I've certainly been slow blogging this month, and I'm using the "new baby" excuse :) Not entirely true, but I'm catching up with things at work and the on-going projects we have.
The UofArizona MIS 300 course is going well. We're about a month into the semester and the enrollment has been at 37 students. It's larger than we expected but not unmanageable. Per my previous post, this course is on preparing students for roles in community management. We certainly have hands-on work with social software tools, but the overall goal is more around designing and planning your community, how to keep it growing, how to market and measure it.
The course is also about cooperation, communication, and leadership, so there are other in-class exercises when the Junior level undergrads have to do activities like presentations, pair tasks, group tasks and of course the final project of building a community of other real students and helping to train their community. It helps also to make it fun.
The hopeful outcome is a base level of understanding where they can go into a new entry level position as community manager for a company. Since these roles are still quite varied and evolving, there would be a lot of learning on the job that still needs to happen, but at least they will understand the basics and the personality aspects required of them.
My other hope is that we can reach out to other companies who are looking for such people for coops or internships with these skills.
This week we've started everyone on blogging. They each have to post several times a week on Wordpress accounts and connect with other bloggers, and continue doing so for the rest of the semester. This will likely be trivial for some but not for others. It takes a bit of motivation to blog on such regular frequency and that depends upon the people. Hopefully later this year, I'll demo some of this. This is so they understand what they are asking of a potential blogging community, learn the components of blogs, and experience the issues themselves.
They will also go through assignments to collaborate on a wiki, create their own podcast or videocast, and so on, all the let them become familiar with these from a users perspective.
MIS 300 Managing online communities going well