Student Generated Content: Part Four

This is the fourth post in a series on integrating student-generated content into communications, particularly in social platforms. Read the entire series here.

Managing student staffers can be tricky. Here are some things to remember:

Put Someone in Charge

A single member of the professional staff should be responsible for student workers. Having this point person helps eliminate confusion on where to go for guidance and assistance, both for student workers AND staff members. Brainstorming, determining the content calendar, and selecting topics can be highly collaborative activity, but one person should have the final say on editing decisions and other issues.

Be as Clear as Possible

Describe what you have in mind when giving directions to your students. Be specific. Don’t tell your students to “go take some pictures.” You won’t be happy with the result. Instead, say something like, “take photos of people, make sure you can see their faces. Make your photos tell a story.” This way, you won’t end up with random photos of the sky, the ground, or other “interesting” shots you probably won’t be able to use.

Provide Feedback and Evaluation

Meet with your students on a monthly basis to share the results of their posts. Show them the number of hits, comments, and any other feedback. Tell them how they’re doing on meeting deadlines, working with the team, etc. Make sure they understand the impact of their work on your larger audiences – this will motivate your students and make them feel like part of the team.

“Pizza is not Pay”

That’s my mantra. Student content generators are valuable members of your team. Don’t try to buy them off with pizza and soda. Compensate them with a monthly stipend, pay them on a post-by-post basis, or have them work for an hourly wage. Thank your students for their hard work with more than money: offer to serve as a professional reference, and publicly thank them whenever possible.

In an upcoming post: some great examples of student generated content.

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2 Responses to Student Generated Content: Part Four

  1. Andrea E. says:

    So absolutely true! I came out of a coaching session with our students today– I’d add the following:

    1. Educating them to watch out for “well-intentioned insults”– examples like, “Our campus is safe– we have blue emergency phones everywhere you look!” and “Our library is open late nights and we have lots of tutors who can help students in subjects” or “Our greek system is great- there are tons and tons of parties during rush and professors totally understand when you’re pledging.” Versions of these well-intentioned insults appear in student communications frequently.

    2. Whenever I do student feedback in groups, I give every student their “compliment,” in which I publicly proclaim something specific they did that was excellent, whether they realized it was excellent or not. I also usually choose a compliment that speaks indirectly to another student’s weaknesses– two birds in one stone!

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