Tag Archives: Social media

Social Media News & Info syllabus

I spent the past few weeks sifting through online literature to include in my syllabus for Social Media News & Information for our new master’s curriculum in the School of Journalism. I teach the class in Spring 2014. I found some great popular press readings from the Nieman Journalism Lab, Poynter, First Monday, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Mediashift.

I also decided to test Google Sites to create the website for the syllabus. The tool was similar to using Gmail compose box. So very simple.

Digital and social media class syllabi

I try to identify and share recent syllabi that I believe would be of use for the academic community. I know many educators are working on their syllabi over winter break. If you have one you would like to share related to digital media topics, email me or post it below.

I have also posted other syllabi in previous posts. Be sure to browse those posts as well.

Tim Currie | University of King’s College | Audience and Content Strategies
Marcus Messner | Virgina Commonwealth University | Reporting for Print and Web and Business of Media
Susan Currie Sivek | Linfield College | Introduction to Mass Communication

Keith Hampton | University of Pennsylvania | Five Digital Media and Social Network Classes
Zizi Papacharissi | University  of Illinois at Chicago | Democracy in a Digital Age
Columbia Graduate School of Journalism | Social Media Skills for Journalists
Mark W. Smith | Central Michigan University | Social Media and Journalism
Bill Handy | Oklahoma State University | Social Media

Cindy Royal | Texas State University | Web Design and Publishing
Jake Batsell | Southern Methodist University | Technology Reporting | Digital Reporting
Katy Bartzen Culver | University of Wisconsin-Madison | In-depth Multimedia Reporting
Serena Carpenter | Arizona State University | Online Media


Hiring trend: we’ll take you and your followers

Students must know how to cultivate community. It is becoming more common to expect that they secure a social media following prior to graduation. As an example, the Klout score is the new the press pass. A high Klout score suggests that you have influence among your followers.

The number of people using social networking sites is growing. And more than half of U.S. adults follow a brand. Information providers must know how to write stories, but they must also learn how connect that content to readers.

The responsibility of promotion and connection is shifting from the organization to the individual. Broadcast journalists are expected to tweet and Facebook. The majority of journalists operate social media accounts. However, the posting of content does not guarantee an audience especially if you are a student.

I have found students can learn computer-mediated communication in a short amount of time. But at first, most students treat social media applications as if they were Facebook.

My students are required to tweet for two weeks after my Twitter lecture. The reoccurring theme I hear each semester is that they do not understand Twitter until I ask them Tweet information for two weeks. Following that assignment, I require my students to write a small reflection paper. These are excerpts from my honor’s section:

“Before this project, I didn’t fully understand the point of Twitter, and I mostly used as an extension of my Facebook profile.”

“I was aware of the value of Twitter, but I had yet to reap the rewards because I did not understand how to make use of all of its advantages.”

“I had a Twitter account, but it might as well have been completely inactive. My lack of interest probably spawned from not understanding the purpose of the social media site … I would never anticipated at the beginning of this project that I would 53 followers within two weeks. I will absolutely continue to use Twitter.”

“Coming into this Twitter project, I didn’t have a high opinion of Twitter and my underlying, unspoken goal was to get through this project as quickly as possible. However, after just two weeks on the aforementioned social media, I have come to understand and enjoy the rapid sharing of information.”

My students are amazing. But it is an invalid assumption to think that students are digitally savvy in all spheres. Each application cultivates a unique community, and to be respected by its members, people must know how to speak the language to engage participants. People tend to connect to people they perceive as like-minded, which positively influences trust.

As a teacher, you need to encourage them to publish useful information for a niche community. One component of credibility is expertise. They should develop expertise in a topic area to help position themselves as an information authority. This is uncomfortable for some students, but it is how intellectual communities are built.

Syllabi for social media and communication teachers

It is difficult to teach online media topics because often instructors are pressured to teach students everything about online media including user behavior and communication, technical skills, reporting, writing, and design.

Recently, Nathan Gibbs wrote about his experiences of learning to teach.

