So one of the main things that I did over the summer was co-teach the wonderful Social Media Driving Licence with my colleagues Andy and Ange. The main premise for the course was to teach and empower members of staff across Cambridge Judge Business School in their social media endeavours. We had a whole range of folk take part, from members of faculty to the head of HR, as well as course administrators and external affairs staff.
We ran a very packed programme over the course of eight weeks (end of May to mid July) and it was a lot of work, both for us as teachers but for those taking part as well.
A quick run-down of what we did looks something a bit like this:
Week 1: Framing the Licence
Week 2: Blogging: getting the word out
Week 3: Twitter: come fly with us
Week 4: Tweet-a-thon
Week 5: Twitter tools: curation, control and reach
Week 6: Google: more than just a search engine
Week 7: Sharing and caring: tools and citizenship
Week 8: Evaluating the Licence… with LEGO Serious Play
Underpinning the course was blogging, which was inspired by the excellent 23 Things programme that has run twice in Cambridge. Blogging allowed for participants to not only get used to using one social media platform (WordPress) but it also encouraged them to reflect and comment on their own learning experiences. Part of the assessment element of the course was to complete certain activities and write about them, which meant lots of reading spreadsheet-filling-in for Andy, Ange and me. However, because everyone was so engaged and were having fun with the course, reading what everyone was writing became less of a course administration-esque task, but more of a exciting look to see how everyone was progressing.
While Andy, Ange and I all put the course content together as a team, we each took the lead on certain weeks and I took charge of blogging and the sharing-and-caring week. I found that by doing the research and then turning that research into teaching people who had sometimes never used certain aspects of social media before, I learned a huge amount. I also got a lot from people asking me questions and challenging me on certain points. It was a great learning experience all round. My personal highlight was having a chance to talk about good internet citizenship during a great podcast interview with Andy.
Unfortunately, even though I was there to help and support throughout most of the course, summer holidays loomed (I’d booked them ages in advance) so I missed out on the last week of the SMDL and I also missed the final awards ceremony for everyone that passed which made me sad. Andy and Ange are trained LEGO Serious Play facilitators, and so they put their skills to good use and used LEGO to evaluate the course with the participants. The pictures and tweets that came out of the session were brilliant and I highly recommend reading some of the participant’s blog posts about the session as they are incredibly illuminating.
The whole course has been made available through Creative Commons so there is no excuse not to reuse all of our hard work and put it into practice in your own institutions. You can go big like we did, or go small and train your immediate teams or even do some self-training.
We created blogs, YouTube videos, lots of slides, handouts, and podcasts, all of which we did for free. We had practically no budget apart from a small bit of money for refreshments and the final award ceremony. We used free tools and really tested ourselves with thinking creatively around teaching problems and pushing our own limits when it came to creating new and exciting content. I’m pretty darn proud of us all actually as we all ran a successful course that got heaps of positive feedback from the participants.
Most importantly, we’ve seen participants taking on what they’ve learned into their working lives and doing stuff really well which is not only because we taught them well but more that they had the right attitude and embraced what we were trying to communicate to them fully.
We’ve been asked if we’re going to repeat the course and part of me remembers how much insane work went on behind the scenes to get it all ready, and part of me also remembers that moment when someone finally got what they were trying to do with Twitter and really felt happy with social media after months of trepdation. Will we repeat the course? We’ll see.
However, the course has inspired us to run a series of Twitter-focused training sessions for CJBS folk called Tweets ‘n’ Eats where we give people a free lunch and get them started on Twitter. We’re still planning the content but it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun for everyone involved.
Librarians and social media don’t traditionally go hand-in-hand but I really think they should. Social media is a part of the information world and by placing ourselves as experts and facilitators, we can offer a huge range of services to our users by using social media well and helping them do the same.
Image credit: Jason Howie via Flickr