The Twitter Class: Social Media in the Community College

Community College Students Learn to Use Twitter

Community Colleges Prepare Graduates for Jobs in Today’s Market

At Jefferson Davis Community College, I teach a special topics class called Social Media 101. One of the instructors in my division (also a very close friend) refers to my class as the Twitter class. Others wonder why we are teaching a class about Facebook and Twitter when it seems that students are always on Facebook or tweeting.

Social media skills are in demand. These skills involve much more than a Facebook profile or a twitter account.

Community colleges realize it is important to offer classes in social media. These classes offer students an opportunity to develop the strong social media skills in demand today. Social media skills should not be ignored. Strong Social media skills can help to strengthen chances of getting a good job in today’s job market.

Large companies like Dell have trained over 6,000 of their employees in the use of social media. But most small businesses are looking to hire employees who already have these skills.

Understanding how to effectively use social networking is now considered a basic skill. Mastery of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs, and Google+ are pretty much mandatory for many businesses.

People want to learn social media, but they feel overwhelmed.  They may think it is too late to jump on board.  Community colleges are in the best position to prepare students for today’s workplace.Community colleges keep classes small so they are able to give individualized instruction to students. Some classes in social media are offered online through the community college.

In the social media class at JDCC, we cover the major social media platforms. We begin with Twitter.  Students set up a twitter account the first week of class and interact with the instructor, students, and the content throughout the semester.

What is Twitter?

Let’s first look at Twitter’s home page for a definition:

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting.  Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations.

Twitter has been around since 2006 and has grown rapidly worldwide with over 140 million active users according to Wikipedia.

  • Twitter is a microblogging tool made up of Tweets. Tweets are spurts of information no longer than 140 characters including spacing and punctuation.

Tweeting is easy and fun.

Tweeting is easy and fun.

Why Should Community College students learn to Tweet?

Six Reasons to Consider:

1.    Twitter makes it possible for community college students to connect instantly with family members and friends. It is a fun way to let your family members know what you are doing and to keep up with them. You can get these updates via your cell phone.

2.    Twitter is a convenient method for community college students to stay engaged with their academics and with other students.

3.    Twitter is a great way to make new friends who share your same interests. Community college students have an opportunity to follow interesting people that they would not have met otherwise.

4.    Community college students should learn to use Twitter to prepare them for their future careers. Twitter allows businesses, both large and small, the ability to engage with customers. Many employers are looking for people who can help them with social media tasks.

5.    Twitter makes it possible for community college students to connect with people around the world.  Twitter is in almost every country around the world and is available in more than 20 languages.

  1. Twitter is a great tool to rally people around a cause.

Learn more about Twitter here

Precautions to Consider

  •   Just like on Facebook and other forms of social media, it is probably not a good idea to say you and your family are leaving for Gulf Shores for the week.
  •   The world is full of lunatics and many of them are on social media such as Twitter. So use common sense. Do not post too much private information.
  •   Don’t post anything you would not want others to read on a billboard unless it is a direct message. And even then be careful because others could retweet your message that you  considered to be private.

How Do I Get Started?

Go to Twitter and open your free account.

Follow these tips:

  1. If possible, use your real name for your username. This is how you will be known on Twitter.
  2. Michael Hyatt recommends using initial caps and in-word caps so that your username will be more readable and memorable. For example, CarolHBates not carolhbates.
  3. Once you click Create My Account, you’re ready. Twitter will offer some suggestions for popular people to follow. You may want to skip this step for now. Twitter will also give you the opportunity to search your contacts for people who are already on Twitter. This will not be helpful to you unless you use one of the supported services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL.
  4. Tweak your Settings. From the Home Page on the right hand side choose Settings.
    • Choose the correct Time Zone.
    • If you choose “Protect My Tweets” your tweets will only be viewed by those you approve. Your tweets will not be seen publicly. I suggest that you do not choose this option because you will limit your influence and limit the value you receive from Twitter.
    • Upload a Profile picture (Profile Tab). We will discuss more about your Profile picture later. For now, include the best shot you have of yourself. You do not want to be an “egg head” which is the default picture assigned to those with no picture. Note: Your picture must be 750k or less.
    • Make sure to complete the Profile description. We will give more thought to your Profile later. For now, complete your description in 160 characters or less.
    • Connect your Twitter account to your website or blog if you have one. You can also connect to your Facebook account. This will post all your Tweets to your Facebook account, but is generally not recommended. You can always go back and change later.
    • When you are finished, be sure to save.
    • Choose the Settings link.
      • Click on the Mobile tab. Enter your phone number and click on the Start button.
      • From you cell phone, you can Tweet using SMS (text messages). I had been on Twitter for some time before I learned to use this feature. Text message the code Twitter gives you to 40404. You will receive a confirmation notice from Twitter that your device is registered.
      • If you have an iphone, you can set up your Twitter in the Preferences. This gives you the ability to Tweet from within many iphone applications.

