USC Online Master of Communication Management Program Overview Webinar

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Date
Originally presented, February 1, 2015

Description

This event is a broad overview of the program, the online community and also covers admission requirements.

Panelists

Dr. Rebecca Weintraub Clinical Professor and Director, Master of Communication Management program

Neil Teixeira Director of Distance Learning USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Transcript

Melissa:
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today for the University of Southern California online Master of Communication Management webinar. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to find out more about this online program. This session will be audio only that you will hear through your computer speaker. We have reserved time at the close of this presentation to answer all of your questions. During the webinar, please feel free to type your questions into the Q&A box as you think of them throughout the presentation. We hope you find the session informative and helpful. Here is our agenda for today.

Now, I am pleased to introduce our panelists. Our first speaker today is Dr. Rebecca Weintraub, the clinical professor and director for the Master of Communication Management program. In addition to teaching, she provides strategic communication planning, presentation, executive coaching, management training, facilitation and consulting services to organizations in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including work for the Navy and Department of Defense. Now for our second speaker today. Our second speaker is Neil Teixeira. He is the director of distance learning at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

He has worked in the field of distance learning for over 14 years, developing online education programs with USC and Google. He is an alumnus of the USC Annenberg Master of Communication Management program. Now, I’d like to move on to our next slide and pass it along to our first presenter, Dr. Weintraub.

Rebecca Weintraub:
I’m delighted that you are all here, and thank you, Melissa. I think that you are all on this call because you know a little bit about who we are at USC Annenberg. We are considered the No. 1 communication school in the country, and that’s because we have an amazing community here, whether it’s students, staff, world-renowned faculty. We study communication in every conceivable venue and every conceivable manner, and we’re pretty confident that communication is at the center of what drives most activities, whether it’s in the business world, the political world – certainly true today – the entertainment world, the non-profit world, and that’s what we’re interested in.

You’ll be working collaboratively with your faculty and your cohort colleagues throughout the program. You’ll find that you’re working on real-world issues, real-world organizations, and the kinds of situations that communication practitioners of all kind find themselves in. As you can tell, perhaps, from my voice, I’ve been communicating a lot, so let me just take a quick sip of water, and I think I can keep going. Whether it’s in our undergrad programs, our masters programs, or our PhD programs, we know, because we have the historical data to show it, that we create leaders who can take intellectual risk, can link academic research with real-world problems and solutions and with entrepreneurial perspective and the highest of ethical standards.

If you’re looking at a master’s program, you want to make sure that you are going into an accredited program. We have a WASC accreditation, which is the highest we can get here at USC. USC, overall, is ranked in the top 25 best national universities. We think that’s really important because when you come in to a – I need to know from one of my colleagues – okay, I see now. I wanted to make sure that the slide I was looking at was the slide you were all looking at, and we are, so life is good. If you’re looking at a master’s program, you want to make sure that it is a rigorous program that is really going to stretch you intellectually, is going to prepare you to stretch professionally.

That’s what we have in the MCM program. We have tracks that are geared toward experienced professionals, people with 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20 and 25 years in the workplace who want to increase their knowledge and skills. The world has changed a lot since people with a lot of work experience were in the classroom. While we know that working professionals have had to adapt and learn new skills and learn how to incorporate technologies and data into the work that they do, sometimes that can be hard to do on the job. But additionally, we have a new professionals track for people who are looking to launch their communication careers and do not have the flexibility to move to Los Angeles and be in our on-campus program.

Students in the online program tell us that they are applying what they’ve learned immediately. I think it is a really important piece to that. So I want to share with you a little bit that I’ve been hearing from some of our grads, who talk about – I teach a class that looks at strategic communication planning. One of the students wrote me and said that she had graduated, but she still sees my updates and notes of encouragement. She wrote to say that she still enjoys getting those. By the way, I’m still using the strategic planning templates that we used in 502. That always makes me really happy because I like to know that they’ve been doing that.

