USDLA Board Member
Associate Dean, Online Higher Education Andrews University
Department of Digital Learning and Instructional Technology
As a social media online instructor myself, I was thrilled to learn about USDLA 2017 Award Winner Kinda Wilson, online social media instructor. Her creative work is an inspiration to any online teacher!
Professor Kinda Wilson has been teaching various marketing courses for the Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business for 12 years. Kinda is popular with students because they notice and appreciate her sincere desire for and efforts toward their success. Besides her work in the classroom, Kinda has published two books, is an entrepreneur, and is a popular public speaker. She has worked as a marketing consultant as well as a PR and Marketing Director.
Kinda began teaching the online version of her 8-week Social Media Strategy course in Fall 2016. The overall learning goal of the course is, “At the end of the course, students should have gained both a theoretical knowledge of social media and a skill set of tactics with which to market a company, person, or organization on social media.” The students learn how to post strategically on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. The online course currently has around 35 students in the online section. The course is delivered via OSU’s system-wide LMS, Brightspace by D2L.
Kinda has a variety of best practices included in her online course, but let’s look at what I consider to be the top five excellent strategies she uses:
Professor Wilson is very perceptive of her learners’ needs. For example, while most of her students come to her class with a basic knowledge of the social media platforms used in her class, some do not. Kinda does not leave anyone behind. She chunks her instructional videos into short, one-topic videos, so that students who need to re-watch how to use a particular platform, such as Instagram, can easily find and review the step-by step-step instructions. A current student emailed Kinda about the course organization, “Thank you so much for your videos on Brightspace and the emails! I have never felt successful at online classes because I usually feel lost. I have felt in control of this class and have learned so much thanks to the organization of it!”
2. Being Personal: Creative Videos
Often in online courses, one feels disconnected from the teacher and other people. Kinda, however, jumps through the screen! You immediately feel like you’re getting to know her, her enthusiastic personality, and her creativity. For example, look at this video lecture about Developing a Buyer Persona. Marketing personas may be a topic undergraduate students struggle with, but she literally brings the concept to life. Kinda came up with the innovative idea of having the persona appear as a person, rather than just Kinda’s being a head talking about an abstract concept.
See how this Week 1 intro video makes you feel. Look at the extra touches that make it special: the call outs, using her hand to count off the five items, even emphasizing five items!
3. Video Content Engagement
Aren’t 60 minute lecture videos the worst?! Lecture videos can be the bane of online learning. But look at the best practices in one of Kinda’s online lectures:
- Around 10 minutes long or shorter
- Opportunities for students to engage and write something down (see about 1:23 on)
- Talking to the students as if they are right in front of you
4. Real-World Application
Kinda maintains eight sets of social media accounts for the groups in her course. Each fictional “company” has an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest account. The students “take over” the social media accounts of the company at the beginning of the course, and then make a video giving advice on what they learned to the future students who will be in charge of those accounts. In these videos and others where the students talk about what they learned during the course of their group social media project, students demonstrate their use of inductive reasoning to determine why some social media posts worked and others didn’t based on their observations of evidence such as post likes and shares.
Several of Professor Wilson’s students commented that they could immediately apply what they were learning in class in their own businesses or jobs. One of her Fall 2016 students provided insight into her focus on real-world success:
I loved the Social Media week assignment as it prepared you for a real life Social Media position. You have timed and scheduled posts you must prepare for review. It was like working in a corporate environment and extremely beneficial for those who want to pursue a career in with a social media position.
5. Humor and Storytelling
While humor is a tried-and-true classroom engagement methods, it’s not often seen in online courses and makes a huge difference when it’s natural throughout the course. “Her sense of humor really cannot be matched. She is funny in every video, and approachable via email and Brightspace, but still maintained a professional demeanor and delivered TONS of knowledge,” stated one of her students. It’s clear from the video clips of her speaking that she is a master storyteller!
Meet Kinda Wilson
If you’d like to learn more about Kinda Wilson, visit her websites:
- Her book, The Echo Factor