I share my materials as a way of thanking people who have helped me to become a better teacher. I wrote a post in 2009 listing several class websites on teaching social media and online communication. Here are several more course websites that may be useful to you:

To add your course to the list, email me or provide your syllabus in the comments section including background information related to the course. I hope that these examples are useful for educators designing their classes for future semesters and for those looking for resources to learn more about the online media environment.

Social Media Assignment: Free Metric and Measurement Tools

I spent part of my break revamping my assignments for my Online Media class including trying to bring clarity to my social media assignment. I structured the assignment so it would be useful for my students and the audience at a PR Newswire event as well. In addition, Kaye Sweetser recently shared her social media monitoring assignment.

Step 1 – Identify your goals

  1. Think about whether reach, reputation or engagement is your goal. Write down specific objectives related to your social media efforts. For example, a goal could be to get more social media mentions of your blog, find sources, increase readership, build reputation, find new story angles, etc. Goals encourage you to be efficient and focused with your social media efforts. Goals will change or expand over time. Understand that each social media application serves different functions dependent upon community members.
  2. Be tuned into your online presence. Google your name, company, etc. in quotes “Jane Doe” and screen capture a .jpg of your Google results. Screen-capture your web presence by pressing command+shift+4 (Mac) to create .jpg of a section. You can capture multiple sections of your results. You can also use Super Screenshot! or PDFmyurl to capture entire page. You will capture the results again when you hand in the social media assignment.
  3. Set up Google alerts for your name (e.g., “Serena Carpenter”; “Carpenter, Serena”), company name, employees, etc. PR Sarah Evans suggested other useful tools to monitor your online presence not required for this assignment: 1) use BlogPulse Conversation Tracker feed to monitor blog comments, 2) track mentions in video with Google, 3) monitor discussions with BoardTracker, 4) and view your reputation with Quarkbase.

Step 2 – Establish your credibility

  1. Complete your bio on numerous sites. This includes the same picture, credentials, and URLs on every site. Hand in the your URLs on the due date. Sites can include LinkedIn, BrightFuse, Twitter, Flickr, MediaGeeks, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Profile, SlideShare, Delicious, FriendFeed, FaceBook, MySpace, Digg, Reddit, Favstar, OpenSalon, NewsVine, Twtjobs, etc. FB, YouTube and Twitter are the top three (right now).
  2. Find influentials. There are several ways to find thought leaders such as Twitter’s Suggested Users, Alltop, Listorious, PostRank Topics, Technorati, Google Blog Search, and blogrolls.
  3. Listen. Each topic and application has its own culture. You must observe before participating.
  4. Share useful information before seeking friends or contacts. People will evaluate you based on your content and bio. You must participate regularly and thoughtfully. People like frequent and shorter form content.
  5. Interact with others users, ask them to share their stories, submit photos, design and create videos, logos, etc., ask and answer questions, acknowledge other members contributions to the group, and comment on other blogs. Focus on becoming part of the read-write web.

Step 3 – Set up FREE metric tools. (Top three most important for this class.)

  1. Bit.ly (Monitor link traffic). Shorten your links in bit.ly to track clicks and how your links are shared. Provide the top 10 links clicked on including the number of clicks.
  2. TweetStats. Provide your average tweets per day.
  3. Sitemeter (Traffic analyzer). Track your blog site traffic. Useful site to see the location of users and see how users found your site including keywords. Select previous 12 months and provide the visits and page views for each month.
  4. Google Analytics (Traffic analyzer). On the Dashboard, select a date range for each month. Provide the visit number for each month. On the Traffic Sources Overview, please the three top keyword search terms used to find your site. Most users use 1-3 terms.
  5. YouTube Insight (Traffic analyzer). Tracks how people get to your site, the content clicked on, average pages per visit, etc. for your Web site.
  6. Feedburner (Subscribers). Provide the number of people who subscribe to your blog via RSS.
  7. FriendFeed (Subscribers). Subscribe to multiple feeds related to one individual. Provide the number of subscribers.
  8. Twitter Lists (Subscribers). Create a list that is of informational value to Twitter users and provide the number of subscribers.
  9. Google Alerts and Tweet Beep (Monitor brand and conversations). Set up an alert for your name, company, or blog in quotes.
  10. SocialMention (Monitor brand and conversations). Tracks mentions related to your name. Enter your Twitter id and/or name in quotes. Select to search “all.” Provide your strength, sentiment, passion, and reach numbers.
  11. Addictomatic (Monitor brand and online mentions). Look up your twitter id and full name in quotes. Useful tool that monitors your presence across search engines and information aggregators TweetMeme shows who is referencing you on Twitter. Provide the top three referrals.