Students also find that this work prepares them for new jobs. One of the things we do is we have an alumni panel for our current students to talk to alums about what they learned or how they’re using it. There was a student who was in a lower management position in marcom, at a company that I won’t name, and was given an opportunity to interview for a marketing communication manager position at a much bigger company, a Fortune 50 company, and was told that one of her standout attributes was that she was a graduate of this program. After she had the interview, where she talked a lot about things that she had learned in the program, although not in that context, when she got home, she got the job.

So we know that what you are learning in this program is very applicable to the work that you are doing and the work that you want to do. The reason for that, and the reason it makes it special, is we are an applied program, but what we apply very much is data and academic literature. We believe very strongly that the academic work that is done by professionals in organizational development, organizational communication, marketing communication, market research is extremely useful when looking at business, non-profit, public communication issues. What we also know is those research results do not tend to get translated into the popular business _____.

So one has to be able to find them and have intellectual access to them. Because academic literature is not like reading a book that is a popular business press book that has taken that academic literature and pulled out the critical information. You’re gonna be going to the original research, which I think is much more powerful. Our professors, who we’ll talk about in a little bit, are extraordinarily experienced and gifted. They have academic experience. They all have doctorates. But more importantly, perhaps, they have all worked in some manner, shape, way, or form, with companies and organizations outside of academia.

I probably lead that charge because I spent 20 years between academic gigs, but all of them serve as consultants, as coaches, as executive education and training professionals, and they bring that experience to the classroom, as well. But you will also learn a lot from the people that you’re in school with because you’ll be working with them. You’ll be collaborating. You’ll be working in groups. They have experiences. You’re gonna discover that you can be given the same problem, the same set of data around that problem, and look at it very differently. Sometimes that’s annoying because you want everybody to see the world the way you do, but as we all know, that’s not the way the work world works.

It becomes extremely valuable to be able to understand how other people have looked at the same information and reached a different conclusion or reached a different approach. It is the combining of those, not compromising, but discussing, evaluating, looking at the potential implications of the different approaches out of which the best solution actually comes. That can be hard to do in the workplace. It’s not always easy in the academic educational world, but it’s an important skill to learn. We get a lot of people asking about what is an MCM. The MCM is a unique kind of degree. It’s not a Master of Arts; it’s not a Master of Science. It is a degree granted by the Annenberg School for Communication.

What it does is give you the opportunity to be able to look deeply into strategy, think critically about issues facing organizations, and being innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial in determining the solutions. In communication, we rarely find that there is a job that requires a master’s degree. Unlike the MBA, which can often be the price of admission for many kinds of jobs, communication has never been that kind of field. But what we know is that coming out of this program, you will look at problems differently. You will have taken a course on strategy and change, which will help you look at the world differently and look at how you engage a workforce, engage management, engage customers in the change process in a way that makes everyone more successful.

One of the things that you will discover is that the people you work with in your program are gonna become some of your closest friends. One of the concerns I often hear from people who are trying to decide between an on-campus or an online program is they like the interaction, they like to have the connection. I always laugh because what I know after five years of running this online program – and I’ve been teaching online – in the on-campus program, we have one online class – since 2003. Online learning is not only richer, but online interaction with each other is much deeper and much longer lasting. Because our on-campus students come to class – they go to class, sometimes they’ll work in groups, and then they go back to their lives.

That small time in class is the bulk of the time they spend together. But online, you’re connecting all the way through your two-week modules. One person told us that he said to a colleague the other day this job is what puts food on our tables, and how come we’re so – he says I wonder why we are less supportive to each other than my online master’s classmates are to me? Can you imagine how much stronger we would be if everyone was as uplifting as my classmates? The students have a commitment to each other, which means they don’t let each other down. They’re there when somebody needs to be pulled. They’re there when somebody needs to be encouraged.

I think that is one of the reasons the program is so important. I talked to you a little bit about how you’ll leverage the degree post master’s, but part of what you’re going to have coming out of this is a portfolio. You’ll have an e-portfolio in our learning management system, where you will put samples of the kind of work you can do. Perhaps you want to continue in the work that you’re doing, you just want to move up. This will give you an opportunity to demonstrate to your current boss or in an interview what you are capable of doing. Perhaps you’re looking to move from employee communication to marketing communication, or as one person did, from teaching into corporate communication.

