Over the last few months, I’ve finally had some good fortune come my way. The opportunity to be an Adjunct Communications Professor at Central Penn College has been an amazing experience thus far. I hold out hope that I will continue to teach there for many terms to come.
There are some things, however, that have been challenging to me.
1) Social Media is the way young people communicate.
While I am far from a social media expert, I still think that my level of social media knowledge is much higher than the average individual. I’ve been running successful social media campaigns for all of my clients over the past year and have an increasing presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That being said, I can help businesses, but can I help the students learn more about social media? Every Communications class should have some form of discussion about social media and how these Communications students can and will use social media in their future jobs.
2) Teaching Communications classes is challenging due to the constant stream of new technology.
The book that I’m using to teach my class is called Media Programming: Strategies and Practices. While it does a wonderful job being current and even has an online portal for constantly updated information, the field of communications technology is constantly changing and will continue to do so. It is certainly my responsibility to stay current on things that could impact not only my class but the communications field in general.
3) My College Classes included no Social Media instruction. I will not make that mistake as a professor.
Looking back at my time (specifically at Shippensburg University) in college, I quickly realized that not one of my professors ever mentioned social media, even in passing. Granted, I graduated in 2009 when Social Media was just beginning to become relevent, but I still look at it as a disservice to my education. Everything that I know about social media I learned myself, being very fortunate along the way to meet two amazing Social Media professionals, Chris Dessi and Rachel Strella. Even though my current class has no mention of social media anywhere in the course description, relating social media to the subjects we discuss in class will help the students understand how important it is to the field of communications.
4) Colleges and Universities must be proactive when teaching social media.
Just because college-aged students have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts doesn’t mean that a) they know to use it properly and effectively and b) understand how important social media is in finding a job or c) how leveraging social media will directly impact their future career.
Central Penn College does a fantastic job understanding the importance and value of social media and how we as professors must integrate social media discussion within our classes. I look for many colleges and universities to expand classes to include social media related courses for students.