[Air-L] Teaching: Understanding Social Media

Janet Salmons, Ph.D. jesalmons at gmail.com
Thu Jun 6 15:47:54 PDT 2013

Hello colleagues,

Michael Glassman asked: "I wonder if people have thought about throwing out
written materials and treating social media not only as the topic but as
the means of the course?"

I did something like that for a Masters level business course called
"Leadership and New Media Communication." Before starting on the electronic
communications, we first spent some time on general foundations of
business/organizational communication-- and we used a text for those
readings. Beyond that, some (electronic of course) articles for course
readings to expose them to research/writings about the kinds of
communications media they were experiencing. Throughout the term
assignments asked them to look for, analyze, compare and share with peers
exemplars of new/social media representing different genres of business
communication. But at the heart of the course was an experiential project.

Each person chose a (free) place to develop a course-long project. Since it
was "new media" rather than "social media" the project options were defined
broadly to include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, Second Life. They
were given a series of "communication challenge" assignments, which they'd
implement on their project site. The course was offered online in
Blackboard, so we had as our home base the online discussion area. They'd
post links to their projects, and go visit, comment on and critique their
peers' projects. A big part of the discussion centered on what online
communications approaches were effective for what kinds of tasks or
business objectives. At the end of the term, they presented what they'd
done and learned using Adobe Connect, with some peers there live to discuss
it. The link to the presentation was also posted in the class discussion,
and they were required to watch and give feedback to peers. They did submit
a short paper describing the background reading etc. for the project, but
nearly all of the work for this course walked the talk, with a very rich
online practice, exchange and analysis.

The course was fun and interesting for students-- as well as for their
professor ;-)


*Janet Salmons Ph.D.*
*Capella University School of Business  and Vision2Lead, Inc.
*Site- http://www.vision2lead.com
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jsalmons at vision2lead.com

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