Regular readers will probably have noticed that over the past four or five months, and over the past six weeks in particular, I have virtually disappeared from this blog.
There’s only one reason for this really: the final stages of my Chartered Institute of Public Relations diploma. I started back in June 2007, and having deferred the final project deadline once, I finally handed in my project on Thursday.
The final project is a 6000-word piece of personal research into a topic chosen by the student. My project looked at the role of social media in local government communications, but more on that in a future post.
A couple of days on from handing it in, I’m starting to feel a sense of relief and my perspectives are once again broadening beyond the world of PR theory and academic papers.
One of my aims when setting out on the diploma was to give my PR work a decent theoretical grounding, in the same way as I have with my marketing work. If anything the CIPR diploma is more weighted towards theory than its CIM marketing counterpart. I’ve learnt a lot about PR theories, their relative merits and, most importantly, how they relate to the practice of PR in the real world that we work in.
But it’s been hard work. From past experience I knew that taking on a distance learning qualification eats into the little spare time that I had. I have a lot of respect for those people that take on academic qualifications alongside a career and a family. The CIPR diploma was one year and I found that a challenge, so people that study for masters and doctorate level qualifications over extended periods of time deserve a great deal of credit for their perseverance and tenacity.
I was a member of the first cohort to take the CIPR Diploma online. The basis for the course online presence was the open source Moodle application, delivered by PR Academy. I enjoyed the online interaction with other students and found the tutors helpful and thought provoking. Unfortunately I only made it to one of the two face-to-face learning days, but that was definitely worth attending.
So now it’s all over, what I am I up to?
Well, aside from enjoying the rest of the summer, getting to know my family again and upping my weekly running mileage a bit, I’m looking forward to getting back into blogging and being part of an ever-exciting online conversation among marketing and PR people that I’ve watched (or should that be listened to) from the sidelines recently.
To those of you who have stuck with me (and there are a few, I promise), thanks for your patience and I hope I can reward you with more blogging that reminds you why you subscribed in the first place!