Your portfolio, the work that you’ve done, will give you an opportunity to demonstrate what you are able to do. We’re always asked what’s the nature of the difference between the Master of Communication Management and the Master of Business Administration? To me, the main difference is our graduates are people people, and they are word people. The MBA is very much an analytical, numbers-based program. We think the financial information, accounting, those kinds of product development issues are obviously very, very important, and there are jobs that require that. But in general, those are not jobs our people are interested in.

Our people would not be happy running a finance organization or being the chief financial officer. They’re much more likely to want to engage with communication with customers, communication with suppliers, communication with investors, communication with management, with employees, to be consultants on communication. Those are the kinds of jobs that require the skillset that our people come in with. It has less to do, I think, with what we study, although we obviously study different things, but much more how do you want to spend your work life? Generally, our people want to spend their work life solving the problems of people, rather than the problems of numbers.

In terms of drilling down a little bit into your learning and career opportunities, the world of business is complex. It’s complex because it’s made up of people, and people are nowhere near as predictive as I think our business colleagues would like to think that they are. So I think it’s really important to be able to think critically, thoughtfully, around the problems of business and how communication fits into them. Because part of what’s true is communication is everywhere. We all know that. But we tend to look at communication in organizations as a goldfish looks upon the water. Water to a goldfish is invisible, and they don’t think about it.

They don’t know about it. They don’t have to come to terms with it until it either goes bad or it’s non-existent. That’s the way I think communication works in the organizational space. Communication is the process by which everything gets done. It’s how information gets shared. It’s how people are given direction, how people develop strategy, share strategy, but we don’t start to really think about it until it has either gone bad, or it has – it is almost non-existent. Those are the problems we solve – use critical thinking, writing. We expect our students to come in as good writers. You will go out as a better writer. I know that because we’re the only program at the Annenberg School that has our own writing coach, and he works both with our on-campus students and our online students.

He will do online workshops, as well as hold one-on-one meetings. We think presentation and oral advocacy is important. ‘Cause the way decisions get made in the workplace today is around a conference table. Somebody makes a presentation, makes a pitch for an idea, a product, an approach, and then it gets debated. The ability to do that, I think, is a make or break, and it is something that our students, we expect to excel at. We are very data centric. We know that most people who are strong on communication are intuitive. We can suss out what the issues are, what people are thinking, what’s going on, a whole variety of things like that. But we also are sometimes not as good at backing up that intuition with data.

When you’re dealing with leaders who are often more analytically and data driven, like CFOs, like line managers, like CEOs, we think that understanding data, being able to collect data, being able to analyze data are critical skills. We make sure you have them. Communication has to be global. We all know that. So we make sure that some of the work that you do in the program looks at it from global perspectives, whether it’s in marketing, whether it’s in corporate communication. You can see the kinds of careers that our students and graduates are in. They’re all over the place.

One of the people who was in our second cohort had been in a public relations firm and wanted to work in house and became the director of communication and marketing for a hospital that had undergone a lot of difficulty, had just reorganized, re-formed, rebuilt, and he’s doing everything from branding to patient communication, to employee communication, and tells me a lot that he could never have had such a broad scope in: a) working in a PR firm; and b) had he not gone through the program. So you’ll be able to go into a variety of different kinds of jobs. You’ll be able to do that because you’re gonna take a variety of courses.

Everyone will take 500, Managing Communication. That’s our organizational communication class. You’ll get a chance to dive into organizational theory, as well as looking at how communication processes work inside organizations. That’ll be your core class. Then in 540, which will be your first class, you will learn about communication research. You’ll learn how to do it; you’ll learn how to analyze it. Those are skills that you’ll use all the way through the program. The classes on the left, from 500 to 540, are classes that most of you will take. If you are in the new professionals track, you’ll take two marketing classes, two orgcom classes – two org and strategic communication classes, I should say, and two public relations classes.

Because we think for people with less than five years of work experience, that gives you the opportunity to pivot. Because we know that within the first seven to ten years of work, people move around a lot, and we want you to have as much flexibility in that as possible. You’ll take a Capstone class, which will be either 587, 597, 510 or 556 – I’m sorry, or 555. Those will be an opportunity to do an integration of research and application. Those will comprise the eight classes that you take in the program. Although looking at it now, eight classes looks like a lot, it will go by in a heartbeat. Here are our faculty. They’re extraordinary people.

