Twitter (@LUsocialmedia or @ericasmith) or the class Facebook group are the best ways to contact me. I will respond within 48 hours — usually much sooner. (Classmates also may be able to answer questions posted to the Facebook group faster than I can.)
Social media has, and continues to, change media, journalism, marketing and communication. We expect to be able to instantly and easily share the things that are important to us. Social media influences what stories we read, what cat videos we watch, what products we buy, what conversations we have, and how we celebrate St. Louis Cardinals wins.
This course will give future media and communications professionals the tools and experience to successfully utilize social media for strategic endeavors. (Prerequisite: COM13000, COM13500, COM 12300 or COM14000)
At the end of this course, students will:
- Know how to effectively communicate specific messages via social media.
- Be able to connect with an audience in new ways.
- Understand how to make content and interaction work.
- Know how to publish real-time updates and engage with a community.
- Know how to reach a wider audience with their content.
- Understand how to professionally manage the top social media platforms, and how to engage audiences, drive traffic and market a product or organization with each platform.
- Know how to use the power of social media to create meaningful content.
- Build a personal social presence, making them more marketable to future employers.
Personal tweeting: Students will be required to update their personal, public Twitter account at least twice a day every day of the semester (including weekends), except during spring break and finals week. At least one tweet per day must be a retweet or mention. At least one tweet per day must include a link. At least one tweet per day must include a hashtag; the class hashtag is #LUsocial.
Twitter self-evaluations: Students will turn in 12 Twitter self-evaluations throughout the semester. Evaluations will be written using Storify and submitted electronically by 8 a.m. each Monday starting Feb. 11. For full credit on each self-evaluation, students must:
- Identify three tweets that received the most response in the past week, including insight about what made each tweet strong.
- Identify three tweets that received the least or no response, including insight about why they did not receive a response.
- Identify new followers, and what may have prompted them to follow.
- Identify new accounts they have followed and why.
- Detail what they did well in the week, and what they want to do to try to improve in the coming week.
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation count in all content students create.
Personal blogging: Students will be required to update their personal, public Tumblr account at least twice a week every week of the semester except during spring break and finals week. At least one post per week must include an external link (either as a link or video post, or within a text post). At least one post per week must be a reblog.
Social links: Students will share at least one link to a social media article, video or graphic on the class Facebook group each week except during spring break and finals weeks. In addition, students will comment each week (except during spring break and finals week) on at least two links or other class discussions or queries a classmate or the instructor has shared with the group. Articles should not be more than three months old; articles and comments are due 8 a.m. each Monday.
Case studies: During the semester, students will create eight social network case studies: One each for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, Foursquare and LinkedIn. Case studies will be written using Storify and will be due as outlined in the course schedule. For full credit on each case study, students must:
- Follow a news source, a brand, a celebrity and a college student for 48 hours. Record how many followers or fans each has, and the number of posts each shares. (A student cannot use the same source(s) for more than one case study.)
- Identify the type of posts each user generally shared, whether posts were professional or personal in nature, and anything especially noteworthy.
- Identify which shared links were followed and why.
- Identify differences between the four sources, including style, content and volume.
- Share any surprises in their findings.
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation count in content students create.
Additional assignments and quizzes: Throughout the semester, there will be at least 20 other assignments or quizzes. Some assignments will be completed during class, and some will be completed outside of class. Assignments include, but are not limited to:
- Social media use survey: http://bit.ly/LUSMS
- Personal strategies for Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google+
- Social media influence evaluations
- Live coverage of an event
- Crowdsourcing project
- Digital resume
Social strategy for a local nonprofit: Students will create a social media strategy and communication plan for a local nonprofit. The plan will be created for a real organization; students will not be working for, posting for or writing for that organization. Each plan will include:
- Background and analysis of the organization and its current social media use.
- Identification and analysis of the organization’s competitors.
- A creative brief, with long- and short-term goals that the plan will work toward or meet.
- Audience profile(s).
- A communication plan, including specifics on how each social media network will be used.
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation count in content students create.
Total possible points: 1,000
- Personal tweeting: 70 points (5 all-or-nothing points each week)
- Twitter self-evaluations: 120 points (10 points each)
- Personal blogging: 110 points (10 points each)
- Sharing and commenting on social media news links: 70 points (5 all-or-nothing points each week)
- Case studies: 160 points (20 points each)
- Assignments and quizzes: 170 points
- Social strategy for a local nonprofit (final project): 300 points
There is no required textbook, but students will be required to take part in discussions on the Facebook group page and in class. Students will be given web-based reading assignments. Some assignments will require the use of a smartphone with either Apple iOS or Google Android operating system. Students who do not own a smartphone will have to borrow one from a friend for those assignments.
