In Review Part 2: Mediabistro's Ad Copywriting Certificate

We wrapped up the first week by posting our assignments and participating in our first online discussion on Wednesday evening. Also, the course materials for Lesson 2 went live. Now we’re getting somewhere.

The Recommended Books

I didn’t bring it up in the Week 1 Review, but there are a couple of books that were recommended reading for the Creative Ad Writing course. They are:

I’ve thumbed through the books and read several chapters of the Bly book already. My opinion is that they’re a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the content is immensely helpful, and some of the content is just fluff for me. I find myself skipping and skimming quite a bit. They’re paperback though, so used copies are inexpensive. (Bonus!)  I’ll be keeping both for reference later, because 1.) I have a hard time parting with books, and 2.) the info on strategies could prove to be very useful if I get stuck on a client’s project at some point in the future.

Posting the Homework Assignment

For me, Wednesday night was the first real test of the online system Mediabistro uses to administer class. A few students had trouble uploading their assignments in the dedicated forum thread.

First problem? The system doesn’t support multiple attachments in a single forum post. If you want to post two separate files–one for the creative brief and one for the ad samples–that means you need two separate forum posts. Because of this, I ended up opting out of automatic email updates for new posts. My inbox was being bombarded! Not anyone’s fault, just the nature of the beast.

The thing that forced some students to post multiple comments in the thread: file size limits. A few students had files that were too big to upload because of all the images, and that meant breaking their original files down into smaller chunks. And, since you can’t post multiple files to a single thread….

So, honestly? The classroom software could be friendlier, but in the end we all got by.

The Online Discussion

For the online discussion (held from 8-9 p.m. on Wednesdays for this particular course) Mediabistro uses Adobe Connect meeting software.  I tested it according to the instructions in the course materials a couple of days early to make sure it was working. I had to install a plug-in to make it work, and at first it didn’t want to play nice with Chrome. But after about 15 minutes, I was all set.

I was unsure what the format for our hour-long discussion would be like. Would we all be video chatting like a hangout? Would we all be typing while looking at slides? Turns out the instructor talks, and you can see her webcam feed. The students just type. So, I’m happy to report that you can participate in the discussion while wearing pajamas if you like.

It’s a little awkward switching between talk and text, but you (or at least I) got used to it. As far as the technology goes, it worked seamlessly. The discussion was managed pretty darn well, and we all (well all of us who participated) had an opportunity to talk about our portfolio choices and get some feedback and ideas from the instructor and our fellow classmates.

Other Stuff I Noticed

Thursday morning I signed on to get the materials for Lesson 2. I noticed there was a video lecture in three parts, just like in week one. Then, underneath those links, I saw a link for a PDF of the slides used in the lecture. Woohoo! So I went back to Lesson 1 and saw a link there too. Then I started wondering–were the slides always there and I was complaining like an idiot last week or did they respond to feedback? Either way, I’m a happy camper.

Emily paid the full price for enrollment in’s Ad Copywriting Certificate program and is not being compensated in any way for her reviews.

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