Monday, March 22, 2010

They're great, they suck: reviewing the 2010 IPP presentations

Actually, "great" and "suck" are closer than you think.

As any good event planner and crime scene investigator knows: you can't have a great party without an equally great post-mortem.
"The purpose of the assessment is not to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the function, but rather to make it more effective, coherent, and cost-effective," says Leonard Saffir in the book, Power Public Relations.
Thanks for talking us down from the party, Leonard, not to mention the post-mortem.

So, it was with this in mind that I recently sat down with my first- and second-year students and a smattering of instructors in crime to pick apart this year's IPP presentations, which were held from March 10 to 12 at the Park Theatre.

As the entire world and anyone who's ever lost a job to a CreComm grad knows, the IPP is a mythical, year-long course at Red River College in which CreComm students develop an original and meaningful project that they propose, complete, and market on their own in order to graduate.

Two weeks ago, this year's graduating students made their 10-minute presentations on the outcome of their work. Projects included promotional, creative, documentary- and research-based stuff in the form of video, audio, print, performance, and new media.

Here is some of the feedback; I have not named names in order to protect the guilty and punish the innocent. Of course, these are just individual opinions, and not everybody in the room agreed with every one of these comments. And neither do you!

  • The event feels like grad.
  • Great visuals during presentations.
  • Musical IPPs rocked.
  • Video interviews with students at the beginning of each presentation block were a nice touch.
  • The Park Theatre is a great venue.
  • Got to know fellow students better.
  • Fun.
  • Hosts were great.
  • Presenters who delivered their presentations with minimal use of notes.
  • Presenters who weren't shackled to the podium.
  • "75 per cent of the projects were awesome."
  • Question period.
  • Nearby parking.
  • Nearby restaurants.
  • Theatre accessible by bus.
  • Theatre has a backstage area.
  • Selection of food, beverages, pizza at the Park Theatre.
  • Nice people working at the Park Theatre.
  • The Tweetpit: Tweeting live from the event.
  • Parents in the audience.
  • Grads in the audience.
  • Communications industry in the audience.
  • Media coverage.
  • Relaxing break from usual breakneck pace.
  • Great to see camaraderie of students in second year.


  • Not enough time for Q and A.
  • Presenters who went past their allotted time.
  • Too many inside jokes.
  • Video interviews didn't include a diverse enough group of people from the program.
  • You can't bring in your own sandwich into the Park Theatre.
  • Small bathrooms at the Park Theatre.
  • Not enough questions from first-year students.
  • Too many questions from second-year students.
  • Too many shout-outs in lieu of actual questions.
  • Lame questions.
  • Unclear communication, re: length of presentations, due dates.
  • Volume of work that constitutes a project differs depending on one's advisor.
  • Moving chairs out at every question period - presenters should have just stood.
  • Presenters who had critical words for others and expressed them from the podium.
  • Weak projects stood out like a sore thumb.
  • Backstage area was cold.
  • Slow service at the Park Theatre.
  • Presenters' professionalism seemed to get worse as the day wore on.
  • Too many thank yous.
  • Too much advice for first-year students that never changed from presenter to presenter.

Ideas for next year

  • More free food.
  • Screens inside the foyer showing the presentations going on inside the theatre.
  • More rehearsal time.
  • Set up the podium in the TV studio, where people could go get the feel for it before presenting at the theatre.
  • When presenter's time is up, mic cuts out, everyone applauds. Done.
  • Get RRC and the IPPs onto the Park Theatre's marquee.
  • Have IPPs the last week of the semester.
  • Put a merch table in the foyer.
  • Introduce a dress code.
  • Get a spotlight that follows the presenters.
  • Incorporate design elements within the theatre to "dress it up"
  • Send questions to the host by text/email/direct message - have the host choose the three best questions.

Unanswered questions

  • If someone fails the project, should he or she still be allowed to present?
  • Should the animal rights presentation happen the same day as the cooking demonstration?
  • If an IPP falls in the forest, and there's no one around to hear it, does it still need to be approved by a panel of three instructors?
See you at next year's big event!

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