Student produces CD-ROM
to promote School of Comm


Hundreds of copies of an interactive CD-ROM produced by senior corporate communications major Caitlin Jacobs were mailed to prospective Elon communications students in April.

The project began last fall, as a final assignment in Dr. David Copeland's section of JCM 495 Great Ideas, the communications capstone course. Copeland explained the assignment "required students to prove that they had mastered the tools of communication as taught by the school."

When Jacobs was met with the challenge of originating an idea for her project, the CD-ROM was born. "Rather than writing a paper, I wanted to spend my efforts on something that would be more directly useful," said Jacobs.

"Caitlin decided to create a product that would have long-lasting, positive effects for the School of Communications," Copeland said.

Jacobs asked Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications, if such a project could be of use for the school. Parsons suggested that Jacobs narrow her focus from a general promotional project to one targeted toward high school seniors of minority status who are considering majoring in journalism or communications at Elon.

"We want to build a more diverse student population - one that better reflects our society and its diversity of audiences," Parsons said. "Elon is an extraordinary place for students to launch creative and meaningful careers."

Jacobs seized the opportunity to have her project produced and distributed by the school. To complete such a large-scale project, she enlisted the help of senior video producer J. McMerty and others at Elon Television, sophomore Devin Grasty who edited an introduction for the piece, and Dr. Harlen Makemson who provided guidance and technical support. Students, faculty and staff provided audio and visual files and videotaped interviews.

After nearly four months of work and coordination with the Office of Admissions, copies of the CD-ROM were distributed to an even larger audience than originally planned. Rather than being mailed only to communications prospects of minority status, the project went to all accepted communications students plus minority students already accepted at Elon yet undecided as to their course of study. In addition, the CD-ROM is being used as a backdrop for presentations given in the school and was distributed to School of Communications Advisory Board members during their visit in late April.

"The piece was a much bigger hit around the university than I had thought it would be," Jacobs said. "I'm thrilled that my project is being used in so many more ways than I had anticipated. It just goes to show that you can find the means to do anything around here if you just show the initiative."



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Last Modified:  4/30/05
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