MCCC Public Relations class stresses usefulness of iPads

 Students interested in taking public relations classes at Montgomery County Community College will zoom into their futures with a new offering that focuses on the use of Apple iPads in PR.

Tom Donlan, the professor who’ll teach the class, said that he got the idea from a blog written by a public relations professional that he checks frequently.

In his blog, “Gregarious,” Greg Matusky, of the Ardmore firm Gregory FCA Communications, wrote that iPads will change how public relations professionals do their job.

“This sea change means a lot for the practice of public relations,” Matusky wrote. “In order to manage the narrative of our clients, we now have to create stories that are cross platform, capable of being reported in words, or through a YouTube video, or a slideshow or even an app.”

Donlan said the class, to be offered starting this fall, will take place partially online.

However, it will include physical classes the first and last days, along with a four session writer’s workshop at the middle of the semester. The college received an anonymous gift that allowed it to buy 10 iPads that students will be able to use, he said.

Because public relations work is often written, rather than visual like marketing, iPads are a perfect vehicle, Donlan said.

“Our messages are text driven,” he said. Those messages “don’t work quite as well on hand held technology. The iPads are large enough for text driven messages. We have to start writing with this technology in mind. We have to start incorporating apps in our clients’ events.”

“The iPad, given its size and portability, became the game changer for PR,” he added.

“I want my students to have the opportunity to see that screen and understand what a message looks like. Also, I want them to think more visually. That is the norm of tablet technology. Messages can’t just be text driven.”

“Tablet technology is where the cutting edge is right now in PR,” Donlan added.

Other speech and communications professors at MCCC are also exploring the use of iPads in their classes, he said.

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