The End of the Journey: Review of the Ryerson Publishing Certificate Program


The publishing certificate will be done as of 9:30pm tonight. I’m 99.99% sure I’ve passed everything with good marks. Some obviously better than others. So I thought this might be a good time to review Ryerson University’s, Chang School of Continuing Educations Publishing Program.

Classes

The selection of courses is varying but obviously geared directly to the programs application in the publishing industry. It does allow for flexibility into what area you’d like to go with a few mandatory courses that, although I see their application, drove me absolutely bonkers. Here’s a list of what I’ve taken:

  • Publishing Overview: Trade – I likes this course and the Instructor, Sam Hiyate, was wonderful. He had a very loose way of teaching but demanded a lot in both presentation, testing and demonstration of knowledge. I liked it! The talks of the Frankfurt Festival made agenting and publishing sound so glamorous which was what I wanted to hear at the beginning of the program.
  • Publishing Overview: Education – This was not a glamorous course but good in that it showed the differences between the two types of publishing and highlighted that this industry is not about making money. If you want to be a billionaire, hound Trump and do not go into publishing.
  • Copy Editing – I’ll be honest, I did not like this course. Mostly because it was grammar review and like most digital babies I’m attached to my spell check as though it were my mother. This course demands you turn it off (not literally) and use your brain again. It was useful; now I’ll never purposefully misuse the word ‘however’ or go nuts with my commas. But it was difficult and if anything this course will tell you if you want to be an editor or not.
  • Publishing in the Electronic Age (Online) – This course was my introduction to online courses and it did it well. Weekly quizzes, online chat discussions as part of the grade and online tests. My only ‘beef’ with this course was the hands off nature of the material. It was review. What is XML, what is HTML, what is flash, what program is vector based, Photoshop or Illustrator? These are, of course, the basis of this education. You need to know the tools before you can use them, but the majority of the course was memorization and regurgitation. Very little application which for me is the best method of learning.
  • Sale and Marketing (Online) – An online course for this subject was a BAD IDEA. I did well, but it was built for a group project mentality and people seem to feel less accountable when they don’t know what their group members look like when they’re pissed. We had a five member group, and the other three girls were wonderful; their work was top-notch, always on time, and ready to give details and feedback if they had a moment. I, while working full-time, was rarely around to give feedback but my work was always on time and I had no problem with providing well planned and execute work. The man in our group was vacant. His work looked like a five-year old in MS paint, his ideas lacked any of the knowledge passed down from the program information and he was never around. We missed a deadline because he disappeared, stopped responding to emails and left the four of us hanging. Again, I did well in the course, but it was a tough battle and we were often burned a little on marks because of his lack of enthusiasm.
  • Publicity – By far, the best course I have taken in the program. Like the Publicity course I took in my last year of university this course reminded me of the reason I was in this program. The love of books and getting people to read them. Publicity is… well you know how I fell. The course itself was great. A lot of discussion and pitching and the instructor, Debbie Gaudet Director of Publicity with Penguin Group Canada, was fantastic and energetic. She has a love for the trade that’s required in such a position and was exactly what this course needed of a publicity instructor. Of course, I did extremely well though I admit I skipped far too much. It was wonderful, and even if you don’t take the full program you should look into this course. Well worth the money.
  • Literary Rights Management – Sam Hiyate is the reason I took this course. It was the last term, I couldn’t get into my other first choices and normally I’d have shied away from rights management but with Sam it was alright. A lot on contracts but he tried to keep it interesting and Sam is a good instructor. When he doesn’t know the material inside and out he will bring someone in who does, or direct the students to where we could get the best information. It was the first time this class has been tried and I think it went alright. A lot of memorization, but contracts are like that.
  • Introduction to Book Design – At first I was not enjoying this course. I’ll admit, I judged a book by its cover: design was not one of my strengths. Or so I thought. Since getting myself acquainted with InDesign I’ve done much better and really liked the work. Designing covers and interiors is more interesting when you like the material, all work is, but I found I have a bit of a knack for it too! One idea might even have me making my way to a few publishers and authors to pitch to them, but that’s for another day. InDesign was the problem with this course. The online VAPPS application that allows you to run it on your own computer without needing a licence was a nightmare. I could NOT get it to work for the life of me and ended up having to download the trial version of InDesign from adobe 2x, running on two different computers. Was it worth it? Yes. I can already see the results of the program reflected in my writing and my designing of page layouts. The résumé and cover letter looks much improved and more professional. I believe it even landed me my last two interviews as the content did not change.

Instructors

For this program they pull industry professionals which are the only ones, I believe, who can accurately teach. The instructors who are still working full-time in their field were the best, albeit a little over worked and unable to help from time to time. The ones who only worked part-time, Copy editing, electronic age, didn’t seem to have enough grasp of the need for real work application. They’d fallen back to a ‘teacher’ idea of studying not doing. I believe there’s a place for that in undergrads and in post-graduate certificates you need to focus on the doing and less studying.

Facilities

Most facilities were clean, well-kept and up to date. Some reminded me of high school. I recommend against summer courses as they are ungodly hot in classrooms without air conditioning. And there are classrooms, STILL, without air-conditioning on the Ryerson Campus.
Update: On the Ryerson Publishing Program’s Facebook page it’s been assured this is no longer the case. It was last year that I had courses without air-conditioning and very possible this has changed. Please don’t let something like AC ruin any opportunity to enroll in this program.

Content

It’s based mostly off the professors, and listed above but the content was overall more tactile and hands-on. If we weren’t creating it ourselves we were learning how to which was exactly what I wanted to know when going in.

