At the finish line for the semester: Best tips for professors to create an engaging social media campaign style class
It is that time of the semester where finals are beginning here at the University of Louisville. While I do not give a final exam for my social media class, I do have final client presentations for their social media campaign proposals.
I have had this discussion with several of my PR professor colleagues any they have asked me why I have the students to actual campaigns instead of exams? My response is – what am I going to do? Give them an exam with questions like – what is a tweet? How about the components of Instagram? Of course not.
I’ve always believed that it is essential to give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom and give them hands on experiences. This is what makes campaign style classes really different compared to other types of classes. Lots of papers, and one project that basically began the first week of the semester.
I am extremely proud of the students and what they have done this semester in #Freberg14. In many ways, this class here at UofL shows me how you truly can see a difference among the students from the start of the semester to the end. The first day of class started with me telling the class this simple point: “This will be the hardest class you will have this semester – and possibly in college.”
So, how do you prepare the students to be part of a project working with a client on a social media campaign proposal? Here are some of my tips I’ve learned while teaching this class at UofL:
- Set deadlines and expectations early on: Make sure your students know the impact of this project and significance of this not only for the class, but for after they graduate and enter the workplace. Connecting the dots here is crucial.
- Highlight the benefits: Show how this proposal could be used in their portfolio and share examples of students who have used this as a document to showcase their work for internships and job interviews. Also, discussing how to upload this document to their online portfolio, website, and even sites like LinkedIn are also important to note here as well.
- Put on your coach hat with your students: I’ve been very fortunate to have a great coach in my Dad in track – and I remember how he would encourage me, push me, and give me to tools and resources I needed to be all I could be in track. I felt that was my role in my social media class. Yes, I did tell my students that they may not like what I am telling them when comes to their drafts, but I am here to help them become better. I push them to work harder and smarter with their documents to see what they can do to make them even stronger. At the end – it’s the work of the students and they are the ones that get the rewards of their hard work, and for me – that’s why I love teaching.
- Be an “honorary” team member: This is what I tell all of my groups – I am part of their group and am always available to brainstorm ideas and offer my point of view on things. This allows the creativity to spark within each group and they feel comfortable with their ideas and feel that they are not completely alone in the process.
Social media can be fun, but it is extremely hard especially when you are coming up with creative strategies as well as trying to keep up with the trends all emerging right now.
Tomorrow are our client presentations – where it will not only be the clients and the students in attendance, but also a couple of professionals working in Louisville.
Best of luck to all of the students tomorrow – I know you will do great in your presentations! Will let you all know how they go tomorrow.
Have a great day!