Students in Media Management 357 knew they were getting themselves into something different. For some, it was taking a class that was outside their main academic focus. For others, it was stretching themselves to consider other careers. For most, it was being taught by someone who was 621 miles away.
The class is being taught by one of Heidelberg’s most visible alums, ESPN anchor John Buccigross. A dedicated alum, when asked to teach a class, he just couldn’t say no. “I’ve always been interested in teaching,” said John.
John lives and works in Connecticut, so he couldn’t exactly commute to class. The solution was a classroom with up-to-date technology. John lectures the class using Skype with a sophisticated screen and microphones that allows for vibrant group discussions. Homework and quizzes are sent through email.
“My favorite part of the class has been impressing upon the students what I think are the important things in life and the media,” said John. “Most of my success is luck and good fortune but I think there are decisions and tactics one can use to increase the odds.”
The students have been learning about these decisions and tactics through studying the basics of media management across media including radio, broadcasting, internet, content, and management. John also expanded it to include an inside look at ESPN. The advice John gives to the students comes from his life experiences, and the students appreciate it. “John takes the text and puts a story behind it,” said junior Jimmy Flint. “His ESPN experience gives him real credibility.”
In addition to John, the class was meets weekly with industry professionals in different areas of media. These professionals have shown students paths they might not have considered.
“The guest speakers have been helpful,” said sophomore Haylie Robinson. “We get to see every aspect of media. I had no idea that I’d be interested in sales, but listening to a professional talk about it has made me consider it.”
“We’re learning how to be better managers,” added senior Mac Wallace. “The speakers tell us examples of how they manage their companies.”
Not all the students in the class are media majors, but they all are gaining valuable career advice and skills. “The class stresses that we need to know different things,” said Mac. “John always reinforces the importance of writing and communication skills.”
“I’m always thinking about my career in this class,” added Jimmy.
That’s the best feedback a teacher can hope for: students enjoying their time in class while actively preparing for their future. “I get a motivational speech every Tuesday and Thursday,” said Mac. It seems long distance learning can have quite an impact.