The focus of having social media integrated as part of education, whether it is at the k-12 school system or even in higher ed, it appears that this is a current topic of discussion among practitioners and professors in the communications field. Chris Syme wrote a very insightful post on this very issue for Social Media Today, and my Twitter friend Bruce Kneuer (@BKneuer) passed along this great post from IBM’s Social Business Insights Blog with Michael Brito. I also got a chance to see this interesting video from Sandy Carter (also from IBM) about how universities could use social media in the classroom.  Thanks for sharing these great resources, Bruce!

One of the things I have shared with my students in all of my classes as well as with fellow PR and StratComm colleagues has been about being aware of the various opportunities that could arise if someone sees your content online.  Most of these conversations surrounded around the issue of blogging, which I have now been doing for the last seven years.

I have had some amazing experiences, opportunities, and networking connections that all came about due to my blog. Most of the students I have talked to about blogging and these experiences have been very engaged with the idea of having a place to share their insights, perspectives, and ideas with the online community and see if any opportunities professionally come out of it.

Well, I think I am going to have to add YouTube and Google+ Hangouts to this list as well.  You just never know who will be watching or reading your content.  I have been asked to be part of a visual storytelling webinar hosted by PR News Online in February with a couple of fellow PR professionals.  When I found out about this opportunity, I was very excited!

How did this all develop?  It all was because of a guest lecture I did for one of my friends and fellow PR colleagues late last year.  My friend Amber Hutchins (@amberhutchins) reached out to me a few months ago asking me if I would like to come to her class virtually to give a guest lecture. I said – sure!  This would be a wonderful opportunity. I have been actively giving Skype guest lectures now for the last couple of years ranging from schools from the West Coast to East Coast on a variety of topics including social media and PR, social media in crisis, online reputation management, blogging,  and visual storytelling.

The last topic is what I focused on for my presentation with Amber and her class.  I was able to do the guest lecture on Google+, so I was able to interact with both Amber and her students while showing her my presentation and answering questions and comments. At the same time, I was also answering questions via Twitter with their assigned class hashtag. It was a wonderful experience and I am excited to see more professors embracing social media into their classrooms as well as extending the class discussion virtually.

What are some best practices for conducting guest lectures via Google+ or Skype?  Here are a few that I have that I would like to share with you:

  • Make sure you look at the camera:  Whether it is a webcam or a camera in your computer monitor – you want to make sure you make eye contact with the students and fellow professor.
  • Practice before using the technology:  You want to make sure you feel comfortable using the platform for your guest lecture, so you want to set up a time before the presentation to test out the technology to make sure everything is ready to go for the guest lecture.
  • Provide contact info beyond email:  I always share my Twitter handle and blog information with the students in case they have additional questions after the lecture.  Sometimes they are live tweeting as you are doing the presentation, so you want to make sure you either have Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or even Bottlenose opened up to monitor these conversations.
  • Share presentations via Slideshare:  I have several of my guest lecture presentations posted on Slideshare on a variety of topics from visual storytelling to blogging.  This way, others who were not part of the class are able to see what I discussed and talked about with the students.

In summary – to my fellow professors in PR, guest lectures are wonderful and if you are able to participate in Skype or Google+ hangouts with students and other professors virtually, that would be wonderful. It is one additional thing you could put down on your CV as well as building your presence in particular areas.  Plus, in order to make sure our students are prepared for the growing social business workplace, we have to be on top of the technology ourselves both professionally and personally. Conducting guest lectures via Skype and Google+ opens this opportunity for professors.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,

Karen