By: Julie Solomon, a junior Interpersonal Communication major
As a class member of #UDcomm318, I have gotten to experience University of Delaware’s very first Social Media Management course. Two of the university’s finest social media experts, Carolyn White Bartoo and Meredith Chapman, lead the class. According to Professor Bartoo, this course was created by a “random impulsive moment that was actually a culmination of many years of thinking.”
When Professor Bartoo and Professor Chapman met, they found there was a natural relationship created due to their similar expertise. Professor Bartoo describes this as a magical coincidence or kismet. This excitement between the two sparked interest in creating #UDcomm318, and through several correspondences, they pitched the idea of a Social Media-focused class. The dynamic duo alternate for the weekly class, in which one is the “captain” for the night and the other plays the support role.
Many aspects of #UDcomm318 have been a success, including hosting a Google Hangout with international students about the use of social media. While we are busy talking about Insomnia or the latest fashion statement, their reality is war versus peace. Professor Bartoo noticed a “peace on earth moment,” seeing her students’ light bulbs go off in their minds and eyes while becoming personally enlightened about other cultures. In addition, students love creating digital stories in #UDcomm318. From a professor’s point of view, Professor Bartoo was having a blast running up and down the halls and seeing that “a silly activity was actually the culmination of 9 hours of the class so far.”
As a student within this course, Allison Lane, a junior communications major, spoke further about the digital story activity. During the digital story, we broke up into groups and created either a Vine or Instagram video. Before this class, many students had no idea how these types of digital media could actually be used to send effective messages, but the activity truly put what we had learned into action. Allison Lane states, “My favorite aspect is how interactive it [#UDcomm318] is that we are in class for three hours, but it doesn’t feel like that because we have a lot of hands-on activities.” This class always has us as students on our feet and engaging in conversation on several different social media platforms.
#UDcomm318 provides a learning environment to master new skills. One new skill that we have gained is “live-tweeting as well as deep dive-tweeting,” says Lane. This means live-tweeting an event, such as the several National Agenda speakers, while pulling outside sources into the conversation in order to create higher-level thinking and to increase engagement. We have also learned to use tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, which will be beneficial if (and when) we work with social media platforms in our careers.
Social Media Management is an extremely stimulating and advantageous course for any student at the University of Delaware to enroll in in future semesters. Allison Lane articulates it best when she says, “All companies need social media. It’s important to know how to effectively use today’s technology and engage with others on multiple platforms.” No matter the major or career aspirations, these skills are exceedingly critical to succeed in the so-called “real world” that students will be entering shortly.