Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Advertising Classes

I'm sure I've seen these for years, but this semester, things seem to be ramping up.  Basically, someone makes a poster of some sort to advertise a course they're teaching in a coming term.

We do these pretty officially for courses taught in terms that aren't fall or spring semester, but the other day, one of my colleagues handed me a BIG yellow piece of paper with a description of his course.  I happily put it up on my door.  But it got me thinking.

Then another colleague stopped to chat in passing and said he was going to make a poster for a class he's teaching.

I got to thinking, and then I powered up the powerpoint and made a small poster (just a black and white) for my Chaucer class.  So there!

It feels strangely like competition where there really shouldn't be competition.  A poster is a poor reason to choose a course.  But maybe someone sees a course listed and doesn't know what it will be about, and a poster tells them, and they realize they might find the course interesting?

That seems like a poor excuse for having jumped on this particular little bandwagon.

On the other hand, I learned powerpoint basics years ago, so at least it didn't take me long to put together a small poster.

Do you put up posters?  Are they part of your institutional culture?  Do you think they even work?


  1. I don't really think they work, but I usually put a few up (at least if I have an upper-level class other than Shakespeare, which always makes). Hey, they're pretty and I have fun making them, so why not?

  2. Anonymous4:52 PM

    We do it for new classes and to advertise specific elective classes to other departments. Ditto other departments for our students. We also send emails. I'm at a really big university and there's so many classes students might not come across a class that would be a good fit if they're not pointed in that direction simply because they don't think to look.

  3. We've been doing it a lot lately. It makes sense to me for Special Topics classes and new classes. But we're doing it for every upper level class these days, which I don't know -- do we really need to advertise English Grammar, which every major is required to take?

    I suppose we might coax some Engineer into the class who might otherwise not consider it. Who knows.

  4. We're supposed to do posters, and many of us do. They're just a regular sheet of paper with pictures and information, but maybe they help to inform the students a bit.

  5. After seeing your post about posters, I decided to announce on our FB page two courses that might be of interest to my 190 humanities students. It was basically like, "If you're enjoying this literature, perhaps you'd like more in x and y classes in the spring." I don't know that it will help, but I was too lazy to make a poster, and a FB ad would at least be seen by a large number of current students. We'll see if it makes a difference.

  6. My department does it, mostly for themed 200-level classes that can be taken for distribution requirements, and special topics classes in the major. I think I remember seeing the special topics posters around when I first came (15 years ago), but the 200-level posters are, I think, newer, in part because we're doing many more sections of the themed class that is taught in larger sections (but isn't writing-intensive), and fewer sections of the more generic "reading and writing about lit" one (which fulfills the same distribution requirement, but/and is also writing-intensive).