It is the end of the semester and we are finishing up classes here at the University of Louisville. It has been a great semester and I have been truly blessed to have some amazing students in my classes this semester.
After reflecting on what I have experienced again teaching my social media class for the second time, I found that there were some things that worked again for my students. Most of my students appreciated the Hootsuite University certification assignment as part of the course. Writing blogs was also received well – and several of my students have gotten internships and other opportunities from their blog for this semester.
There have been some key lessons I have learned teaching my social media class for the second time at the University of Louisville I thought my fellow colleagues in PR and other disciplines who have a social media class may want to take into consideration:
- Build a community: This is where I find that having a personalized hashtag is critical for out of class engagement. Students are able to follow the conversations, resources, and updates you share, but it also sets an overall tone for the class. My social media class was not known as COMM 460, but it was known as #Freberg13.
- Your class is part of your brand: We have talked about branded videos and how this is a trend we are seeing in social media – but when you come to think about it, your social media class is part of your brand. It is what people know you – so why not personalize the experience and market it yourself on social media? I’ve tried to be pretty transparent on what I am doing on social media for my #Freberg13 class – several professors have followed the class as well as professionals. It is definitely evolved to part of my own reputation as a professor, which is pretty cool!.
- Engage with professionals on social media with hashtag: Whether this is with the guest speakers or fellow professionals in the industry, you want to make sure you recognize these individuals for their expertise, work, and insights in the area. It has been great to see the guest speakers I have brought forth this semester interact and exchange ideas with my students – this is what social media is all about!
- Set the tone and lead by example: Social media is “social” and what better way to do this is to set the tone for your class and make sure to not only share relevant content, resources, and updates with your class, but also make sure you are listening and responding to questions and comments as well. It’s all about having a conversation.
- Create and share regular updates for colleagues to follow class: I have found Storify to be a good tool to collect various updates from social media about the class – whether they are Twitter updates or Instagram pictures, it does tell a story each week from the class. I just created one for finals week, so this is something you may want to check out.
- Don’t treat social media like boxing – think fencing: Many times we see brands, companies, and others push and push information – almost approaching it like fencing. It is about give and take – thinking about the strategy as well as viewing the exchange like dialogue. It’s easy to bombard students with lots and lots of information and updates, but have allow them to contribute to the dialogue. This could be done also by making sure to have some sort of a requirement to the class about engagement on social media for class participation. If you want to see what I did for my class, here’s the link to my Twitter guidelines.
Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience teaching some great students this semester – wish everyone a wonderful finals week and great end of the fall semester. Have a great day!
As we speak, I am on my way to attend and present at the upcoming National Communication Association Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. This will be my third time heading to DC this year for a conference. Yes, I did say three. However, I am looking forward to connecting with fellow colleagues and students in PR and other related fields.
I first attended NCA when I was a PhD student at the University of Tennessee, and the last conference I went to was in 2011 during my first semester at the University of Louisville. Both presentations focused on social media and crisis communications, which was pretty cool. My first paper was focused on H1N1 and the social media bookmarking site Delicious, and the other was from my dissertation (primarily the data I found with my focus groups). I was not able to attend and present last year due to being all of the way on the other side of the world for the World PR Forum in Melbourne (which was a fabulous conference and great experience!).
This time, I will be part of a panel to discuss the real time crisis challenges and opportunities we are seeing right now in PR. From social media to wearable technologies, I am going to be talking about some of the growing issues and concerns. I will be posting my PowerPoint deck online as soon as the presentation is done tomorrow.
Safe travels to all of my friends heading to DC and have a great day, everyone!
I just counted the various Skype and Google+ guest lectures over the last couple of years, and I realized I have done over 20. Yep – that’s correct. I was pretty surprised when I saw this number, but I realized I started doing these when I was a PhD student at Tennessee and working on my research in social media and crisis communications. Wow!
I have guest lectured on a variety of different topics for undergraduate classes and even graduate classes in PR. Most of the topics I cover focus on social media – but I have talked about online reputation management, Google Glasses, and PR and crisis communications.
For professors, why is it key to conduct guest lectures, especially on social media platforms like Google+ or Skype?
- Opportunity to reach young professionals at other universities: What better way to engage students is to talk about your areas of expertise and share insights? I have really enjoyed chatting with students from other universities, bounce off ideas, and even network with them via social media (mostly LinkedIn and Twitter, but also Facebook as well). It’s been fun to see what they are up to now after the course has finished and even after graduation.
- Network with fellow professors: Most of the classes I have talked to have been friends I have meet during my PhD studies or at conferences. Most of the time, we see each other at conferences talking about research – but this is an opportunity to have other professors from other universities see how we teach. We can get their feedback on how we did with our presentation and see what we can do to improve or make even better. I’ve gotten some great feedback over the years that has really helped me improve how I present the material not only to other classes, but also to my own classes.
