When I received a telephone call in February of 2012 to teach a “social media” class to MBA students at University of Tennessee Chattanooga, I was both honored and terrified. I had given many 1-2 hour sessions on a variety of aspects of social media or digital from “how-to’s” to the sociological impacts of its use. I had not, however, created a curriculum for a full semester.
Immediately, I knew that I did not want to teach a class on “social media.” With such an interconnected digital world, if anything, I wanted the students of this class to walk away with a broader, richer perspective of all of the moving parts of the digital communications platforms. More importantly, I wanted the students to walk out of the class knowing:
- A variety of tools available to facilitate conversation
- How to analyze any tools on their own
- Understand why any of the tools should be used
- Know how to put all of the pieces together into a strategy
When I read Scott Gerber’s post, 8 Entrepreneurs’ Opinions on Tech Education, I wanted to engage in a bit of self-evaluation. While I don’t think that I hit the mark on all eight, I do believe that approaching this class from the role of an entrepreneur, the students benefited from a few of these…namely #8 “A Little Bit of Liberal Arts.”
1. Teach Some Curiosity
2. More Practice, Less Theory
3. Emphasize Projects in Education
4. Technical Meets Business
5. Simulated Situations Work
6. Progressive Formal Learning
7. More Doing, Less “Instructions”
8. A Little Bit of Liberal Arts
This post would have been a nice read prior to the class, but I was surprised to see how some crossover. Last week, after making mid-term grades available to the class, I asked them to tell me how this newby instructor was doing. The feedback was wonderfully candid and instructional for this and future classes. By and large, it validated a slightly different approach that I took with this class.
I cannot take any credit for the most popular aspect of the class. Throughout the semester, a few wonderful people made guest appearances through FaceTime and Google Hangouts: Paula Berg, Jami Mullikin, Sam Decker, Mark Schaefer. This is truly the essence of the community that we discuss in the class, wonderful people who generously giving their most valuable asset–their time.