story is an important part of the vcu ad program
Story is the first advertising writing course in our curriculum. Before Story, students take Curiousness, a course on creativity, idea generation, and brands. After Story, students will go on to take the craft-level courses. Majors in our Strategic track will learn about account planning and account management. Those in our Creative track will learn about copywriting and art direction. All students need to know how to think strategically, how to think creatively, and how to write wonderfully.

what the students should learn in story
The primary goal for this course is for students to learn to engage consumers through writing. The stories need to inspire consumers to change their opinions and their behavior in a way that follows strategic direction of a brand.
To make Story successful, ensure students learn to:
• develop characters.
• realize a voice that will engage the target audience.
• capitalize on the parts of a story.
• know what makes a story interesting
• create headlines that capture attention.
• craft body copy that persuades.
• write appropriately for the media.
• engineer strategies that meet the brand objectives.
• master grammar and sentence structure.
• find answers to unasked questions.

grade with accuracy and fairness
We strive for excellence by creating a rigorous learning environment. Please set high standards, and you’ll see that the students will do impressive work. A good rule of thumb for grading is:
• 10 – 20% of the work will be exceptional = A.
• 15 – 25% of the work will be above average = B.
• 25 – 50% of the work will be average = C.
• 10 – 20% of the work will be below average = D.
•   0 – 10% of the work will be poor = F.

the syllabus should describe and inspire
• Incorporate these teaching guidelines into the syllabus and into the projects.
• After reading the syllabus, students should feel inspired to want to take your class and want to learn.
• Develop a course calendar with dates for tests and projects deadlines.

mark your calendar for success
Before Day 1:  Design the course. Write the syllabus. Develop the course calendar (search “vcu academic calendar” for days the university is closed). Create the assignments.
Day 1 or before:  Distribute the syllabus. Blackboard makes it easy — no need to print multiple copies of the syllabus. Email the syllabus to Francis Lynch (in the MASC main office) at She needs to keep a copy.
Week 4:  In class, talk about why Story is important. Discuss the design of the course and what students should learn in the class. Show how Story connects with the profession and with the rest of the VCU Ad curriculum. Tell your story (your learning experiences, your day-to-day professional life, your passions, and your avocations).
Week 6:  Reach out to students who are not engaged in the course. Encourage them to have a dialogue with you. Show that you care about them and their success.
Week 8:  The midpoint. Ask for anonymous feedback on the course and your teaching of it. Find out what students like and what is most challenging. See what things students want to learn.
Week 14:  Ask students to reflect on the course. What unexpected things did they learn?  What was most valuable? What was the least useful? What was most challenging? How will they use the learning in the future? Discuss these things with the class.
Week 15:  Celebrate the successes of the experience. Check the VCU academic calendar for when grades are due on eServices.


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