UnClassroom Celebrates Five Successful Classes

UnClassroom Celebrates Five Successful Classes

Communication Studies / Harrington School-Wide / Home Page Featured / Public Relations / Undergraduate / Writing & Rhetoric

  • The UnClassroom Helps the Future of the Harrington School
.  It is part of the Harrington School’s mission to ensure that 100% of students gain substantive real-world experience before graduation.
  • Faculty Involvement is Key. 
Students and faculty work collaboratively with a client to apply communication strategy in the real world.
  • The Future of Students. Students gain practical knowledge and skills and learn to collaborate on cross-functional teams.
  • An Opportunity for Partners
. Partners benefit from the wealth
 of creativity, energy, and talent that students and faculty have in bringing forward innovative and practical solutions.

Through the efforts of the five professors, five respective partners, and over sixty students, these classes brought the Harrington School’s vision to think, create, and communicate to life through real opportunities for students.

  • Students were excited about reaching their learning goals with real, usable work for their partners.
  • Partners were committed to being part of the leadership team of the class and always kept the best interest of students in the forefront.
  • Challenges were faced and overcome as problems had to be solved.
  • Risks had to be taken and outcomes weren’t always what was expected. This was real world problem solving and project based learning at its very best.

New ground was broken and UnClassroom can now move forward to grow and offer as many real-world learning opportunities as possible in classrooms where subject matter is integrated and problems are real.


WRT 391: Special Topics in Writing & Rhetoric
Rhode Island Library Report

In spring 2013, eight Writing & Rhetoric majors in a WRT391 class and their instructor formed a partnership with RI Library Report, a group of Rhode Island journalists dedicated to bringing the discussion of libraries and their importance to the culture and community of Rhode Island.  Through the leadership and partnership of instructor Frank Romanelli and RI Library Report journalist Brian C. Jones, students explored grant writing opportunities, created multi-modal interviews of RILR members and improved the organization’s website and its social network presence. Each week, groups met individually with Frank and Brian and often had professional guests and guest speakers either live or by Skype. The outcome was an exhibition of these projects to a public audience at the end of the semester in the URI Library Galanti Lounge. This was the pilot that contributed to what became UnClassroom, leading to the successful launch of four more classes in spring 2014.


COM 310: Topics in Communication
Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW)

Professor Daphne Wales and IEAW Director Christian Whistehuff successfully led students to develop a website and its content for IEAW.  Students developed an agency with four different departments. There were regular professional guests both live and by Skype. A professional WordPress developer helped students design a prototype for a future website, while others developed content through interviews, pictures, and narratives.  Students also attended IEAW events with Afghan students and alumnae. The culmination of their work was exhibited at a major event in the URI Memorial Ballroom where IEAW students, URI students, and distinguished guests presented. The IEAW partnership will continue in the fall with new and more advanced projects. Two students from the class have received summer internships at IEAW in Providence, RI as a result of their work.


WRT 385: Field Experience with Writing Rhode Island

Students  accomplished two major projects under the guidance of  instructor Thomas Gidley and  GTECH partner Jodi Alves.  At midterm, students hosted a panel of three grant writing experts that included URI President, Dr. David Dooley, where students learned the important elements of a successful grant proposal, asking panel members questions and sharing their own ideas in a public forum.  At the end of the term, students presented proposals in the boardroom of the GTECH offices in Providence, RI. for real solutions to problems faced at the University of Rhode Island. One student from this class received a paid summer internship at GTECH.


WRT 304: Writing for Community Service,
RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM)

After an introduction by Professor Caroline Gottschalk Druschke and partner, Nicole Pollock, legislative liaison for DEM, to topics DEM most needed help communicating, students split themselves into teams and were paired with a DEM mentor. Students created a learning contract about their work for the semester and met regularly with mentors in person or via Skype over the following weeks, learning more about the issues and situations for which they were writing (e.g. beach closures, fishing license changes, lean government initiatives).  Students designed communication campaigns that included short videos, brochures, fliers, tweets, and info-graphics.  Finally, students delivered  content to their DEM mentors for publication.


PRS 441: PR Campaigns
URI Theatre Department

Students teamed up with URI Theatre students guided by Professor Regina Bell and Theatre Chair, Professor Paula McGlasson. As part of their strategic plan, students worked on a publicity campaign for an ongoing production of Chicago, while doing primary and secondary research of the marketing and publicity strategies of other college and university theatre programs throughout Rhode Island. They presented their work and their findings to a public audience at the end of the term. This partnership also plans to continue in the fall and theatre internships are being considered for class participants.



For more information, contact:

Frank Romanelli

 (by Frank Romanelli)