Social Media in Classrooms

Monday, February 28, 2011

In this day in age, professors have many options on how they should teach their classes. Journalism professors specifically get to use this to their advantage by applying social media in their own classroom. I will describe a few innovative methods of social media that professors are trying in the classroom. Keep in mind that not every tool mentioned will be appropriate for your class.

Facebook groups: This allows students to post ideas, links, videos and photos. The information that is posted on the group’s wall stays only between the members of that group. This tool is very beneficial because many students today already use Facebook. In other words, it doesn’t make a student go out of their way by having to remember a log-in or attend a class forum.
There are three different types of groups: open, closed and secret. “Open” groups are available to the public, “closed” groups keep content private but members within the group are allowed to see it and “secret” do not show up anywhere.
Group Blogs: This type of social media allows students to adapt to online writing and basic web publishing. Students can post assignments that let their teacher and classmates see.
1. Tumblr: A new fad that is simple and described to stand between Twitter feed and WordPress blog.
2. Posterous: This is similar to Tumblr, but has a few additional differences, being that it allows you to post text, photos or videos via e-mail. This allows students with a Smartphone to be able to blog at any time, any place.

Social Curation: Important tool that lets students collect social media information for their blogs or articles.
1. Storify/Keepstream are both designed around distinct compilation of content.
2. An ongoing curation. In other words, it covers live-events or long-term collaboration. This program is more highly looked upon because the privacy features allow limited access to certain projects.

Mind mapping: a program that arranges ideas based on their relationship to other elements through online collaboration.
1. MindMeister: The mind map tracks updates based on student’s opinions. For example, a professor asked his students to define journalism, multimedia and organize how each element related to each other. Mind map tracked the updates as the class discussed the definitions. This allows the students to interact together in class, instead of looking at the whiteboard.

Experimentation: Although some professors may find these tools not useful, it is important to at least try and experiment using new social media because it allows journalist students to apply themselves even further and improve their online abilities.

Photo Credit:


Short and Sweet

One problem journalists face is adding additional words to their stories that they don't need. Excluding additional words keeps readers interested in the article.

Twitter is one of the newest form of technology that has helped the news industry. Since Twitter forces individuals to limit their thoughts to 140 characters, this has led them to shorten their thoughts in a more concise form of communication.

One common thing that happens is that people don't think before they write. This lack of preparation causes the writer to frantically drag on in their articles.

By rambling to an audience, readers will become bored and won't finish reading an article. Readers want the journalist to get to the point quickly.

An aid for journalists, is to read the written material before it is published and see if any unnecessary words can be eliminated. By revising the work, it will help readers to stay interested in the material.

The news industry is fast. Journalists want their material read and by revising their work, journalists might have an opportunity to compete within the fast-paced news industry.

photo credit:Max Chafkin,


Are You LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is one social networking site that we never hear about. The purpose of LinkedIn is to help business-oriented people connect.

There are many benefits to LinkedIn including groups that people can create and join. For example, if a company has an important meeting coming up an employee/employer can make a group to help promote it and remind other employees about the meeting.

One thing that many people use LinkedIn for is the many jobs that are listed on the site. People are able to search companies to find potential jobs.

LinkedIn is also a great way for a person to build connections with future employers, co-workers, and other business people.

One major benefit of LinkedIn is that it is free. There is no cost to join LinkedIn. Building connections with other business people can be a huge advantage in today's fast paced world.

Overall, LinkedIn promotes the user. The user decides what to put on the LinkedIn profile.
It's basically like an online resume. Users can post past jobs, recommendations, education and many other things.

The question is why aren't you signing up for a LinkedIn account right now?

Photo Credit: Jean Cummings via Creative Commons


Awesome Tips for Acing an Interview

You may be acing your journalism classes with ease, but when it comes down to it, you're probably not going to get the job if you completely blow the interview. So here are a few tips to ensure that your interview goes well.

1. Know the day's news - one sure way to get your resume thrown into the "don't call" pile is by not knowing the current events going on. Make sure you wake up early enough to watch the news, read the newspaper, or any other way you use to obtain news of the day. This will save the awkwardness when they ask you, "What did you think of todays coverage?" and you have no response.

2. Know the competition - Sure it's essential that you know about the newsroom that you are applying for, but you also need to know what the competition is doing. This is useful for giving your imput about what you like and dislike.

3. Bring a copy of your resume - You may be thinking, "But I already sent them my resume and cover letter online why do I need to bring it in?" You're probably not the only resume that they recieved and they are recieving mass amounts of emails daily, so to ensure yours doesn't get lost in the pack, just bring it with you. Note about resume: Do not, I repeat not, have any typos.

4. Have an online portfolio - All journalists should have an online portfolio, especially those who work with multimedia, video, audio, graphics, etc. List the web address at the top of your resume, so they can pull it up before their meeting with you. If you show up with a flash drive, cd or something else, expect confused looks.

5. Have a Twitter account - You should always have an active Twitter account, especially if the position you're interviewing for relates to the web. Many newsrooms will excuse a use of a private facebook, but a candidate that does not use social media at all raises a red flag.

6. Bring ideas to the table - Newsrooms everywhere are looking for people who can help innovate and bring fresh ideas and perpsectives to the table. If you don't have at least a couple ways that may improve the newsroom, this can harm your chances of being chosen.

7. Remember soundbites - Journalists are busy people, so be sure to share your experiences and ideas in short soundbites, rather than long strung-out stories.

8. Have your own questions - One of the biggest interview killers is answering "No" when someone asks "Do you have any questions?" Have a few smart questions picked out, even if you already know the answer. It will make you sound more engaged and willing to learn. There are a lot of common questions asked like "Why do you want to work here?" "Where do you see yourself in five years?" or "What are your strengths and weaknesses". It is good to know what you are going to say, but don't rehearse it. It is easily spotted and creates the illusion that you can not think on your toes. On the otherhand, be ready to be thrown curveballs. Don't freak out; just take a few seconds, breathe and then answer. It's better to have a good answer than a quick one.


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