4 Social Media Acronyms used in Discussing Social Media Strategies in Education: UGC, SNS, SNM, and DSNM.

Microsoft Office Photo: Instructor using Chalk Board

There are a few innovative educators who are using social media in education, but overall the concept is still new. Many instructors still prefer the traditional methods such as the chalk board and overhead projector.

Many community college are in the process of developing a social media plan. As an instructor, I am most concerned with using social media to help improve student learning outcomes.

As we begin to develop our social media plan at Jefferson Davis Community College ( JDCC), there are unfamiliar acronyms being tossed around in the discussion. These terms include but are not limed to 1) UGC, 2) SNS, 3) SNM and 4) DSNM.

This blog is trying to help define these acronyms for instructors who are new to the social media discussion. The definitions are not all-inclusive.  The definitions give a framework for beginning the discussion about the development and implementation of the social media plan at JDCC.

1.      UGC – User Generated Content 

User generated content is not a new concept. Students have been creating PowerPoint presentations, reports, projects, papers , and portfolios. Many faculty use Learning Management Systems (LMSs) such as Blackboard as a digital drop box to store this content. LMSs are self-contained and students typically only login to these systems when they “have to.”

Students preferred means of communication is social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, and Google+. Why not use these powerful social media tools to engage students in day-to-day instruction?

This is the idea behind UGC.

It is the episodic and systematic collection of content across many social media platforms. The data must be organized in meaningful ways so that results may be used to improve student learning outcomes.

2. SNS – Social Networking Sites

SNSs offer a virtual space for conversations and content sharing. The most popular SNSs are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+,  and YouTube.

How can educators use these virtual spaces to create engaging communities for sharing? How can the data be used to improve student learning outcomes?

I teach a social media class this semester at JDCC. In the first week of class students are required to open a Twitter account and begin to interact with students in the class. Five tweets from this class are listed below. I have placed comments in brackets on how this information could be used to improve student learning outcomes.

Example Tweet # 1I am having trouble viewing the video for week two. I have tried different platforms, google, firefox etc. none work….[obviously this tweet was used to make a correction that could impact student learning outcomes. If the students couldn’t view the video, they were missing an important part of the instruction. When this tweet came across my Twitter stream, I made the correction immediately.]

Example Tweet #2The presentation is easy to understand rather than the textbook. The presentation helped me to get a better understanding of the chapter. [This Twitter comment let me know that students were benefiting from the PowerPoint presentation.]

Example Tweet #3@erinprotect aren’t you a Phi Theta Kappa member too! [This tweet is an example of how students engage with each other. These two students would probably not have met in this online class without Twitter. Research shows that student engagement has an impact on student success.]

Example Tweet #4Our quiz says slag instead of slang on Blackboard—but it doesn’t effect the answer. [My first reaction was concern that students were discussing the quiz. But don’t they do this anyway? This tweet is another example of how students engage with each other using Twitter and help each other with their school assignments.]

Example Tweet #4 – I love this class because we can Tweet. [Using Twitter is much more natural to students than LMSs. They will engage with each other and the instructor. They feel free to ask both the instructor and each other questions.]

3. SNM – Social Network Management

The SNM team is responsible for the overall social media plan. This team is usually made up of someone from the marketing department, enrollment and retention, instruction, and technology and information services.

While allowing the different departments of the college to take responsibility, the SNM team provides the resources and support necessary for the social media plan to be a success. The SNM team provides oversight but does not stifle the creativity or flexibility of the different departments.