They’re very diverse, both in their areas of expertise, in what they research. Dr. Andrea Hollingshead, who’s in the middle of the top row, researches groups and group leadership and market research. Michael Cody, who is second from the left, has been the editor of a number of communication journals. He studies persuasion influence and health communication. Dr. Paolo Sigismondi, on the bottom, studies global marketing. He was actually a marketer in Italy before he came to the States and received his PhD. We come from a variety of areas and expertise, and we bring that to you in our teaching. The alumni network, sometimes lovingly referred to as the Trojan mafia, is not to be underestimated.

We have an overall USC alumni network of 340,000 people. There are more than 15,000 Annenberg alums all over the world. We do a good job of keeping in touch with them. We have our own little mini alumni network of online alums who stay in touch with us, stay in touch with other, and we do a special homecoming event just for our own online students and alums. Now that we’re in our fifth year, we’re getting more and more alums coming back, and it’s really very exciting. You will have access to these, whether it’s the USC alumni organization in your hometown and going to those events, whether it’s the alumni networking activities that we do online for those students, whether it’s coming to campus when you’re in LA and meeting with faculty and students.

We’re very loyal to our alums. You’re a Trojan for life, period, end of discussion, and we’re very, very proud of it. I have a number of football players in the on-campus program, and I am assured that next year’s gonna be one great football year. The Capstone experience, which I spoke about briefly, you have two options in the way you approach that. You can take one of the classes, and that’s on the right of the slide, or you can decide that there’s a subject, a problem, a research question that you are interested in, and you want to do a deep dive. You will work on that with a faculty advisor and a peer group, although you will be working on this individually.

You’ll be doing academic research. You will conduct original research. You will write a very in-depth paper or project. We break that up into 2 two-unit classes because we know that although it’s four units’ worth of work, you can’t do it in 15 weeks. Whereas, the Capstone class options are all just one more semester, the Capstone experience requires two. It’s very much an individual choice. We originally were requiring everybody to do the practicum. Students came and said this is interesting, and I’m learning, but I would much rather do one more class and take a deep dive into another area of the topics that I’m interested in. So if you’re interested in organizational communication, you would take 505, Communication in Work Settings.

If you’re interested in marketing or almost any kind of communication, to be perfectly frank, you might be interested in 510, which is our persuasion class. It studies influence and looks at how the theories of influence are operationalized in advertising, in communicating with employees, in a variety of areas. Five fifty-five is looking at marketing from an online perspective and taking a deep look at what’s involved in, for companies, looking to expand their online marketing presence. Because as you all probably know, but many companies don’t, it’s nowhere near as easy or as obvious as it seems.

Five eighty-seven takes a deeper dive into research methods, particularly preparing people who want to go into market research, either in using the market research developed by others and being able to analyze those data and actually create a campaign, or maybe do the market research themselves. By now, what you wanna know, I hope, is this sounds really great, I want to get into this. Here’s Neil Teixeira to tell you that.

Neil Teixeira:
Thanks, Dr. Weintraub, and thank you all for attending. One of the things that I want to make clear to everyone who’s considering applying to the program is that the admission process is handled by our faculty. So you’ll be working with an enrollment advisor, and that enrollment advisor will help you prepare your application. Once the application is ready, your faculty, the faculty who will be teaching the online program, are the ones who review those files, look through your materials, and make the decision as to whether or not you’re ready to be a part of this program. The first reviewer for every single application is actually Dr. Weintraub. It’s her academic program, and she wants to make sure she gets a chance to see every single applicant and put in her input.

So if you’re in the program, if you’re admitted, you should know that Dr. Weintraub is the one who said I think this person is ready. When you’re thinking about putting together your admission materials – and I’ll go through them in a minute – think about that, that faculty who will be teaching me the program are the ones looking at this, and they’re the ones making the ultimate decision to admit you into the program. You want to make sure that your written materials are as polished and perfect as possible, and that you do a great job of expressing why you want to be a part of the online Master of Communication Management program at USC Annenberg.

