An online program increases graduates’ career prospects
Communication professionals in an online program enhance their skills and career prospects
University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Los Angeles, California
In the 1970s, the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC Annenberg) launched its master of communication management (MCM) program geared toward working professionals looking to improve their management skills and overall employability.
Over time, “the professional landscaped changed,” explained Neil Teixeira, the director of distance learning at USC Annenberg. “A lot of the folks who had come to USC Annenberg for a full-time master’s degree were no longer able to do that. Their companies were no longer sponsoring them to get master’s degrees.”
To meet the needs of professionals, USC Annenberg developed an online MCM program. The school collaborated with Pearson Embanet, which offers online program management (OPM) services, to launch and support the program. Pearson provides marketing, recruitment, course development support, and retention services. The first students enrolled in the online program in the fall of 2011.
“Everything we teach comes from the on-campus program,” noted Rebecca Weintraub, clinical professor and director of the MCM program. “We have one master of communication management program and two methods of delivery, but the program is the same.”
The program is geared toward increasing students’ career success. “The thing that enhances employability for all of our students in the online program is the immediate applicability of the content,” Teixeira said. “Students are always impressed with how easily they can translate what they learn in the classroom to what they do on a daily basis at work.”
The skills students develop and the strategies they learn are also applicable to a wide range of fields and specializations, such as PR, journalism, or marketing, which further enhances students’ employability. Students learn “strategic communication principles and strategic management principles that they can apply in many different contexts,” noted Teixeira.
Both Teixeira and Weintraub emphasized the importance of the courses’ instructional design, which enables the online program to support working professionals in achieving the faculty’s learning goals.
The program I have is exactly the program I wanted to have. I would not have been able to do it on my own.
Rebecca Weintraub, Clinical Professor and Director, MCM Program, USC Annenberg
“One of the most significant results of the program is the effect that our online course development has had on our campus teaching,” observed Teixeira. “Our faculty members have worked really hard to develop excellent online courses. What they’ve learned in the process is how to optimize their classes and make them more effective in general.”
Faculty members are using content they developed for their online courses in a flipped learning environment in their on-campus classes. “Because students review the online materials between classes, the time in class can be spent on discussion and application,” Weintraub said. “It makes the classroom time much more effective.”
Since the online MCM program was launched, 216 students have graduated.
Number of Graduates, Online Master of Communication Management Program
By the time they have graduated from the online program, students have gained strong personal and professional connections. “We built a curriculum that centers on collaboration within virtual teams,” Teixeira explained. He credits the collaborative environment and an online platform that allows students to interact with each other 24/7 with building strong ties between students—ties that have led to new jobs and new careers for many graduates.
Weintraub has also seen how the program has increased graduates’ career success. “We’re getting a lot of testimonials from people who are getting promotions or getting new jobs based on the work that they have done and what they have learned in the program,” she noted.
This program has given me the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to land a big position.
Alexis Santoro, Graduate, Online MCM Program, USC Annenberg
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Pearson Embanet partners with higher education institutions to develop and sustain rigorous online learning degree programs. We provide funding and expertise in program development, marketing, admissions, technical support, and student services to help institutions meet their online education goals.