4. DSNM – Department/Division Social Network Management

This is the team that will develop and implement best practices for SNS and UGC usage and expectations.  This is the team that will encourage the use of social media and UGC at all levels.

This team will recommend training material to be developed by IT.

The team is expected to review their outcomes each semester and make adjustments to the plan based on the results.

You may also want to read:

Jefferson Davis Community College, Social Media Project (Anthony Hardy).

Edmonds Community College, Participate in Social Media

Central Piedmont Community College, Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

Integrating social media into a marketing strategy (Kyle Schwarm)

Social Media Standards, A Guide to Lane’s Participation in Social Media

Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices, University of Colorado

Social Media Best Practices and Recommendations, The University of Alabama

Best Practices for Social Media, College of Agriculture, Auburn University



How to Develop Social Media Success in the Community College: Quality, Quanity, & Variety

News Flash

As a community college instructor relatively new to social media, I am beginning to wonder if my blogging is making a difference. Should I continue to blog,  or should I leave the blogging to the big guys like the Chronicle of Higher Education and Community College Review?

News flash to new bloggers: Google will not automatically start sending traffic to your blog. If you build it, they will not automatically come.

I have determined to press on and continue to establish myself as a legitimate content provider to community college instructors and students who seek to learn more about social media.

Lewis DVorkin, writer for Forbes, says that the secret to success with social media relies on three tactics:

  1. Quality
  2. Quantity
  3. Variety

Yet these three tactics, at least in my experience, seem to be at odds with each other. How do you write quality posts if your focus is on quantity of posts? And how can you be knowledgeable about a variety of topics? Would it be better to focus on a narrow subject?

Marcello Arrambide recommends focusing on quality first.

As you begin to blog and focus on quality you begin to build a small following and set yourself up as an authority in your niche. Once you establish yourself as a legitimate content provider in your area of expertise, you will attract people to your blog.

Then Google will begin to send traffic to your site.

This is known as growing your following organically. In other words, you focus on drawing people to your site because of the quality of your posts rather than focusing on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics.

Once you have a group of followers and have begun to establish yourself as an expert in your field, you begin to focus on quantity.

Google will begin to notice you once you have a following of some size. (Not exactly sure what makes up “some size”)

Until you have generated some traffic, Google will not pay you much attention. I can personally vouch for this.

So then how do you get people to visit your site?

StumbleUpon and Reddit are recommended ways to get traffic to your site.

These two sites have the capability of sending a surge of new visitors to your web site. Once this happens, you will begin to be noticed by Google. Getting a surge of visitors to your site helps to establish your blog as legitimate.

Again, it gets back to quality, quantity, and variety.

You must give your visitors good quality and variety in order to build the type of people who visit your blog. If you consistently provide quality, quantity, and variety, you will develop friends who will come back to your blog. If you say the same thing over and over again, your friends will soon tire of reading your blogs.

It is not only important that you have quality content on your blog, it is also important that you attract quality visitors to your blog. But you have to start with a consistent flow of traffic. At this point, all traffic to your blog is good.

In summary, focus on quality first. Then quantity of visitors. Provide variety.

Once you have a surge of visitors to your site, Google should start to recognize you as an authority and start sending more traffic to your site.

Once this happen, you are ready to focus on the quality of your visitors.

I would appreciate any comments from instructors or students who are using social media in the community college. How have you developed a following? How did you get the attention of Google and other search engines?

You may also be interested in reading:

Inside Forbes: How a Social Media Strategy Can Work for a Magazine, Too (Lewis DVorkin)

Inside Forbes: Quality + Quantity + Variety = 30 Million Users (Lewis DVorkin)

A Blog Traffic Strategy: Quality vs Quantity (Marcello Arrambide)

Won’t You Hangout with Me? How to Plan and Start a Google Hangout.

Want you hangout with me: using Google+ Hangout in Education

Hangout Demonstration for Fall Faculty Inservice

Jefferson Davis Community College 


After completing this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. Define Google Hangouts
  2. Explain what you need to conduct a hangout
  3. Discuss four basic educational  benefits  of Google Hangouts
  4. Identify the differences among Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts
  5. Explain how to plan a Google Hangout for a classroom project,  demonstration, or discussion
  6. Explain how to start a Google Hangout
  7. Discuss security concerns related to students
  8. Examine ways of overcoming fear of using new technology
Ideas adapted from What the Plus (Guy Kawasaki) 

What is a Hangout?