What are we looking for with regards to admissions? Well, there is an online graduate application that you’ll complete through USC’s website. We want to make sure you have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and original copies of all of your college transcripts, so not just the one from your undergraduate degree, but all other colleges that you may have attended. We’re also looking for GRE or GMAT scores from the last five years. If you’ve taken it several years back and it’s within five years, we can go ahead and access those scores and use them for your application. If you need to schedule the GRE, you can work with an enrollment advisor to find out what the opportunities are there to take the GRE.

For people who have a lot of experience, talk to an enrollment advisor. There’s a potential that you’ll be eligible for a waiver. We’re also looking for a statement of purpose. Why do you wanna be a part of the Master of Communication Management program at USC Annenberg, and why the online program? One of the things to think about is why is this the right program for you, and why will you be a great asset to the program? Additionally, writing samples, these could be professional writing samples, they could be academic. If you’ve been out of school for a long time, you don’t have a really good academic writing sample, that’s fine. The enrollment advisor will help kind of coach you on what is an acceptable writing sample.

We’re also looking for an updated resume. Give us a sense of what you’ve been doing professionally since you’ve been out of school. We need two letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources. These should not be people who work for you or alongside you. They should be people who are either supervisors, who understand your commitments to work and your work product. They should be people who can fairly and objectively evaluate you, either as a student or as a professional. If you’re wondering whether or not there’s time to apply for either summer or fall, the answer is yes. Our summer application deadline is in early April for start in first week of May.

We’re able to turn around our application reviews relatively quickly, so you have plenty of time to put together an application for the summer term beginning the first week of May. Additionally, our fall term, which begins the first week of September, you have plenty of time to work on that. We’d like to encourage you to get started as soon as possible. I think one of the best things that we offer is a team of enrollment advisors who are ready to talk to you about your decision to go back to graduate school, help you with putting together your application materials, and generally coach you along this process. We have four individuals who we’ve working with for a long time, Shenna, Gerry, Sarah, and Yesenia, who will be able to work with you and answer any questions you may have.

Their phone number is 213-284-7976, and the various extensions are there. I’m gonna go ahead and open up to questions and just ask you to go ahead and take down that information. We’ll leave it up for a while, so that you can write down the number and contact information of our enrollment advisors. I’ll hand it back to Melissa. Melissa, any questions that have come through so far on Q&A? I’m looking through and some of the questions that we typically get about the program are questions about how long the program takes. Dr. Weintraub, do you have a summary of how long the program typically takes for a professional student?

Rebecca Weintraub:
The program is designed to go two classes a semester for either four or five semesters, depending upon whether the student is doing the 2 two-unit practicum or the Capstone class. We do, upon petition, allow students to take one class. We’ve found that sometimes life gets in the way. We’ve had babies born. We’ve had job changes. We’ve had moves across the country. We’ve had people in the military who are deployed. Sometimes those things require somebody to take just one class that semester. But we also know that people who are most successful in an online program take two classes a semester, so that’s what we encourage, but we work very hard at supporting students the way they need to go through the program.

Neil Teixeira:
Thomas asked the question what is the application deadline for fall 2016? The application deadline for fall 2016 is, I believe, the second week of August. Usually, we have a deadline right around the beginning of August, but I think if you submit your application by – I believe it’s the first Friday in August, or it could be the second Friday in August, that is when we’ll take final applications for fall and review them. Now, if you have most of your materials together and you’re waiting on one particular item, we can usually review a file and make a conditional decision pending, say, a final transcript or a final item that needs to come in, so long as you have your undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, your written materials, all of that.

If the bulk of the package is ready to go, we’ll go ahead and review it, and then offer a conditional decision based on one item that may still be outstanding, but you should talk to your enrollment advisor to make sure that you can get everything in by the deadline, and then we’ll deal with exceptions on a later basis. Dr. Weintraub, one of the questions from _____ is what does the program consider five years’ of professional experience? Is it five years in a related field or something else?

