I am surprised there were not more comments/response to Larissa Fair’s insightful post, The Importance of Teaching, Learning and Listening, yesterday on The Buzz Bin. Larissa stresses the need to continue teaching, learning and engaging others in social media by counseling others about active listening, collaboration and networking. She asks,
“If you were going to teach a course on social media, what would the main subject be? Would it be a general skills and tools overview? Ethics? Professional vs. personal use? Collaboration and conversation?”
As an adjunct marcom professor at Northwood University, I have incorporated social media teaching into ALL of my course curriculum. I do not have a course dedicated to social media and I think this works out better in the long run. Social media is not the be-all, end-all approach. Teaching an integrated approach while students are actively using the tools in a sandbox space eases students into this new territory. (Keep in mind, the majority of my students are preparing for their second career and not fresh out of high school thinking they already own this space.) Two themes are threaded into each lesson: ethics and experience.
We take for granted people know what is right from wrong. For goodness sake, even I am challenged at times to understand because very seldom is anything black and white. An informal teaching environment where we can banter and sort through difficult issues is essential.
Identifying experience is not natural to most people. Such exploration is required in traditional and new media but often overlooked. Research and evaluation of “experience” is often a large chunk of my curriculum and delves into active listening, sociology and psychology. I thoroughly enjoyed Liz Strauss’s recent post as she asks, “What if we listened to each other like we listen to the rain?” Liz does a fantastic job of bypassing the normal and often regurgitated social media 101 to understand and work in the social media landscape.
All of us are teachers in the social media space. Never forget this. Your actions reverberate through the landscape like a sound wave.