Google provides free video conferencing called a “hangout.” Up to 9 students can join the instructor in a hangout (total of 10 people in hangout).

Google provides the capabilities for educators to create a virtual space where they can share PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, charts, graphs, and other documents. Students can collaborate on group projects  and share documents.

Hangouts provide the instructor with multiple ways to accommodate the varied learning styles of students. Hangouts offer a means of extending the classroom beyond the classroom walls. Hangouts are also a wonderful opportunity to invite experts from around the world to connect with your students.

What do students need to participate in a hangout?

You don’t need much to conduct a hangout. All you need is a computer with high speed internet and a web camera and microphone. Web cams are priced anywhere from  $10 to about $80. The inexpensive web cams will work fine for classroom purposes.

4 basic educational benefits of hangouts

  1. Students can collaborate on class projects. As you know, many community college students have jobs and families. They do not have a lot of extra time to be hanging around campus to work on group projects. Google hangouts provide an inexpensive and effective means for students to work together on projects.
  2. Online classes can be enhanced through the use of hangouts. Students in online classes can feel isolated. Students sometimes feel like they miss out on classroom discussions. Hangouts can simulate a classroom discussion. If you teach the equivalent class on campus, you could invite the online students to join the discussion with your on campus students through a hangout.
  3. While no more than 10 students can join the hangout at a time, you can choose the option to automatically upload the hangout to YouTube. Students who did not participate in the hangout can view the hangout (but not participate).
  4. Google Hangouts can also be beneficial to faculty and divisions. Division meetings could be conducted over hangouts saving valuable office time and travel money. Some committee meetings would work well over a Google Hangout. Interviews could be conducted over a hangout.

What are the differences among Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts?

Many people have said that the quality of the video is much better with Google Hangouts. The quality of the picture, however, is dependent on the student’s internet connection.

One of the major differences for our students is that the Google Hangout is bundled with students’ Google email accounts. So the students do not need a separate account. They are required to download a PlugIn the first time they use it, but it is very easy to do.

With Facetime, the student would be required to have an Apple Device (iPad,iPhoneiPod Touch, or Mac) and Wifi. Only two can connect at a time.

How do I plan a Google Hangout for a classroom project,  demonstration, or discussion?

Below are some ideas to help you plan a Google Hangout for your class. Keep in mind that the instructor does not always have to be the one to initiate the hangout. You can assign students to groups. Provide the guidelines to students and appoint one of the students to be in charge of initiating the hangout.

  • Designate one student to be the host and in charge of initiating the hangout and keeping everyone on topic.
  • Don’t go too long. Google does not set a time limit on hangouts. You should determine ahead of time how long the hangout should be. Don’t go over an hour.
  • Start by allowing all students to introduce themselves.
  • Encourage all students to participate.
  • Ask students to connect to the hangout 5 or 10 minutes ahead of the start time so that they can get their computers and cameras set up; make sure sound is working properly, etc.
  • Encourage students to look at the camera to make eye contact rather than looking at the other students on their screen.
  • Ask students who are not speaking to mute their speakers. Background noise can be distracting.

How do I start a Google Hangout?

  1. Hangouts are part of Google+. So first make sure that you have a Google+ account.
  2. Go to the stream on your Google+ page and click on Start a Hangout on the right hand side.

If this is the first time you have used a Hangout, you will be prompted to install a plugin. Follow the onscreen instructions. Google will congratulate you when you  have finished. Make sure your webcam is working properly. Webcams are very easy to set up.

3. If you use a headset with a microphone, it will improve the quality of your experience. However, it works fine without it.

4. If the hangout does not work properly, try closing out all programs, rebooting your computer, and try again.

5. Next, invite others to your hangout. Suggest that students add everyone in the class to a circle. You can invite entire circles or selected students to your hangout. To do so, type the student’s name, the name of a circle, or click one of the profile pictures of the people in your circles who are currently online.

