Another semester at Ventura College is coming to an end, and I’m so proud of how far the Social Media Marketing program students have come. This is now just the third time that I’ve taught the Digital Content Marketing class, BUS V52, and the VC Social brand has evolved so much in the past couple of years.
The first time I taught this class was in Fall 2021, in the midst of the pandemic. There were only 11 students in the class, and when we met, we were all wearing face masks. The second time was last year in Spring 2022, and that course was fully online with 12 students.
This semester, we’ve been back in-person again, without masks (hooray!), with a classroom filled with 24 students. Considering the nature of this course, I’ve had to adapt and make some significant changes in order to keep up with the number of students compared to previous semesters. For example, I’ve had to give up some control over the social media profiles and draft vs. publish status of posts on the website, needing to trust that the students will follow the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics we studied in week 1. As you can imagine, this was a bit nerve-racking, as the blog and social media profiles are public. And I have to give it up to the students, they handled this responsibility with respect and professionalism. Not that I’m surprised.
Perhaps the biggest change I made, though, was giving control of the final project to the students. Rather than assigning a topic and making rules about groups, we agreed collectively to let the students decide what type of content they wanted to create and with whom. Some students decided to work in groups, while others opted to go solo. Content ranged from reviewing local businesses to showcasing artistic skills, with a variety of multimedia created for the blog, Instagram profile, and YouTube and podcast channels. From a quality standpoint, I didn’t micromanage, but instead asked students to push their boundaries and create something they could be proud of five years from now. This led to some incredible articles, graphics, videos and more.
I could ramble on about this semester forever, but since I know the students reading this are waiting for their prompt to reply to, I’ll bring this to a close by saying that I think Spring 2023 has been a huge success, and while I know I have a lot of work to do to continue making this class and program of value to the community, I believe this cohort of students is so incredibly talented and will go on to do great things in life. I only hope to be able to keep in touch with them over the years so I can continue celebrating their achievements.
Now here’s the question that I’d like students to answer in the comments section…
What is the one thing you learned from that class that you’ll take with you to the next stage of your career and/or education?