Step 4 – Measure your efforts

In the following tables, record your numbers. Numbers are only one measure of influence. It is also important to see track whether mentions are positive and negative. This can be referred to as sentiment analysis or opinion mining. You could also do a thematic qualitative analysis based on comments related to your company, however this is not required for this class. Under themes such as negative, positive, satisfaction, useful, place comments under each heading to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Step 5 – Identify trends and readjust social media efforts

Monitor the cultures by participating. Where do you best fit in? Which applications do you most enjoy? Which applications serve your goals best? Is traffic up after posting on Facebook? What about Twitter? Where are your customers online? Think about how much time you put into connecting and how often you are mentioned within each culture.

Reflection Paper

Write a double-spaced four-page paper on lessons learned. I do not want you to simply list what you did, rather focus on what you have learned related to online communication and relationship building. Think about how this knowledge influences how you will create content in the future? How will social media influence your field? How will this knowledge influence your future? Why is relationship building important? How is online content different than offline? What were your perceptions before and after this assignment? What will you keep up following this assignment and why?

These items are not included in the four pages.

  1. List of URLs
  2. Tables
  3. Before and after screen grabs

The key component that you will be graded on is your continual participation throughout the two months. Do not begin participating a week before the assignment is due.

ROI Table Examples

Time Social Media Quantitative Measures
Twitter Followers Feedburner Subscribers FriendFeed


Sitemeter Visits Analytics Visits YouTube Views Add Here Add Here Add Here
One Month
Two Months
Three Months
Per Day Twitter Mentions
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Number of posts
@replies to your id

Use twitter to find jobs – journalism, social media, pr, etc.

I have put together this list for my students to help them find work and internships. If interested, you can select one or more of these Twitter ids to follow. If you want to follow all of these Twitter users, I have also created a list to follow on Twitter. Don’t forget to submit your resume to Twitter at twtjobs.



Arizona Jobs


SYLLABI: Teaching Online Journalism and Communication

Online Journalism Review aggregated syllabi in 2004, however this list needs to be updated. In an attempt to aggregate this information, I have begun a list of syllabi dedicated to online journalism, online communication and social media. I found that results from Google do not showcase all of the best available syllabi online.

This section highlights faculty syllabi that focus on skills, theory, online communication, and journalism. The selected sites featured interactive, timely, and great resources for students, educators, journalists, and people with a desire to learn. I have also highlighted some useful features that I believe may be useful for educators.

Mindy McAdams – University of Florida
Mindy McAdams shares her syllabi focused on the teaching of multimedia, animation, and reporting for online users. Her sites are designed simply and feature possible assignment ideas and online resources for educators and students.

Dave Stanton – University of Florida
Dave Stanton has a broad background, which enables him to teach web consulting, design and XHTML/CSS. I really like that Dave gives his students video tutorials to help them process information outside of class.

Serena Carpenter – Arizona State University
My class is the foundation class for all things concerning online media. It is divided into three sections: 1) social media, 2) visual communication, and 3) Web site creation. The focus throughout the semester is on online communication. I provide ideas for class assignments as well. I also provide tutorials on my blog.

Leslie-Jean Thornton – Arizona State University
This is an online reporting course for students in a Masters program. The resources page also provides some useful tutorials.

Carol Schwalbe and Nancie Dodge – Arizona State University
The Advanced Online Media class builds upon skills taught in previous basic online media classes.

Cindy Royal – Texas State University
Cindy Royal’s site contains useful ideas to include into lectures.

Don Wittekind – University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
I am impressed by Don Wittekind’s ability to teach Flash, based on my experience from a past seminar. Don provides a list of classes that he teaches in the left-hand navigation section. He provides some lectures and handouts as well.

