Whitworth #JMC335 Mid-Term Feedback

We’re now halfway through the term at Whitworth University, and it’s my first time teaching the Interactive Journalism (JMC 335) course. The students have been learning about the important role that social media and technology plays in today’s journalism, PR and marketing fields. In addition to classroom lectures, presentations, workshops and readings, they have been required to blog and tweet (and encouraged to tweet beyond the scope of classroom assignments).

While it seems that they have, for the most part, been learning a lot about social media, what I am uncertain of is how well my teaching style is working and whether the readings were relevant (and even being read by the students). So, I followed the advice of the interim department chair, and surveyed the students with a few simple questions, in order to gather feedback and make adjustments if necessary.

Here are the questions:

  1. What has most helped your learning so far in this course?
  2. What has least helped your learning so far in this course?
  3. Please complete this sentence: “I would get more out of this course if I would…”
  4. And this one: “I would get more out of this course if the instructor would…”
  5. The textbook is…

And here’s some of the (generalized) feedback I received:

  • The workshops (Twitter, blogging, FlipCam, etc.) have been beneficial. My intent is to find more opportunities to have more of these.
  • The class period can, admittedly, jump around from time to time. While I do come into class with a lecture plan, it is quite easy to veer off the subject of interject something that seems random. I need to work on a better in-class “game plan.”
  • Some of the students admitted that they haven’t been doing the reading assignments. So, I’ll be investigating some options to hold them more accountable, as the readings are short, easy and relevant.
  • While some haven’t been reading the textbooks, others have noted that they either like the books or don’t. Unfortunately, there isn’t really an ideal textbook out there, that I’ve found, that would cover this course. But, I think the two required textbooks supplement the class well, and The New Rules of Marketing & PR book will be particularly useful for them in the future. After the course, I’ll have to survey the landscape again to see if there are new resources I should be requiring them to read.
  • Yes, for some reason, I refer to kittens a lot in class. Don’t ask me why. I don’t have an obsession for them. However, it seems like kittens are always popular on social media. Perhaps I should diversify the references.
  • They have mentioned the need for a handout. There is one posted on Blackboard for the course, but I’m guessing not everyone has seen it. Be sure to reference (and update as necessary) the handout and provide summaries, too.
  • More examples of social media case studies have been requested as well. I found two in a book that were quite relevant to the journalism aspect of the course. Researching more case studies and sharing them with the class would be helpful.
  • The three-hour class period can be long and monotonous. I should find opportunities to break it up with more breaks, group work, etc.
  • A few more items: sharing latest trends, examples (or instructions) on how to write good blogs, etc.

I also received some great feedback from the interim department chair as well, and I’m already looking at opportunities to incorporate these into the class:

  • Different questioning methods, such as: clusters, individuals by name, and group discussions/answers.
  • Having the students write down one thing they want to share and one thing they didn’t quite understand (or have questions about) regarding the reading, at the beginning of class, to help hold them accountable.
  • Require them to write about the readings for some of their blog posts.
  • Find the intersection between “redundancy” and “novelty” (used in “Information Theory”) in class time.

I think that with all of this feedback, I can help the second part of the course be even more interactive and engaging for the students.

 

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3 Things that Motivate Employees more than Money

Strangely, I’ve been receiving Inc. magazine for free in the mail the past few months. I’m not quite certain why it’s being sent to me, or who may have given me the subscription. But at any rate, I finally had a chance to read though it, and it’s fairly interesting. The first tidbit that I thought I’d share with everyone: “Three Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money.”

1. Create role models. Highlight your top performers’ strengths, and let them know that you want them to be an example for others. You’ll set the bar high, and they’ll be motivated to live up to their reputations.

2. Give recognition and small rewards. Give a shout-out to someone in a company meeting. Run contests or internal games, and keep track of the results on a whiteboard that everyone can see. Tangible awards that don’t break the bank can work, too. Try things like dinner, trophies, spa services, and plaques.

3. Make your ideas theirs. People hate being told what to do. Instead, ask them in a way that will make them feel as if they came up with the idea. “I’d like you to do it this way” turns into “Do you think it’s a good idea if we do it this way?”

I must admit that number two isn’t all that original or unique, but it does work…we’ve used that method at my current workplace and it motivates our employees. I’ve seen the other methods deployed by different leaders (though not as often as #2), and they can work really well when done correctly.

Social Media for Insurance & Financial Services (NAIFA #PDX)

Earlier today a delivered this presentation to the Portland chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. I shared some ideas, strategies and tips on how they could use social media for their industries.

Social Media for Small Business 2.0

I recently held a workshop hosted by the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce on how to use social media for your small business. The workshop was designed to be at the “201 level” — getting beyond the basics, and into more about content development, strategy, campaigns and more. Here are the slides that guided are workshop, which include stats, tips and resources.

Crowdsourcing the Interactive Journalism Syllabus (Whitworth University, Spring 2012)

This coming spring, I’ll be teaching the “Interactive Journalism” course at Whitworth University. Because the nature of this course is leveraging social media in today’s news organizations, I thought it would only be appropriate to utilize social media to garner feedback for the syllabus. Thus, I’m asking for your input…and I’ll seriously take it into consideration.

Here are some questions to ask:
  • Does this cover the topic of interactive (digital, social media, etc.) news journalism today?
  • Are the assignments relevant and support the course objectives?
  • Does the course seem to be too little, too intense or just right for one semester?
  • Any miscellaneous thoughts or recommendations?

Before you dive in to the PDF of the syllabus to review it, here are the course summary and goals. You may want to read these over first, and then decide if you want to spend the time reviewing the complete syllabus.

