Graduate level work is and can be fascinating. It differs, at least in most cases, from that done when one is an undergraduate in that the student usually has a clearer idea of what he or she wishes to pursue. After much deliberation and a somewhat unsuccessful attempt in another field and at another institution, I decided to search for Master’s programs in Communication that might aid me in my goal of blogging for a major media outlet. Google, as relevant as it often is, brought up the James L. Knight online program at Queens University as the first hit, probably also due to the fact that this institution is relatively close to me.
I have just about completed one semester, and thus far I can say that it is a near perfect fit. First, it works well with me as a working individual. I have time to complete projects, and because the class is conducted mostly on discussion boards and the like, I can easily log into and work on assignments on the phone during my long bus commutes.
Secondly, we are given plenty of opportunities to practice developing multimedia skills. Both of the courses thus far have hinged largely on the creation of Inquiry Projects, requiring us to research a topic, either from the text or some other movie or book, and demonstrate how various communication theories and frameworks are represented therein. To do this, we must generate PowerPoint (or similar software) presentations and upload them to YouTube. I feel that this is making me more prepared not only for the writing I hope to do, but also for the potential to do some audio reporting as well, should that opportunity present itself. Vocal fluency is emphasized, the ability to get words and thoughts across easily while making oneself understood. We give honest peer critiques as well, which helps to see our stronger and weaker points.
Finally, and this is of course the most important part with regards to job preparation, all of this information is posted to an ongoing blog, along with additional blog posts as requested by the instructor. This will have the effect of creating a portfolio that I can then use when preparing to pursue internships, as I will also be doing shortly. I would thus recommend continuing to use the same blog, rather than changing them for each course as I have seen some do already. But I do not think this is a strict requirement. As stated earlier, I am a relative novice so am not entirely certain of all modes of applicability to my career search. But I tend to believe that we get out of that what we put into it. Approach it with an open mind, ready to learn from and work with others, improve speaking, writing, and reading comprehension. Remember as well to start making those connections before program completion, as this vastly increases likelihood of employability upon conclusion. I have learned this from personal experience. Wishing all well!