Sunday, December 20, 2009

Before marking

In early September, I wrote about the FDOC (first day of class) for my McMaster social media course. And now - 14 weeks later - we had our final session. And before I start marking (it feels like an arduous task), I thought I'd share a few observations.

First off, I've had a great time meeting and getting to know the students; watching (and hopefully helping) them learn to make their way around social networks and seeing how their voices emerged. I'm happy to report that most of them want to continue their blogs. In case you're interested, here's a class list.

It's been a truly rewarding and humbling experience. I met the father of one of my students at Tim's before class. He's a former teacher and remarked that teaching is like being on stage except you're throwing away 20 per cent of the script. That's a great description.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • It takes a lot of time to prepare - I spent between four and five hours each week getting the lecture ready, managing the Ning class site and keeping up with reading and trends.
  • Terry Flynn was right. I can see why he said you need to teach a course three times to fine tune all the details. Overall I was pleased, but there are some things, notably the course outline and assignments, that I would adapt.
  • If possible, the textbook for a social media course should be in a digital format - so it can be updated frequently with new tools and relevant case studies. There's an opportunity for someone.
  • Because it takes time to build relationships, readership and trust, I wonder if this should be a full-year course.
  • I'm not used to being the marker as opposed to the markee. I guess I will be soon.
Well, now it's time to stop procrastinating and start reading the blogs and Wiki assignments and doing some serious grading.

Congratulations to all the students. Thanks for making it easy for me to get up early every Saturday morning and drive to Hamilton. Thanks also for making me want do it again!

1 comment:

sdowbiggin said...

Martin,
Back in May I attended a birthday reunion with some New Brunswick friends in Boston. One of them gave me the following advice,"If you want to return to public relations after such a long absence I would advise you to take a course in social media and re-join CPRS."
That was excellent advice and timely. One month later I investigated the PR program at McMaster and was pleased to see the description for your course. It is the ONLY course I've taken that I felt ended too soon. Comments from others yesterday show I'm not alone. We all agreed that there should be a Social Media II. Ideally you would teach it. Your commitment was appreciated. It was always evident that you wanted to deliver a quality experience.
Thank you and Happy Holidays