6. The students you invite will see a post in their stream. They will also see a list of the people who are currently in the hangout.

Note: you can also start a hangout by clicking on  the camera above the comment section of a post.

 What are some of the security concerns with using hangouts with students?

There are always concerns with using the Internet in an educational setting. I am going to list a few concerns that I am aware of as far as students are concerned. Please feel free to add other concerns to the comment section of this blog.

  1. Know that even though you initiate and start the hangout, you don’t own it.
  2. Know that anybody can join the hangout. I have not had this problem so far. But you need to be aware that anyone could join and you would not be able to stop them.
  3. There is no way to kick anyone out of a hangout but you can leave a hangout when you get ready.
  4. You can block someone during a hangout, but it is my understanding that the person you block is not removed immediately. It takes a little time. When you block someone, you will not be able to see each other. The person you block will not be able to join another one of your hangouts, and you will not be able to join that person’s hangouts.
  5. If a person gets your link and wants to join, they can do so even though you did not invite them.

How do I overcome the fear of using this new technology?

One of the best ways to learn to use Google Hangout is to join other hangouts. Here are a few hangouts that I find interesting.

You may also be interested in reading:

What the Plus (Guy Kawasaki)

Social Media Class at JDCC: Students Building Strong Social Media Skills

Student in computer class at JDCC (used by permission).

Social Media Class at JDCC

In the social media class that I teach at Jefferson Davis Community College, students are learning how to use different social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook Pages, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and blogs.

This is an online class and students were required to communicate with me and other students in the class using social media tools. The primary mode of communication throughout the semester was Twitter. It was interesting responding to students’ questions in 140 characters or less. If the explanation required more than 140 characters, they were usually referred to a demonstration video. On a few occasions we relied on email.

Learning Management System – Blackboard

Class assignments were set up in Blackboard. Blackboard was used for class announcements and for recording grades.

Project Based

Students were required to read assignments and communicate with each other using Twitter. Students completed projects such as creating a Facebook Page and designing the cover using PowerPoint. Students learned to create a LinkedIn Profile. They learned the importance of building their professional network. Students learned to connect with people who shared their interests using Google+. Hangouts are a feature of Google+ that I hope to develop more in the next class.

Students have reported that they have enjoyed the class. There have been a few frustrating moments. Probably the most difficult for most students was setting up their first blog. But by the time they got to their first blog project, students felt comfortable asking for help from each other as they had been required to tweet each other throughout the semester.  Students had to move beyond the initial fear of writing and the fear of  everyone being able to see their writing assignments.

Probably the easiest and by far the most fun was Pinterest. There was some frustration when students discovered they had to receive an invitation before opening a Pinterest account. Students are learning how they can use Pinterest to drive traffic to their website and to engage customers.

Social Media Etiquette

Social media etiquette has been a big part of the class. Students are learning how to build a positive web presence that can be an asset to them when looking for the perfect job. They are developing strong social media skills that will be one more asset to help them find good jobs or help them to advance in their current jobs. Many varied jobs require strong social media skills. The class helps students to build a portfolio to show off their social media skills to potential employers.

Create Videos and Post to YouTube

At the end of the semester, students created videos and posted to YouTube. Students then posted their videos to their blogs and shared across multiple social media platforms.

Would you be Interested in Learning More about Social Media?

You may be interested in taking the social media class beginning August 13,2012, through Jefferson Davis Community College. I will teach the class both online and on campus. For more details about the class, check our webpage at Jefferson Davis Community College or give me at call at 251-809-1671.

I plan to share a few of my students’ video assignments on my website and other social media platforms.

Nora is one of the students in my social media class. Her video is entitled The Algebra Gift: Can You Guess What is in the Box? Check out her video below.

You may also be interested in reading:

The Algebra Gift (Nora Coxwell)

Why Social Media Should be Taught in the Community College (carolhbates)

The Role of Social Media in the Community College (Charles Davis III)

Muskegon Community College Social Media Class Article (Christopher VanOosterhout)

4 Examples of Using Social Media and the Olympics in the College Classroom: Increase Student Engagement by Adding Excitement to you Lesson Plans.

Are your students bored in your classroom this summer? Will you stick to your same old lesson plans?