Ryan Thornburg – University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Ryan Thornburg shares his online reporting syllabi. His assigned readings page is interactive.

Alfredo A. Marin-Carle – Ball State University
The New Media Journalism concentrates on web design. The reference section offers a list of useful sites for people teaching such courses.

Tracy Rutledge – University of Tennessee at Martin
Intro to Multimedia focuses on creating multimedia websites. She provides some tutorials as well.

Donica Mensing – University of Nevada-Reno
Donica Mensing shares her syllabus for her online reporting course, which covers multimedia reporting, social media and HTML/CSS. She provides helpful videos as well.

Laura Ruel
– University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Laure Ruel teaches design and multimedia storytelling. She has a great downloads section that features storyboarding and usability execises.

Chris Harvey – University of Maryland
I like that this instructor’s Online Journalism class schedule is interactive and detailed.

Sean Mussenden – University of Maryland
His Online Journalism course has screencast tutorials teaching others how to use WordPress.

Gaurav Mishra -  Georgetown University
The Social Media in Business, Development and Government course concentrates on social media literacy.

Henry Jenkins – Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program
The New Media Literacies course site shares resources related to online participation and communication.

Alice J. Robinson – Arizona State University
The Digital Cultures and Social Media course is a doctoral seminar. There is a list of thought-provoking pieces on her schedule and on her Delicious page.

Corinne WeisgerberSt. Edward’s University
The Social Media for Public Relations class offers useful material for anyone teaching social media including how to reach online users.

David Carlson – University of Florida
He teaches an Applied Interactive Newspaper course and an online communication class. I like that student projects are shared.

Tim McGuire – Arizona State University
The Business and Future of Journalism class encourages students to reflect on the journalism industry by having them write about business models. Tim also provides links to suggested readings.

Siva Vaidhyanathan – University of Virgina
This Introduction to Digital Media instructor encourages students to take a critical look at new media and its impact on culture. The reading list is a useful resource.

Jeffrey Michael Heer – Stanford University
Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction is a graduate-level course focused on HCI. He also includes links to student articles.

Vin Crosbie – Syracuse University

The course examines how new media differs from traditional media. Crosbie provides a list of books that may be useful for other instructors.

To add your course to the list, email me or provide your syllabus in the comments section including background information related to the course. I hope that these examples are useful for educators designing their classes for future semesters and for those looking for resources to learn more about the online media environment.

Bringing structure to the grading of blog posts

Every semester I struggle with the grading of my students’ blog posts. For most of my students in my Online Media class, it is the first time that they have blogged.

It takes awhile for students to adjust to online communication and how the blogosphere plays a part. I just finished grading their first two posts in my class. Based on my experience, I felt compelled to create a rubric for grading blogs in future classes. I would appreciate any suggestions. Feel free to apply it to your class. Here is the PDF of the grading rubric for blog posts.

*Hat tip to Dale Cressman for the idea.

Developing a personal brand statement

I enjoyed encouraging my students last semester to reflect and communicate who they are in one to two sentences. Students can post their statements on their sites (e.g., Google Profile, LinkedIn, Twitter) to quickly communicate who they are and what they want to do professionally.

Here are statements from my Spring 09 Honors class:
“I am a politics and public policy reporter with experience using public records and personal relationships to break stories at all levels of government.”

“I am a bilingual print and online journalist who believes in the power journalistic words can have in exposing injustice and catalyzing change.”

“I am a writer who loves interacting with people and want to use my talents to promote my interests in the areas of entertainment and community service.”

“I’m a media communications professional with 15 years of journalism and public relations experience, specializing in the use of narrative to inspire emotion.”

“I am a bilingual, global-minded journalist who believes in telling stories that effect change and connect people of diverse backgrounds.”

“I am an Asian American multimedia journalist who seeks to capture humanity through visuals and sound.”

“I am a Native American journalist who believes in distributing accurate information to educate, empower and further universal human rights. I am a backpack reporter with a strong background in covering Native American, environmental and business issues.”

“I’m a visionary, an entrepreneur, an activist, and a global citizen. I specialize in seeing the invisible — the hidden solutions, the unrealized opportunities — and making them a reality.”