The Spring 2021 Special Topics class was divided into three modules, each taught by a different instructor.
The first module was Digital Content taught by Kyla. We began with content creation, specifically, writing for digital media. I learned how to go through the writing process, beginning with planning, then drafting, critiquing, and finally a finished draft. The book “Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose” by Nicole Fenton and Katie Kiefer Lee (nicelysaid.co), was invaluable as a guide and reference, especially with the many examples it included. The weekly discussions on Slack were also full of examples from classmates and lead to enlightening discussions. We created project briefs and content portfolios for our own ideas to put the lessons into practice. One thing in this project that particularly stood out for me was the peer review stage. It was a new experience to share and receive feedback (digital) face to face. As an introvert, I found it uncomfortable, but also saw the value in how it improved my final product.
The second module was a deep dive into social media and taught by Leah. This was divided into two sections, an online media strategy certification and an academic essay on a social media platform that we were not already familiar with. The social media strategy section was fairly straightforward for me because I already deal with a lot of the same topics in my career. However, the essay definitely challenged me, and there was a lot of reading material to get through! It had been at least ten years since I used citations, so I spent a lot of time relearning how to write a proper paper. The subject turned out to be truly fascinating, though, and I lost myself in the deep end of all things Twitter. That paper definitely changed how I view social media, and even digital privacy in general!
The third module was all about presentations. I THOUGHT I knew what made a good presentation, but the texts and lessons from Megan opened up a whole new world of possibility! The multimedia text “Resonate,” by Nancy Duarte (duarte.com/resonate-book), showed me a new way of learning as well as storytelling. One thing I truly loved about this class was the emphasis on visual communication and how every little thing matters. I began viewing presentations differently, and looking for ways to include the Resonate principles in everyday communications. I did struggle a bit with my first presentation because the idea just wasn’t there yet, but I felt much more confident presenting “Illuminate” (duarte.com/illuminate) with my partner, Carlie. I now look for the hook and spark moment in everything I consume and everything I create. I use stories and statistics wherever possible, and I do my best to create contrast and “keep it moving.”