College instructors have an opportunity to take advantage of the excitement over the next few weeks.

The Olympics games will officially begin this month.  The 2012 Olympics begin Friday, July 27, and conclude Sunday, Aug. 12. How can college instructors capitalize on the new social media tools to increase student engagement and improve retention during summer semester classes? One way is to involve students in the Olympics.

There will be opportunities as never before imagined to engage students in the Olympics in London through the use of powerful social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Some people are referring to the games as the  “Socialympics.”

While social media has been around for several past Olympics, the amount of people on social media has grown exponentially making it vastly bigger in scale and magnitude. Facebook had only 100 million users during the Beijing Games 4 years ago compared with 900 million users today. Twitter has grown from 6 million to 150 million.

Time reports that the IOC is planning life chats with athletes from the Olympic village allowing students the opportunity to pose questions using social media.

We are at a dawn of a new age of sharing and connecting, and London 2012 will ignite the first conversational Olympic Games, thanks to social media platforms and technology

Alex Huot, the IOC’s head of social media,

4 Examples for adapting your lesson plans to create excitement around social media and the Olympics.

  1. Have students share articles highlighting their favorite Olympic sports in Google+ or Facebook. Google+ is well-suited for sharing photos of the Olympics. Students add value to the photos by writing their own description. Students can comment on the posts of other students or reshare the posts of others.
  2. YouTube is an excellent resource for viewing and sharing videos. Videos of the triumphs and struggles of the Olympic athletes can lead into a discussion  on many topics such as goal setting, work ethic, and time management skills. Others topics of discussion might be eating disorders, aging, and balance.
  3. Google Hangouts are a way to connect up to 10 students at a time. Hangouts are very easy to learn. You only need an inexpensive webcam and microphone to connect to your computer. Hangouts can be used on the phone or iPad as well by downloading an app.  Students can share interesting videos about the Olympics and they can share their reactions with each other.
  4. Twitter is used the most by people following the Olympics. Students can practice writing skills be highlighting informative articles in 140 characters or less. Students can then attach an article to the tweet providing more information and engagement.

The official motto of the Olympics is swifter, higher, stronger.

Why not use this motto to motivate your students to develop the skills to achieve in their chosen career?

Students become bored with college during the summer months and wish they were taking off the summer like many of their friends. Engage your students by adding some excitement to your lesson plans.

You may also be interested in reading:

Social media’s role in Olympics grows with surge in users

What You Can Learn from Olympic Athletes (EMILY MAIN)

Google+ Hangouts

10 Questions for Dara Torres (Alice Park)   


Teaching Pinterest in the Community College Classroom?

Pinterest – My Board

What is Pinterist?

Pinterest is a Social Media Platform that is taking the social media world by storm.

Pinterest has over 4 million daily unique visitors as of March 2012.

Pinterest is Visual. People are Visual.

Pinterest is designed for easy browsing of beautiful photos.
These photos are categorized by pinning to a pin board.
It might be compared somewhat to digital scrapbooking on steroids.

What Do People Do on Pinterest?

Currently, the most popular category on Pinterest is Fashion & Design followed by Music Art & Memorabilia and Vineyards & Wine tourism.
Here are just a few more exciting ways people are using Pinterest.

  • Planning a vacation
  • Planning a wedding
  • Designing a dream home
  • Collecting and organizing recipes

Interesting Facts about Pinterest

  • Buyers referred to a website by Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy something than those referred by other social media platforms.
  • On average, buyers spend 10% more on Pinterest.
  • Pinterst is expected to account for 40% of all social media driven purchases.
  • Pinterest users have above average incomes. 21% make over $75,000 annually.
  • Overwhelmingly, the age of Pinterest users is between 25-54 years.
  • Women make up the majority (72% as of March 2012) of Pinterest users but men are increasingly joining the women on this new social media platform.

Can Pinterest Help Me Get a Job?

All of this is nice and interesting, but community college students want to know if Pinterest can be used to help them get a job or help them make a career change.

Pinterest is a social media platform that should not be overlooked when looking for a job or new career.

Pinterest can be used to give employers a better picture of who you are.
If you own your business, use Pinterest to help build your brand.