Media is a deadline-oriented profession. Late work will not be accepted.
ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION
Students will not be rewarded for attendance, but students’ ability to attend and appropriately prepare for class will be reflected in grades and performance. Reasonable, documented absences and university-related commitments will be “excused” when students seek permission ahead of time. (Lindenwood University does require instructors to report attendance for each class, and collect student signatures during the first few weeks of the semester.)
Students are expected to actively participate in social media outside of class time.
ETHICS AND HONESTY
Academic dishonesty and breaching journalist ethics are serious offenses. Plagiarism, cheating and lying will not be tolerated.
Academic dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is an exceptionally serious offense to oneself and one’s colleagues. The fabric of a learning community is woven by a bond of trust: the work to which we affix our names is our own. To act otherwise is to undermine the contract of good faith on which productive study and the open exchange of ideas is based. Therefore, students wishing to maintain formal membership in a learning community must display the high level of integrity expected of all its members. According to Lindenwood University’s academic honesty policy, names of students found guilty of cheating, plagiarism, or deception will be sent to the associate provost. A first offense of academic dishonesty may result in a lessened or failing grade on the work/test or failure in the course. A second offense will lead to academic probation and failure of the class, and a third offense will result in expulsion from the university. Any questions concerning this policy should be directed to the associate provost.
Cheating: Cheating shall be defined by Lindenwood University as “disseminating or receiving answers, data or other information by any means other than those expressly permitted by the instructor. Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Copying answers, data, or other information (or allowing others to copy) during an examination, quiz, or laboratory experiment or on homework or any other academic exercise.
- Assuming another individual’s identity or allowing another person to do so on one’s own behalf for the purpose of fulfilling any academic requirement or in any way enhancing the student’s grade or academic standing.
- Using any device, implement, or other form of study aid during an examination, quiz, laboratory experiment, or any other academic exercise without the faculty member’s permission.”
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is “the presentation of someone else’s ideas or words as your own. Whether deliberate or accidental, plagiarism is a serious offense.” Each of the following is a type of plagiarism and must be avoided in all academic work:
- Copying directly from a source without quotations and source citation;
- Paraphrasing or summarizing another’s idea without attribution;
- Changing a sentence’s structure but copying words;
- Changing a sentence’s words but copying its basic structure;
- Using audio, video or other media sources without acknowledgement;
- Submitting a paper written by another student and claiming it as your own;
- Using information obtained through interviewing an expert on the subject without attribution;
- Purchasing or downloading a paper from another source and claiming it as your own;
- Collaborating excessively on an essay with another person;
- Submitting an essay that was previously written for another class without the consent of both professors.
Lying and deception: Deception, in either written or oral form, directed at university personnel by a student for the purpose of improving his or her own academic or financial standing or that of another student is subject to disciplinary action as part of the Lindenwood University Academic Integrity policy.
Students with a disability that requires reasonable accommodations for participation in this course should contact Jared Conner, student support and accessibility coordinator, at 636-949-4510 or email@example.com. Students need to notify the instructor during the first week of class so she can make reasonable accommodations to ensure disabled students have a fair opportunity to perform at their potential. Students are responsible for providing the instructor with a Campus Accessibility Faculty Notification Form specifying classroom accommodations; academic advisors can help with this process.
It is the intent of Lindenwood University that all members of the university community comply with the provisions of the United States copyright law. This copyright policy serves to uphold the university’s commitment to protecting the principles of intellectual property, as well as protecting the rights of its faculty to make appropriate use of copyrighted works for acceptable educational purposes. This policy applies to all University faculty, staff, and students who wish to make use of copyrighted works, whether in print, electronic, or other form. Implicit in this policy is the Fair Use Act, which applies across the board to uses in the traditional classroom environment, and the TEACH Act, which is an exception to the Fair Use Act for distance learning.
Students may not distribute copies of copyrighted materials to other students. This includes such things as presentations, handouts, podcasts, etc.
Students are responsible for all information received in class, whether present (or with an excused absence) or not. This syllabus is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion to accomplish the course objectives.