource for any major, but especially PWR majors. We have so many focuses and projects that we often get lost in them, and having a training like this early on in your college career could make a big difference in your experience as a student. I think what I liked the most is that Crenshaw doesn’t shame you or make you feel bad if you don’t prioritize properly.

From a procrastinator who gets caught up in small meaningless tasks, give this training a try; you won’t regret it.

Young woman in a maroon graduation gown with a yellow stole and red cord

 

Myrta Santana graduated in 2021 with majors in Professional Writing & Rhetoric and Art History.

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Mad Men in the Digital Space: How additional courses on running ad campaigns can benefit PWR students

Angela Myers ’21 (PWR)

I decided to complete a Google Ads course because one of my clients asked me to run a Google Ads campaign, and it could be a useful skill to know as a future digital marketer. Whenever I have conversations with those in the digital marketing space, they always warn me away from running Google Ads; it’s a tricky thing to do well and takes a lot of practice (practice which includes investing in advertising). With this warning in mind, I went into the LinkedIn Learning Google Ads Essential Training course believing it would be about as fun as going to the dentist. The outcome of the course was to gain my Google Ads certification, a free exam from Google, and to outline a campaign for my client by the end of the semester.

The Google Ads Essential Training course is 2 hours and 28 minutes long and did a great job demystifying what Google Ads is. While there are some more complicated parts of running Google Ads campaigns, if one understands SEO, marketing funnels, Google Analytics, and basic copywriting principles, the course is easy to understand. At its heart, Google Ads campaigns rely on a persuasive, easy user experience from when someone initially clicks on the ad until they make a purchase, similar to many of the principles learned by Professional Writing and Rhetoric students.

When designing a campaign, one needs to come up with a couple SEO friendly keywords to plug into the description (usually three phrases) which will not only adhere to popular search results, but also appeal to a human when they see the ad. Depending on the type of ad, you might also be able to show a visual on the initial page or add a short description to entice them to click. Whenever they click on an ad, Google charges the advertiser so you want to ensure the landing page associated with the ad offers what the initial phrases advertised, is easy to navigate, and persuades users to convert (whether that be to join a newsletter, purchase a product, agree to hop on a sales call, or complete another revenue-earning task).

The part which differed from the basic principles of rhetoric, such as creating persuasive content with the user in mind, was understanding the analytical decisions needed for a successful ad campaign. Along with searching for keywords, advertisers have to understand how much money to invest in campaigns and how to increase the conversion rate to make the cost per click worth the investment.

This course did have two downfalls. The first is that while it is a great introductory course to Google Ads, it did not teach me enough to get my Google Ads certification. I had to also take the one hour and 12 minute LinkedIn Learning course, Advanced Google Ads, and complete an analysis on past campaigns run by my client to understand enough to pass the certification. If you are interested in running ad campaigns for yourself, clients, or as part of a future role or internship, taking these courses in tandem with some real world Google Ad examples will offer a comprehensive dive into the world of paid marketing.

The second downfall is that I would not recommend this course unless you have extensive knowledge of marketing funnels, Google Analytics, SEO, and basic copywriting principles. There are other fantastic LinkedIn Learning courses on these topics, and SEO and copywriting principles are touched upon in PWR classes, but you really have to have a good grasp on these three fields before diving into Google Ads. While a serious time investment, these Google Ads courses can be a great asset to those looking to go into paid advertising or reflecting on how the main goal of digital marketing, and most writing roles, should be to drive conversions.

A young woman with brown hair sitting in a chair, holding a MacBook

 

Angela Myers is a content creator, social media strategist, and writer. You can connect with her freelance work at angelamyerscreative.com or her personal brand which provides book recommendations and literary lifestyle tips to an audience of over 20,000 booklovers on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and Youtube.

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InDesign 2020 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning

Abby Fuller ’21 (PWR & ENG:CRW)  

This year I had the opportunity to serve as Editor-in-Chief for Colonnades Literary and Art Journal, Elon University’s student run organization that publishes student work in visual art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Although I served as a Co-Nonfiction Editor the previous school year, the new job of Editor-in-Chief required a lot of new skills that were less familiar to me, and one of the most important skills was InDesign.

I had some previous experience in InDesign when I took PWR 2100 (formerly PWR 217): Professional Writing and Technology Studio in Fall of 2018, but a lot of my skills were basic, and I created a final InDesign deliverable for the course that I wasn’t that proud of. Before I put together the annual issue of Colonnades, I knew I needed to advance my skills in that area and decided to take a LinkedIn Learning course in order to gain confidence in the technology. I chose LinkedIn Learning because it is free as an Elon student, and because my time as a student at Elon is quickly coming to an end, I decided to take advantage of this educational opportunity when I still could. Additionally, I’ve learned that I do better with short videos and quizzes rather than passive reading or videos that are long and drawn out. I also like the idea of completing individual skills rather than wide-sweeping topics. The course that I specifically took is titled InDesign 2020 Essential Training, and I found it very interesting and informative.