Services

The usual with a school: library, book store, internet, etc. I did/do find the book store deals for adobe programs fantastic. I’m in the process of grabbing up a copy of Adobe suite 5 Standard but of course they’re out of stock. But it’s a nice deal. Worth it to take a course or two just to get the deals sometimes!
Also, the Ryerson Publishing Certificate has job postings and internship postings available to its students and alumni. It has been very useful, though not fruitful for myself yet.


Verdict?

Well, I’m going back for a seminar on Graphica Sales and Marketing in May so I guess that explains that! It was a good program. I like the perks that came with it and loved meeting real industry professionals. Will I stay in publishing? If I can get it! I think having this certificate completed will certainly look better and help me find a job I’m looking for.

If you want to work in publishing, or already do and would like to learn more and diversify your skills I recommend taking a look at what this program can offer. It’s a good idea. Though, a bit expensive for my tastes!

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About UpsetAppleCart

A young, inexperienced yet dedicated Freelance Publicist. Branching out into the world with little knowledge of what will happen, how, where, why and when! But ready nonetheless.

Posted on April 13, 2011, in On Life, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Thanks for that review, I am hoping to do the program at the end of my undergrad so it was really helpful finding out about your first-hand experience.

    Do you know if the online courses are equivalent to the same in-class courses? Or does this just depend on the individual course?

    Are there any events put on by the administrators that allow for better networking connections?

    On a personal note: What was the most rewarding part of your experience?

    P.S. It’s articles like these that make us nervous-don’t-know-what-the-heck-I’m-doing undergrads feel a little bit less neurotic. 🙂

    • I’m glad you found the review helpful.

      I know the online courses, if approved by the program , count towards your certificate program if that’s what you mean by ‘equivalent’. Whether or not the course is run well like the in class one is up for debate and is subject to whomever teaches it. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the program so I can’t speak to who’s still keeping up with good class material.

      I know that events wise they occasionally have pub nights that are for meet and greets. They’re fairly informal and are about meeting nto just people in the pgoram but spending more personal time with instructors who attend. It can be a great networking opportunity. If I hadn’t been working full time I would have gone to a few while I had the chance.

      On a personal note: I’d say getting the one on one time with instructors before and after class and the different people you’ll meet. I wouldn’t have my job if it weren’t for the friends and connections I made in classes and maintained outside. It’s really about what you put into it and meeting new people who share the same concerns and desires for the future can be unbelievably rewarding.

      Good luck on feeling a little less neurotic. When the projects start coming your way you might start to feel the neuroses creeping up on you again!

  2. Your review of Ryerson’s Publishing program is really great! Thanks for all the detailed info. We will be putting up a link to your site on our new blog workinginpublishing.com.

    Thanks!

  3. Does anyone know what the outlook is like for jobs? I’m not looking into this career for money, but I want to know if it’s going to be worth the student loan I will need to pay for it.

    • I don’t really know if anyone can answer this question accurately. It depends on what you’re looking for. I have the job I have now because I took the program, finished it and applied to the jobs posted only to alumni and students. However most people start the program and never finish, sometimes because they find a job and sometimes because they can’t/loose interest. If you’re technologically inclined that’s your best bet and some of the courses are helpful. But the big companies are not hiring or rarely are and go with those who have experience. If you can find a niche that’s best. Workshops are good, but networking is the key. If you need help networking the program can get you started.

  4. Publishing in Canada is steadily going downhill. There are less and less jobs. The program might be good, but there’s no openings.

    • I think the industry is changing. For the better, probably not but while major publisher’s are suffering a decline other companies, like Kobo, seem to be doing very well and expanding exponentially. Whether printed form or ebook I think the written word, as art, needs to be put forward and there will always be a job for someone to do that.
      Right now, it’s still a good program. Maybe just taking the individual courses would suit you better? I’m sad to say the Graphic Seminar was cancelled but specialized courses like that can certainly help out those already in the industry and those who might just be interested.

  5. My post is up now – well, it’s only half up: I’ve only covered the first half of the courses I took.

    Here it is.

    It’s interesting to see that we took away such different things from each course!

  6. Hi there,

    Did you just finish your design class last night? If so, we’re in the same boat! I think I remember which book you designed – the Seth/Chester Brown collaboration about the history of comics, right?

    Maybe my memory’s foggy and I’m confusing you for another classmate.

    In any event, it’s nice to see another person’s perspective on the program. I think I’ll post a companion piece to yours on my own blog tonight.

    • Hi Christina,
      Thanks for popping by the blog, I appreciate the views and yes I was in your design class and you definitely have the right gal! Me and my comic book obsession leaks its way into all aspects of my life.

      I remember your book as well. I liked the idea for the cook book and the cover was stunning.

      A companion post would be great; I’d love to read it when it’s done. I think this was one thing I was missing before starting at Ryerson: little perspective. I had a few word of mouth mentions from co-workers but never any real detail on their experience. It’d be nice to know how you thought of the program now that you’re done.

      And congratulations! It feels great doesn’t it?

  7. Thanks for the candid review of our program! We are glad that you enjoyed it, and that you’re coming back to The Chang School to participate in one of our Advanced Publishing Workshops this spring. We have posted a link to your review on the Publishing Program’s Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/RyersonPublishing ) so that your peers may benefit from your experience.

    • Always a pleasure! The ryerson program was great and as you know I think it’s important for everyone to try.

      Thank you so much for the feature on facebook too! It’s nice to know people can take a look at the different views of the program.

      Good luck with the next batch, and I look forward the the Graphica Seminar. I promise another review afterwards.

      Cheers.

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