Rebecca Weintraub:
Not so much the related field, but we basically look at it as five years from the baccalaureate for someone who has gone through a traditional arc of high school, college, and graduation. But if someone is only two years out of college because they were a non-traditional student and didn’t start college until they were 33, we will take that other work experience into account. For the most part, what we’re really looking at is what the person has been doing, and do we think that if we put them into the new professional track, they’re gonna get what they wanted. We’ve had people who have been working in public relations for four years, straight from an undergraduate degree in PR.

We often don’t put them into the PR classes because they have that experience. We want to give them the other. So we’re a very non-formulaic program, in the sense that we try to see what it is that’s gonna help our graduates be the most marketable. But in terms of the five years, we’re really looking at a traditional academic arc.

Neil Teixeira:
Great, thank you. One follow-up question from Jennifer is on average, how many years of work experience do students have in this program? The answer to that is that on average, there’s about 11 years of professional work experience for the program. Now, that’s on average. We have some students who come in with five years, and some students who come in with 20 years. We’ve had folks in this program who are CEOs, and we’ve had folks in the program who are just becoming account executives. So there’s a broad range.

But the truth is that you’re gonna have colleagues and peers in this program, people who have professional experience to draw upon, and that’s really what our faculty are hoping to get with the experienced professionals is that they have some substantial work that they’ve done that they can contribute and hopefully, provide some additional insight to your classmates in the program. Another question that’s come up twice is what is the cost of the program? At USC, graduate unit rate tuition is $1,666.00 a unit, and this is a 32-unit program, so it’s 8 four-unit courses for 32 units, and at $1,666.00 a unit, that comes out to about $53,300.00, plus an $85.00 application fee.

Melissa:
Great. Hi, Neil, it’s Melissa. Sorry, I was on mute. I do have another question here about how do people typically fund this program?

Neil Teixeira:
Great. Students at USC, who are eligible, receive federal loans and/or receive funding through their companies most often. The majority of students who are in this program use federal loans to provide the bulk of the financing for the program. We’ve had some others who either apply for and receive scholarships from institutions outside of USC and they bring them in, or in some cases, they have funds that are being provided by their employer to subsidize their tuition, or folks who are coming in from service to the military and have GI funds that they’re using. We actually have several individuals every term, or at least every year, who are coming in from the military, who are participating in this program either as active service, or sometimes retired.

It’s actually quite interesting. We’ve had folks finish the degree program from Afghanistan and from Iraq and from other locations and military installations all over the United States and the globe. To answer your question, generally, you should apply for federal financial aid through USC’s financial aid services and see what you’re eligible for, and then additionally, inquire whether or not your employer has any kind of tuition assistance or subsidy that can be applied for this program. We’re happy to provide any information you need for your employer.

Melissa:
Great, thank you so much. I do have a question here that we typically get. How long does it take to finish the program from start to finish?

Neil Teixeira:
I think Dr. Weintraub kinda touched on that. Most students typically finish within five semesters, maximum, but you can finish the program in four terms quite easily, and a lot of students do. If you take two courses a term, you can finish in four terms, which is essentially 16 months. The majority of our students finish in two years or less, and I would say the most common track is somewhere between four and five semesters, so somewhere between 16 and 20 months.

Melissa:
Great. I have a question here for Dr. Weintraub about – could you please describe what the online learning platform is like for anyone that is maybe unfamiliar with taking an online course or an online program?

Rebecca Weintraub:
Sure. Depending upon how long ago one was in school, most universities today have what we call an LMS or a learning management system. It might be Blackboard. There’s a variety of different ones. We use one called Moodle. A lot of the work is done asynchronously. Most of the courses have two-week modules. For each module, there’s an online learning piece. It’s mini lecturettes. It is not a talking head. It’s exercises, activities. It’s a variety of ways that we give our students what we might have given in a lecture and on campus, but we already know that lecturing is an incredibly inefficient way of sharing knowledge.

Additionally, we have live sessions, which are sometimes groups presenting to the rest of their class, discussions with the section instructor or the course director. Those are done by the section. A section’s 20 people. We do not make those required for live attendance, but we make them required to watch the tape. We usually do them at 6:00, what we call Trojan time, which is whatever time it is in California. So sometimes that’s inconvenient for people. Some classes have a required live session at the end of the semester, but students get to plan for that ‘cause they know from the beginning when that is going to be. Additionally, students work with each other.

