What Happens in a Simpson College C&G Class? COMM 315

It’s 10:45 p.m. Faith’s head falls back onto her pillow and she is just about to drift to sleep when she awakes with a jerk, “Oh no! I forgot my last tweet!”

Normally, Twitter shouldn’t keep you up at night. However, Faith is a student in Communications 315: Mobile & Social Media in the Simpson College Continuing & Graduate Program. Public relations and multimedia journalism students fill this upper level communications class to build their own professional social media brand. Students choose a topic for the term, ranging from photography and personal style to domestic violence advocacy and state level politics.

Taught by Dr. Brian Steffen, Simpson College professor of Multimedia Communication, in this workshop environment students create and distribute content about their brand on their own website, professional Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat and YouTube sites. In addition, students examine the methodology and ethics of 21st century journalism and, according to Steffen, work, “to apply the core values of media communication to emerging media forms in productive, innovative, and intelligent ways.”

Three Tweets a Day

The forgotten tweet, which so rudely awakened Faith, occurred from the course requirement that students post about their brand on these social media platforms multiple times a week, and Twitter three times a day, for the length of the term. While this seems a daunting task, it is vital in order for students to embrace new media. As Steffen enjoys pointing out, a modern journalism student avoiding social media is akin to a medical student saying, “I want to be a surgeon, but the sight of blood grosses me out.”

Power Tools

The takeaway for students is that they build a portfolio of work which clearly highlights the skills and tools necessary to promote a business, event or the latest news cycle. Public relations major, Sarah Wood, came to this class with a lifetime of travel experiences and photos, but apprehension about using social media. She says, “I’ve always wanted to blog about my travels; through this class this dream can come to fruition. Professor Steffen opened my eyes to the ease and usability of different platforms and they are now second nature.”

It’s just another night of class in Simpson College C&G.

(photo credit: Andrea Biklen)