First five weeks of the semester have passed. That’s one third of our time together in Entrepreneurial Communications for Creative Industries, ENTP040. We’ve read through Euan Semple’s (2012) Organizations don’t tweet, people do: A manager’s guide to the social web. They’ve submitted written reflections and questions for class discussion in response to the reading. We’ve live-tweeted the first show of the new Late Night with Stephen Colbert. They’ve submitted a simple content exercise: each student had to find original content related to an upcoming show at Zoellner. We also had our first guest speaker, local social media consultant, George Wacker.
The class is larger than I’ve ever taught before. I crafted the reading reflection exercises to support their attendance and participation grade, while also keeping their reading on track. This is a course in which they learn how to think about the material as it may apply to some present or future communication need.
In order for me to design a course that customizes content to a learning objective that has more meaning for THEIR entrepreneurial ideas, they need a structure to be able to think them through and present them in a way that not only makes sense to them, but also anyone else who they are trying to reach. When they work through a plan, they will be more successful at analyzing what makes it work, how to build a community of people to support their ideas, and to create a personal learning network for their continuous growth. Learning won’t stop at the end of this course.
It’s my training as a musician. We learn by studying the masters. We observe what others are doing. We listen for what works, and what might be adaptable for our objective.
As an educator I know that learning has the most impact when the student masters the material. It’s more than memorizing; it’s applying information to support ther ideas. As much as I’d like the students to be intrinsically motivated to what to apply content, they still need structure for their grade. It’s how they were raised. Here’s how the students’ final grade will be calculated:
Attendance and Participation (10 points per class, gained by in class discussion and online reflection posts per reading assignment) – 300 points
Four Assignments (100 each) – 400 points
Mid term – 100 points
Final Project – 200 points
I’ve seen plenty of students think they can pull magic out of their a**es um…. hats the night before a major paper is due.
Next Tuesday, they have their first assignment due. It’s a draft of the first of four parts of their final project. They are to identify an organization or business in which they will craft a communication plan. The plan can be promotion, marketing, audience/customer building, or PR campaign. They must describe the organization, what they are currently doing for their communications, and at least one suggestion for improvement. Their final project will have more than one suggestion. It’s a broadly designed assignment to give the students enough flexibility to define their project. And it’s vague enough to prompt a lot of questions. This is good. Knowing what questions to ask is the first step in determining direction.
By having the students work through their ideas throughout the four assignments, the final project is a simple construction of their ideas; putting their time into presentation, not fabrication. The presentation should knock my socks off – and theirs. That will be the time to impress.
The next five weeks will focus on social media platforms, content management techniques and analyzing case studies. Time to show them a few of my tricks. Oh, and we have another guest speaker coming this week. This one will introduce new ways of thinking about social media in community building. Who ever says that social media is just about marketing hasn’t really been paying attention.