Summary

Technology has created a paradigm shift in the way we communicate with one another. Now, people interact with one another across the globe, sharing information with complete strangers; traditional media outlets are no longer the primary source of news; and information travels instantaneously.  Thus, the journalists of today and tomorrow must know how to leverage technology to gather, develop and distribute stories, identify and engage key influencers, and participate in two-way conversations with a variety of audiences.

Goals

The objective of this course is to introduce you to online tools and resources that will help you:

  • Utilize the web to research news stories.
  • Write and edit for the web and social media.
  • Use technology to develop content, including digital photography, videos, blogs and social media.
  • Identify and engage key influencers.
  • Build and maintain the online reputation for you and your organization.

These skills will prepare you to work as an entry-level content producer at traditional and digital media outlets.

Please provide your feedback by commenting on this blog post by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16. Thank you!

Mayo Clinic Success Stories: Why social media? | presentation by @KathyBarbour at @prsaspokane #hcsm

Kathy Barbour, APR, the communications manager at the Mayo Clinic spoke at a Spokane PRSA workshop on Sept. 8, 2011. She shared some of their success stories and how they are integrating social media into their communication strategies. The following are my raw notes from her presentation.

Their history and heritage are still a vital part of who they are. It’s included in their speeches, emails, facilities, conversations, etc. They celebrate heritage days annually.

Mayo Clinic is an integrated healthcare provider. They have electronic medical records that are shared between their physicians, sites, etc.

They’ve never done any national advertising. Instead they rely on word-of-mouth, stories in the media, physician recommendations, followed by advertising, Internet and others.

When they do advertise, they use patient stories and employee profiles to continue the “word-of-mouth” strategy. Their campaign is called “My Answer.”

Their primary value: the needs of the patient come first. Focus on how each employee reflects mission and value.

Posters showing their satisfaction scores are posted on their campuses.

They include a photo in their employee e-newsletter every week. Instead of just the written employee message, they now record their leadership on video and broadcast it.

The strategic plan campaign is called The Mayo Effect. They created a YouTube style video (below) that communicates the messages they had in their written version, but in a visually stimulating way.

They created an opt-in every-other-daily email communication that seems to be popular. About 4,000 out of 56,000 employees have signed up for it.

The Cowans video (below) was captured by a visitor at one of their hospitals and posted it to YouTube. When they heard about it, they tracked it down and cross-promoted it.

They post their social media policies for the public to see. And their staff can access Facebook, Twitter, etc. at work. Fortunately, they haven’t had to fire anyone for social media issues.

6 Tenets of Social Media

I first joined Twitter on April 18, 2008. Yes, I was not an early adopter. In fact, I only joined because I was curious about this “new” tool that some of my fellow colleagues were talking about. As for the other social networking sites, I had already given up on MySpace, I was very active on Facebook, didn’t have my own blog (unless you count my old LiverJournal account which hadn’t been used for years). So I will admit that Twitter actually re-energized my participation in social media.

And here I am, almost three years and three months later, with 13,337 tweets, 1,159 followers and 1,541 people I follow on my personal Twitter account. My “professional” account has only 469 followers; I follow 647 people and have tweeted 845 times (846 when this post is published). But enough of that small glimpse in time, let’s take a look at the fruits of my labor over the past several years: 6 Tenets of Social Media.

These tenets are grounded in professional experience of developing social media strategies and managing the accounts for institutions of higher learning, non-profit organizations, medical/healthcare organizations and a financial services industry. They are the result of the lessons learned there, as well as the knowledge gleaned from countless blogs, email newsletters, thought leaders, workshops, webinars, conferences, discussions and even academic research.

I invite your feedback and comments. These tenets are just that–guidelines–not laws to obey, but principles to use when making your decisions, formulating your strategy and implementing your tactics. They may change over time, as the technology changes, as the paradigm of social media changes, and as human behavior continues to evolve. But for now, I believe them to be fairly relevant…and hopefully, useful.

1. Be Human
  • Be conversational and friendly.
  • Be responsible; own up to your mistakes.
  • Develop a persona; have a consistent voice if possible.
  • Ask questions and engage your followers.
  • Be playful, but professional, matching your brand’s communication style.
  • Be transparent; don’t lie.
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Be unique.
2. Be Diligent
  • Explore the mediums; one may work better than another.
  • Get to know your audience.
  • Set goals and measure results.
  • Align social strategy with marketing and business objectives.
  • Know your tools and services.
  • Stay current on trends.
  • Have a plan for handling negative comments or crisis situations.
3. Be Relevant
  • Stay on topic.
  • Speak (and listen) to your followers.
  • Avoid automation.
  • Use appropriate conventions.
  • Don’t just regurgitate; add value.
  • Measure successes and failures.
  • Stick to your area of expertise.
  • Be a (thought) leader.
4. Be Thoughtful
  • Thank people.
  • Mention others.
  • Promote discourse.
  • Be creative and create excitement.
  • Be smart.
5. Be Timely
  • Respond quickly and accurately.
  • If acknowledging, less than an hour.
  • If the response requires research, acknowledge, then provide the full answer within one business day.
  • Post when appropriate.
  • Build buzz.
6. Be Respectful
  • Moderate the community with fairness.
  • Do not spam or inundate your followers.
  • Acknowledge positive and negative feedback.
  • Share opinions, but avoid speculation.
  • Respect privacy.
  • Disagree respectfully.
  • Think twice before posting.
Special thanks to my mentor and supervisor, Barb Richey for providing initial feedback. And of course, my sincere gratitude for further feedback and input from my social media mentor, Carri Bugbee.