They use Google chat, Google Hangouts. They use Skype. Every once in a while, it turns out people actually live near each other, and they will meet there. But you will do the LMS work, discussion starters, on your own. You’ll do the reading on your own. You will do the research for the papers that you write on your own, although you will have, obviously, access to your faculty. Faculty do a variety of different kinds of office hours. We use Skype. We use video webinars. We use telephones. So there are a number of ways that we interconnect. What I will tell you, and for some of you who have not done this, you’ll have just to take my word for it, the learning is richer in online because we don’t spend so much time in the classroom working to the lowest common denominator.

So a lecture that, on campus, would take me three hours, I can put that information together in a way online that will not take you three hours to go through it. The other advantage of online learning is as you are working your way through materials, you can go back to something that was covered earlier. This is particularly true in the research methods class. So not only do you have access, as you go through the research methods, to the online learning materials on how to write surveys, on how to analyze something with SPSS, which is the computer program we use for analyzing statistical data, but you will have access to that throughout the rest of the program.

So in my class, you might be doing a survey of a stakeholder for a client, and you need to remind yourself again about what are the critical areas to remember when you are designing a survey ‘cause maybe you haven’t done it since then, this gives you an opportunity to go back and have access to those data. I hope that answered the question.

Melissa:
Yes, wonderfully, thank you. Actually, I do have another question here for you that pertains to what resources are available to students already living in LA. I imagine what the person’s referring to is if they are in the online program, what resources are available to them as a student living in the local area?

Rebecca Weintraub:
The answer really is the same resources that are the available to the people who are not in the LA area, except if you’re in LA, you might wanna come to campus if there is a lecture that’s gonna be interesting by a visiting scholar. But the library information is all online. So although you can meet with our librarian – there’s a woman named Shameen Tucker, who is a university librarian, who is assigned to Annenberg and knows more about communication literature than I think many of our faculty do – you can meet with her via Skype, via phone, via online, or in person, if you are wanting assistance on researching a topic. Certainly, anyone who comes to campus is welcome to come say hello to me and Neil and get a tour.

If we can work it out, we’ll buy you lunch. But the primary difference if you’re in LA is that you just get the opportunity, assuming your schedule allows it, to come to the kinds of activities that we have going on at Annenberg all the time. I don’t think there’s a day goes by that there isn’t a speaker or a talk or a panel, and obviously you would be welcome to come to those.

Neil Teixeira:
One thing I’d like to add to that is that all of our students in the online program are USC students. You receive a USC card, so long as you submit a picture and you fill out the application for a USC card, which we encourage all of our students to do. We’ll mail you a USC card. If you’re ever in the USC area or you live locally, come by, come to campus, and that USC card will grant you access to the libraries and other types of events that are hosted on campus. Another thing that I wanted to follow up on about the libraries is that if there is some material that’s only available in a print format here on campus at one of our 17 different libraries at USC, the library services has a setup for online students that will have the book mailed to you pre-paid with a pre-paid mailer for returning it.

So you get to check out a book and that book gets mailed to you, physically, so that you can use it as a resource. Then you don’t have to pay to send it back. It has a pre-paid label, so you can just send it right back to the library. We try to make as many of the resources that are available to on-campus students available to our online students. Obviously, some of them we just can’t make available to you, but if you’re ever in the LA area, you are a USC student, so come join us, attend, let us know when you’re coming, so we can meet up with you. I want to touch base on a couple of questions related to finances that have been asked a little later.

One of the questions is is the cost of the program online the same as on campus? The answer is functionally, yes. The tuition rate is the same. The on-campus tuition per course is the same as it would be online. However, there are some fees for being an on-campus student that you won’t have to pay as an online student, things related to health insurance fees and campus activities fees and, additionally, fees related to the health center and things of that sort, or the gym. Those fees that are required of all on-campus students enrolling in a certain number of units are not applicable to online students.

So in some ways, it’s actually a little more affordable to be an online student, but the tuition rate is the same. There was another question about courses that transfer in. Dr. Weintraub, do you have any input as to whether or not students can transfer in any courses and how that works?