Screen shot from InDesign 2020 Essential Training course on LinkedIn Learning

Screen shot from InDesign 2020 Essential Training course on LinkedIn Learning

The essential training covered a lot of basics that were helpful for me in gaining a wide range of skills and not just a specific set of knowledge. Although the course started out with things that felt a little too basic, such as creating a new document, it laid a nice foundation of knowledge that I was able to build on later. It also allowed you to work with exercise files, helping you practice the skills you learn. The most important thing that I learned was in the final major section of the course, which focused on packaging, printing, and exporting. This is something that I didn’t know much about. Before the course I thought a simple click on the “save” button would do the trick; however when working with a document with lots of fonts, images, and links, packaging a file proved to be one of the most important things to do correctly. In the beginning, saving the 125-page journal made me anxious because I was worried that I would mess something up and lose all the work, but through this training, I gained confidence in my ability to create important and clean work while also being able to save it correctly.

The skills that I learned in InDesign 2020 Essential Training helped me work more confidently and efficiently when putting together the Colonnades journal. I was able to work on the basics without the help of my design editor, which allowed her to work more creatively on the overall design and not just input the content into the software. I also found myself being a more collaborative thinker, who took into consideration the format and limitations of the software when considering design and aesthetics. Additionally, over the 2020-2021 school year I worked as the Publishing Intern for the Center for Engaged Learning, and because of my new knowledge about InDesign, I was put on more technologically advanced projects, such as making interactive PDFs.

In my future, I hope to work in writing and publishing, fields that work with InDesign as the leading standard in publication software. I will be working with the software in my professional future, and I am so grateful that I was able to expand my skill set and work with even more confidence. Through the training program and applying my knowledge in tangible ways, I feel confident about my abilities and what I can bring to a workplace.

I would definitely recommend completing this InDesign 2020 Essential Training course if you want to grow in your InDesign skills. Additionally, LinkedIn Learning has so many helpful courses that are free for Elon students, so this is the perfect opportunity to build your skillset in a structured way.

young woman with brown hair and glasses standing in front of a body of water

Abby Fuller is a 2021 graduate of Elon University with majors in Professional Writing & Rhetoric and English: Creative Writing.

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PWR Perspective on Study Abroad: Myrta Santana-Santini

Besides fulfilling the internship and research requirements of their major, some PWR students decide to take advantage of one or more of the other experiential learning opportunities that Elon offers. Studying abroad (either for the summer, winter term, or a whole semester) is one of the most popular options. One PWR major who chose to include this experience in her college journey is senior Myrta Santana-Santini; she studied in Alicante, Spain for the 2020 spring semester. While Myrta unfortunately had to return to the United States early because of the COVID-19 pandemic, her experience abroad informed her understanding of languages, world cultures, her professional goals, and herself, as she shared in her responses to the following questions:

Why did you decide to study abroad in Spain and more specifically in Alicante?

Having been born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an education that was primarily in Spanish, the best answer I can give is that I missed the language. I love the English language, but something about learning in your native language is different. I also have to confess that I chose Spain because I knew it would not be a major challenge, meaning that I could learn while also taking a break of sorts. Now as to why Alicante? The beach. I wanted to be close to the beach again, because after living my whole life close to the beach, these last three to four years in NC where the beach is three hours away has been weird.

What classes did you take while abroad?

While I was abroad, I took five classes total, one of them being a two-week intensive course on the Spanish language and grammar. This was actually funny and frustrating because while I am fluent in Spanish and it’s my first language, Puerto Rican Spanish is very different from Spain Spanish. After that course was done, I began my full semester classes which included History of Spain, Art History of Spain, Colloquial Spanish, and Pop Culture in Spain. These classes were all very interesting, and they helped me adapt to the day to day life in Spain while also learning Spanish history. My favorite was the Colloquial Spanish class because so many words that I use have multiple meanings, and being able to pick those out and see why they mean what they do to each place was an amazing experience.

Did you visit any interesting places while in Spain, and if so, where did you go?

I was only able to visit some places in Spain–not as many as I would have wanted, but enough for the time I had. I went to Barcelona, Valencia, and Granada for a weekend each, and the experiences I had in each city were unforgettable. Granada was my favorite because of the mix of cultures present there and the historical landmark La Alhambra. As an art history double major, being able to visit this fortress is something I am still not over.