- Share your expertise and insights on a particular topic: This is an opportunity to talk about what you know best – and showcase these insights with others who may get inspired by hearing your talk. It’s been fun to see how many students want to get more into social media and crisis after talking to them about it. It’s very inspiring to see!
If you are going to do a virtual guest lecture, you will want to make sure to do the following:
- Check the technology ahead of time and make sure it works: This is key – if you are using Skype or Google+, make sure to test this out first before the class. If you are using Collaborate or Adobe Connect, this is also important as well.
- Schedule on days when you are either not teaching yourself, or during certain times in the semester: This is key – I usually have my guest lectures on my research/consulting days, but sometimes this doesn’t happen. Make sure to note the time and day, as well as the difference in time zone as well.
- Share slides and post them online: I use Slideshare, and it has been great to upload my guest lecture presentations online to share with others so they can see what I talked about in the guest lecture. I have done this for several classes, including topics where I covered Google Glass, Managing online reputation, and Blogging to name a few. Make the slides visual, have hyperlinks, make sure you have your university branding associated with it, and the contact information you are comfortable having listed in the presentation to share with others. Check out the one I did for the guest lecture from today.
- Announce your guest lecture talk on social media before the class: Most of the classes use social media for out of class discussion, so you will want to make sure to mention 1) the professor 2) the class hashtag and 3) the university they are at. Gives them some recognition for using technology into the classroom and for their classes.
- Thank the professor and students after the class as well: If they have a Twitter presence, make sure to mention the professor, hashtag, and university to thank them for this opportunity. The same goes if they are on Facebook as well.
In summary, providing guest lectures and taking the time to share your insights with others is key. I have thoroughly enjoyed every guest lecture I have done via Skype or Google+. It’s very rewarding and exciting – teaching is wonderful both in person and virtually!
Hope you all are having a great day!
As professors, it is key to make sure to establish your personal brand online to not only present what you are researching or presenting at various conferences, but also in teaching. The perfect equation for achieving the strongest personal brand for professors is to have a strong reputation in research as well as teaching. In fact, it should be equal. However, many professors forget the other key component that is needed to make the complete package, and that is the sustainable and collaborative relationship with the practitioners.
I know several professors who fall into one category or another – but we can’t afford this in 2013 or for the future. We have to be on top of our game in the classroom and make sure we are preparing our students for the workplace, but we also have to make sure we share our experiences in research and how this can be strategically applied into the practice. Teaching these lessons as well as learning from students at the same time is the perfect combination to have. Some professors have done a great job in establishing their reputations online with personalized websites and blogs, podcasts, and Twitter chat sessions. However, there are those that say that they “don’t have enough time” or it’s “not relevant to them.” Well, I say that this is something we all have to be aware of, especially when it comes to teaching.
This is a particular issue I have tried to address in my social media class specifically, and here are some ways professors can establish their own personal brand in the classroom for students, colleagues, and practitioners:
- Personalized Hashtag: I have seen fellow professors use Twitter for their online conversations for their classes, but what happens if you have the same number and abbreviation as another class at another school? Best way to get around this is to have your own personalized hashtag. This is what I have done for my class, and it will be changing every year since it’s just #Freberg13. Let your fellow colleagues know your hashtag so they can promote it for recruits (who are interested in the class possibly), advisors, fellow professors, and even practitioners so they can see what you are covering in your class. You can track your hashtag with a variety of different resources to see the scope of the reach via Hashtags.com or Hashtracking.
- Opportunity to share your story: By establishing a name for yourself online by sharing insights and relevant information, you are in a sense telling your story. In addition, if you are willing to share some of your personal interests and hobbies, the better. Whether it is traveling, cooking, working out, or other related hobbies and activities – this shows a level of transparency to others that you are not only a professor, but also a human being as well.
- Constantly prepping for class: This is pretty much what I think any professor teaching a social media class needs to consider – it’s a constant prep before, during, and after the class! It’s good to have a foundation of key strategies, tools, and methods/principles for the class, but you need to make sure you present relevant information to your students and communities in real-time. This can be done by 1) spending a set amount of time looking for trends, cases, and topics before and after the class – similar to the time you spent looking at the news to see what is going on in the world and 2) using tools that will help aggregate the information to you directly based on preset topics. These two strategies have helped me out a lot. In order to establish your personal brand as being innovative and creative, you have to spend the time and energy to look at what is going on that’s new and relevant for your class – and be willing to share this with others.