Rebecca Weintraub:
Because we’re such a short program, we are not very generous in giving credit for masters-level classes taken elsewhere. However, if a student has taken master’s coursework and would like to see if any of that would be credited, we need to see the syllabus. We’ll have the grade because we’ll have the transcript. Then we will look and see if we think that it is the equivalent of one of our classes and could, therefore, be applied. We will not waive the core class, and we will not waive the research methods class and, obviously, the Capstones.

Neil Teixeira:
Thanks so much. One thing to note is that you must be admitted to the program before we’ll review a request for a transfer course. Once you’re admitted, you can go ahead and put together the syllabi and the courses, and then we’ll go ahead and look at your transcripts and see whether or not there is an equivalency there. As a follow up to that question, too, the same individual asks if you could prepay or lock in tuition rate to avoid any tuition increases? The answer is technically, yes. If you want to pay for the master’s program in full, you will pay whatever that current term or that year’s tuition rate is, and it’ll be locked in, but you must pre-pay in full.

I don’t know many students who do that, but if you are able to, yes, you absolutely can. Another part of that question was how long has this program been offered, and is there any chance that it would be cut while students are still completing it? I think Dr. Weintraub can easily answer that.

Rebecca Weintraub:
This was the first program offered at the Annenberg School. It started in the ‘70s. We are the largest program in the Annenberg School. I promise you that there’s no chance of that happening. Just for the record, just so that you know, no master’s program would be cut until all of the people who had been admitted into that program had graduated. So even if you were in a program that was not going to continue to be offered, everything would continue to be taught until the last student graduated. Not to worry.

[Crosstalk]

Neil Teixeira:
Another question for Dr. Weintraub. What if you have a broadcast journalism or a writing background, can the MCM program help with that?

Rebecca Weintraub:
Yes, because you already know how to do the work. Now you’ll learn how to manage the work.

Neil Teixeira:
To point out, we actually have a lot of students who come to our program who are transitioning from a journalism background, or maybe they’re still staying in journalism, but they wanna add additional skills. It’s actually not uncommon at all for journalists to be in the Master of Communication Management program.

Rebecca Weintraub:
Yes, that’s true, probably needed a slightly longer answer. Good job.

Neil Teixeira:
I think that’s it, Melissa.

Melissa:
I actually have just one quick question I hope that you might be able to answer.

Neil Teixeira:
Go ahead.

Melissa:
The question is what are the requirements and financial support for, say, a UK or international undergrad students hoping to apply to the program?

Neil Teixeira:
That’s a good question, and one I don’t feel sufficiently – I don’t have the expertise to answer that. I know the majority of our students received U.S. federal loans and financial aid through the U.S. government or support through the U.S. government. I do not know how that works for international students. I think the question could be answered by financial aid a little better.

Rebecca Weintraub:
Neil, I can answer that because we get a lot of international students on campus. We don’t get that many online. You are not eligible for U.S. government loans or financial aid if you are not a U.S. citizen. Most of our international students are either self-funded or parental funded, or sometimes – I have one student who is a Fulbright Scholar on campus this semester, but international students are not eligible. But Neil is right that if you want to know more of the detail, go to the USC financial aid page in the website and perhaps contact them.

Neil Teixeira:
Thanks, Dr. Weintraub, appreciate that. Any other questions, Melissa?

Melissa:
That looks to be all the questions that we have for today. What I’d like to do is just end by thanking everyone for attending. Then I’ll pass it to both of our presenters to share their thanks, as well, before we end.

Neil Teixeira:
Thank you all so much for attending today. If you have any follow-up questions or questions that you didn’t get to ask today, please go ahead and contact any one of our enrollment advisors. They’re standing by on the phone and via email to get back to you and answer any questions you may have outstanding.

Rebecca Weintraub:
I look forward to reading a whole lot of applications very soon.

Melissa:
Thank you both. Thank you to our presenters. Everyone have a wonderful day, thank you.

Rebecca Weintraub:
Thank you.

Neil Teixeira:
Thanks _____.

[End of Audio]