I was only able to visit one place outside Spain, but it was Paris, so that made up for it. Paris is an amazing city that captivated me; one of my favorite moments from my time there was in a bookstore (because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t visit a bookstore abroad). The Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is a hole-in-the-wall store that everyone seems to know about and want to visit, and I understand why. The space inside is cramped, covered in books of all genres, and has a calm and serene feeling even when there are many people inside. As I was walking around, I saw that they would stamp whatever book you bought with a store stamp as proof that you visited, so of course I had to buy a book. The employees also wrote surprise poems on a typewriter for customers to read. It was the perfect experience for my English-major-nerd heart.

What did you find most interesting about Spanish culture?

The most interesting things about Spanish culture, in my opinion, are how laid back they are and how little they care about the small things. We learned the saying “no pasa nada,” which translates to “everything is okay” or “there is no problem.”

How did the semester go for you after COVID-19 became a global pandemic?

Unfortunately, I only had two and half months in Spain, instead of the four and a half I was supposed to have. While I am grateful for the time I did have, it was frustrating because many of the trips I had planned were scheduled for the second half of the semester. The program also did not want to give us a refund for a portion of the semester we didn’t have there because we still finished the classes online, but it wasn’t the same. The whole purpose of those classes was the immersion–to practice what we learned in a real environment. So in a way the experience was not complete, but in the end, “no pasa nada.”

How did this experience apply to your majors and/or future career goals?

I want to hopefully work within the editing and publishing field, and I want to be able to use my bilingual abilities within my career. I have considered working with translation, and this experience taught me that even when you know something there is always more to learn, because I learned much more about the Spanish language during my time abroad within the context of Spain.

Would you recommend the Alicante program to other students? Why or why not?

I don’t know if it was because of the pandemic, but I will admit that the Alicante CIEE office was a bit disorganized. However, the professors themselves were amazing. Again, I can’t give an accurate recommendation because of the situation, but I will say that location-wise, the experience is worth it.

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PWR Internship Perspective: Abby Fuller

Besides undergraduate research, every PWR major at Elon is required to complete at least one internship before graduation. Many students find writing-related internship positions over the summer with a variety of companies and organizations across the country, but some choose to intern during the school year with local organizations or departments and programs on Elon’s campus. Senior Abby Fuller is one of the PWR students who has an on-campus internship this semester—she serves as a Publishing Intern at the Center for Engaged Learning (CEL). CEL Publishing Interns receive class credit but no pay during their first semester, and many are given the opportunity to continue the internship for a second semester with pay. Besides these benefits, Abby has shared other insights into her daily internship work as well as its correlations to her PWR courses and future career plans:

How did you hear about and apply for your internship?

I heard about the Publishing Internship through emails that were sent out to all Elon English majors and on the Elon Job Network. After doing my own research from the Job Network, I saw that the position was in my skill set and decided to apply.

What are your typical internship tasks each week?

My job changes every single day depending on the tasks that I need to complete. But I go into my workspace at the Center for Engaged Learning from 2pm–5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. After talking with my boss, Jennie Goforth (CEL’s Managing Editor), who gives me a list of tasks for the day or week, I typically am given the full three hours to complete those tasks on my own. Some tasks I’ve done in the past include book trailers for new releases (see an example below!), social media reports for comparable publishing companies, and copy editing work.

What is your favorite thing so far about the internship?

I have loved how I am given a lot of freedom to complete the tasks in the way I think is best, and I love how much feedback I receive from my two bosses, Jennie and Jessie (CEL’s Director, Jessie L. Moore). They are both committed to making this experience something I will grow from and helping to build my professional skills. I have been so thankful for their commitment to helping me grow and learn.

Have you been able to apply the skills that you’ve learned in your PWR classes to this internship, and if so, how?

During my social media reports and book trailer proposals, I try to include rhetorical terms that look at the audience and how the ethos of CEL is being presented in this project. I have had a lot of opportunities to look at rhetorical skills in copy editing as well—to check that the voice of the writer matches the intended audience and purpose.

Does this internship relate to your post-graduation plans, and if so, how?

As a Creative Writing and PWR double major, I have definitely been interested in getting into the publishing field post-graduation. Although I would ideally like to work in a more mainstream market and not specifically academic/higher education writing, I have been able to apply a lot of these lessons to any type or genre of work, because the process remains very similar across many fields. I also recognize that not everyone gets their dream job at their dream company in their dream field right after graduation, and I think this is a great lesson in learning about the process even if the field itself is not fully using my skill set. Lastly, as a Creative Writing major, I would love to write and have someone publish a book of mine one day, so this experience has been helpful to learn more about the field and see if this is something I could do myself one day.

Would you recommend this internship to other PWR students? Why or why not?

Yes, I definitely would. I love working with Jessie Moore and Jennie Goforth, and it has been so convenient to work on campus and to learn from people who understand my life as an Elon student as well. I would love to talk with anyone interested in this position in the future.

 

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