Create a Pin board entitled Looking for Career Opportunities or something similar. Pin items to your board that give employers a better idea of who you are as a person.


Interesting photos of yourself, your blog, or a video of you receiving an award, etc.

Reflect your best personal and employability skills.

You might also create a board entitled Companies I am interested in Working for or something similar.

Highlight some of the companies’ best content.

Be sure to follow the companies that you are interested in working for.
Repin and comment on their pins.

How Do I Get Started?

Currently, Pinterest is by invitation only.

You can get an invitation by asking one of your friends already on Pinterest to send you an email invitation.

You can also click the “Request an Invite” button on the Pinterest website.

Once you receive your invitation, click on the link you’ve been sent and you’ll be asked to sign in with either Twitter or Facebook. Signing in with Twitter or Facebook makes it easier for Pinterest to recommend people for you to follow.

You may also be interested in reading

3 Ways to Use Pinterest to Find a Job or Change Careers (Don Power)

Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless (Tony Clark)

56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest (Beth Hayden)

16 Ways Educators Can Use Pinterest [INFOGRAPHIC] (Stephanie Buck)

YouTube Can be Used to Encourage Students in Online Classes

It is uncommon for students to visit my office these days. Their primary means of communicating with me is through Twitter, Email, Facebook, or text.

This student taking an online class dropped by my office for help. I knew that he was not the only student frustrated with this particular project in Excel. He agreed to the short YouTube video.

By sharing his frustration in the online class, other students may not feel as if they are the only ones experiencing difficulty. The idea is that they will be encouraged to stay the course and seek help when needed.

Steps to Publish Your First Blog Using Blogger


I am teaching the first social media class at Jefferson Davis Community College. I am having a blast and my students are learning and teaching me more about social media.

Our Dean of Instruction, Kathleen Hall, believes in ongoing professional development, and she is taking the class to learn more about social media.

On one of our lessons, students learned how to publish their first blog. I recommended that they use either WordPress (my favorite) or Blogger for their first blog. Dean Hall chose to publish her first blog using Blogger.

She experienced a bit of a learning curve as we all do when learning something new. To save the students time and headaches, she wrote a blog to help the students with their first post.

For step-by-step instructions for writing your first blog, check out Dean Hall’s post


5 Effective Tips for Community College Students to Begin to Create a LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn Beginner’s Guide for Community College Students

1. Go to to open an account.
Caution: Students, do not give out social security number or credit card information.

2. Complete your Profile – according to LinkedIn website, you are 40 times more likely to receive results through LinkedIn if your Profile is complete.

What makes your profile complete?

  • Your industry and location
  • An up-to-date current position (with a description)
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • Your skills (minimum of 3)
  • A profile photo – this should be a professional headshot.
  • At least 50 connections (note: for our class, you will only be required to have 10 connections. You should continue to expand your network.)
  • A summary

It is important that your Profile is not only complete, but that it is also interesting. Your LinkedIn Profile is your first impression. Your Profile should emphasize your area of expertise.

Don’t have an area of expertise?

Many times community college students have not yet developed an area of expertise. Start developing your knowledge in a niche. Don’t wait until you complete your degree. Start now. Begin to read and blog about areas in your niche. Focus on what will set you apart from everyone else?

3. Connections – Unlike Twitter and Google+, on LinkedIn you should only connect with people you actually know. Don’t randomly accept invitations on LinkedIn. Make sure you know your connections.

You may also want to read 5 Ways to Develop Meaningful LinkedIn Connections (Stephanie Sammons)

4. Join Groups. Students should research groups in your chosen field and join groups on LinkedIn that interest you. Try to contribute to the group by responding to others and answering questions in your area of expertise. Make sure your do your homework and research the answers. Groups are a good way to create connections.

5. Participate in the Question and Answers section on the LinkedIn site. Ask thoughtful questions. Respond when you know the answers to questions posed in the Question and Answer section.

You may also want to read:

5 Tricks from a LinkedIn Jedi (Eric Markowitz)

How to Make Great Connections on LinkedIn (Marla Tabaka)

Do you have questions or comments?

Click on the link to the Comment Section of this blog to ask your questions or let us know about your experience with LinkedIn.

Thank you.

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