- Being generous with resources: One way to separate yourself from others is to be generous with materials from class, research, and practice. Whether this is establishing a resource page or exchanges of presentations, assignments, and syllabi, We are all in the same team here when it comes to education, and what better way to establish yourself as a resource by sharing your insights and knowledge with others?
- Thinking ahead to be an innovator: This is where creativity comes into play – we talk all the time in PR about how to do an environmental scan across the various landscapes our clients are involved in, but do we actually do this ourselves as professors? I have found that those who have been successful in separating themselves from the crowd have done this. This is one of the reasons why I looked to Hootsuite University as an option last spring and have incorporated it into my class for this fall. The other thing that I wanted to do was to look at ways to incorporate Google Glass into the classroom as a member of their Explorer program. Dr. William Ward (Syracuse) has done a great job with this so far with Google Glass, so it’s going to be interesting to see what other ideas we can generate with this new tool.
- Documenting guest lectures and shared experiences: One of the things I have seen from fellow colleagues as a good best practice for establishing their personal brand is to invite practitioners into the classroom to cover a particular topic. These can be in person or done via Google+, Skype, or another video conference call set up. Important thing to note is to make sure you also publicize their efforts on social media as well. Not only their Twitter handles, but you may want to consider also tagging their association as well. In addition, help document these guest lectures through pictures and video. This is one of the things that I am going to do more this semester, so stay tuned!
- Promote it with owned media: As professors, you are the best PR person you have to promote what you are doing in the classroom. This means establishing your own website and blog as a personal hub where you are able to house all of this great content and information about what you are doing in research, teaching, and consulting. You want to make sure to connect this of course to shared media (ex. social media) with others. For example, one of the things I did this past semester was create a video with all of the guest lectures and final presentations from class. Here’s the video”
In summary, we give advice for students to establish their own personal brands and reputation in the profession, but we also have to consider this as well as professors. Prospective students, parents, businesses, and practitioners are all looking online to see what universities are doing in the classroom, so they will be looking to see what is available online about specific courses and professors.
I wish all of my friends and colleagues the very best as they start their fall semester courses! Have a wonderful day.
Many students are heading back to class and professors are finalizing their syllabi for the upcoming fall semester. One of the things I have been doing for my class (particularly my social media class) is to think about ways to incorporate Google Glass into the classroom. This was the main reason why I wanted to be part of the Google Glass Explorer program in the first place.
There are many educators and professors who are part of the program and have shared some really cool ideas about the reactions they have gotten by wearing Glass as well as propose some really cool ideas on how to use it for their respective classes. Here are some ways I will be using Google Glass in the classroom:
- Recording Guest Lectures: I am very excited about the various professionals and experts in social media who will be coming to my class this fall semester. What I would love to do is to record their guest lectures and post them on my website so others can view them as well. So, I will be launching a new feature on my website called ” Guest Lectures through Glass” this fall.
- Predicting Viral Content to share with Glass: Mashable created this app for Glass called Mashable Verocity which looks at content that lets you know when a story is becoming viral, so more like a predictive tool so to speak. This is going to be relevant especially when we will be talking about viral content and memes in the class.
- Sharing pictures from class: Like I did last semester, I will be taking pictures from class with Glass. While you are able to take pictures from Glass already, Glassagram allows you to add filters similar to Instagram. How cool! This will be a great way to create some unique and memorable photos from class to share online.
- Connecting presentations from Google Drive to Glass: Uploading content on Google Drive and using YourShow, you are able to view your presentations via Glass. So, you may not need to use PowerPoint or Keynote anymore, which you can look at your notes on Glass but also engage and interact with students a bit more. I think I’m going to try this out – will keep you posted on this.
- Sharing real-time digital marketing news: What is really cool is the fact you are able to get access to not only the news through Glass, but also Marketing Land news as well with their new Google Glass App. What better way to practice real-time marketing then to be connected to this app to share real-time information on relevant topics for students. You can subscribe to their various channels based on your particular interests, which is another really cool feature to consider here as well.
- Social Polling your networks: I know there are some students who are very comfortable asking questions in front of peers, but there are others that are not. However, with GlassWedgies, you are able to ask a question and have your social media community (ex. your students in your class) answer the poll question in real-time. So, what better way to get some immediate feedback and interaction with students from class? I am going to be using Twitter this semester, so I think this will be a cool idea to implement and use in the classroom.
In summary, it is going to be exciting to see how Glass will be implemented in the classroom and what are some best practices and tips that will come out of it. Apps for Glass are evolving and changing every day, so in order to keep up with what is available now, you may want to check out this site. I will continue to update and write about my experience with Glass in the classroom as part of the Google Glass Explorer Program.
Have a great day!