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Successful Social Media Journalism Course Has Plans for Expansion

This semester's Social Media Journalism course, offered in conjunction with a course at the University of Texas at Austin, has proven to be a successful example of the potential of the massive open online course, or MOOC.

The course, taught by Prof. Avery Holton, was offered for the first time here at the University of Utah, but has been available to UT-Austin students for the last six semesters. It offers students a chance to collaborate with classmates both here in Utah and more than 1,300 miles away in Austin.

Jointly, the students in both classes worked as "social media editors" for four different sections of the Social News Network, working on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and several other social media platforms to aggregate news relevant to their peers and engage with the community.

Students in the University of Utah section of the course had tremendous success over the nearly four months of the course, as evidenced by the following number:

  • Nearly 600% growth on Twitter
  • Nearly 600% growth on Tumblr
  • Nearly 500% growth on Pinterest
  • Nearly 350% growth on Facebook
  • More than 13,000 collective posts produced an organic audience of approximately 1.2 million
  • More than 5,000 of these posts received an engagement from a unique user, providing a direct reach of nearly 245,000

The course was featured by PBS Mediashift earlier this semester, and at the International Symposium for Online Journalism earlier this month. As a result, two more universities will be joining the U and UT-Austin in offering the collaborative course next year.

For more on the course, check out "Turning a MOOC Into a Network of Schools Collaborating" on PBS Mediashift.

Last Updated: 9/20/21