Phone a Friend

After a pretty intense weekend, I was ready to hop into the office early this morning (on my ‘vacation’ day) to prep for class. I started on a quick scan through email and social media, like I always do. Then one more “GTD-just-take-care-of-this-now” thing after another and I burned through 90 precious minutes of course prep. By 8:45am,

bad-teacher-tv-series-e1349715347163I was starting to panic about the mounds of grading and record keeping I have to do for the overloaded course. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to prepare a 75-minute lecture that would offer students a valuable learning experience.

I had decided to delay the midterm until after Pacing break in order to give them an objective assessement of what they’ve learned to date, and how they will apply it towards their final project. I still wasn’t sure keeping class today would work. So I phoned a friend for advise. He suggested I pull a couple of the students’ proposals to talk them out in class.

At lecture time, I started with an overview of what I did in my communications practice, both internally and externally. This is standard for every Tuesday. It’s either a quick run through of what I did, or a case study worth discussion. I show them what I do and offer them an opportunity for observation and critique.

I showed them a heavy weekend of content.

I couldn’t have been happier with one student wondering about too much content. As with most of my responses, it’s “Yes and No.” Yes, there was a lot of content. If someone was on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram the entire time, the content may have overloaded their newsfeed. I could have lost a couple of followers. I won’t know until next week after the page analytics catch up. Chances are that on the weekend, people actually get off the internet (one would hope) and not see the constant updates from a festival. I can always do a content comparison between what I did last weekend to a weekend of Musikfest. But on the fly – I’m going with my gut.

I explained that there are internal communications reasons as well as external for the amount of posts. So many people were involved in the production. I wanted to feature them all so that no one would feel unnoticed. There now exists a very rich documentation of the block pARTy on all of our social media platforms. Any one from the team can pull photos or a timeline of activities for future grant proposals or corporate sponsorships. I’ve said it before: social media isn’t just about marketing. It’s also celebration, engagement and stewardship.

There was so much to post about. I was happy to also show them from my access point, that the posts were also from team members. A shared account, and generous tagging of images helped tell a full story of what we did in 5 days of programming.

After the case study, I walked through the shift of the course schedule. The students were fine with not taking a midterm now. (Who wouldn’t be?)

I the pulled a couple of examples from the Assignment 1 submissions to start a dialogue about their project and walked them through a strategy session. The students were able to provide feedback and ideas to their project as I pulled up current content from the proposed client.

The students were highly engaged in the discussion. Many were taking notes on what they would need to think about with their strategy proposals. It was a great use of course time.

The icing on the educator cake was experimenting with a new (to me) option on course site called “choice” in which the students sign up for individual meeting times with me before they leave campus.

The thing works in the way I need it to.

From panic to productive – I’m very happy with the way things turned out today.


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