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Producing Video for Social Media Class Offers New Opportunities for All DU Students

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

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DU Social Media class

As social media becomes a more integrated part of our society by the day, the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies decided to add a Producing Video for Social Media course to its lineup. Now any student at DU can sign up and add this vital skill to their resume to set themselves up for success in their career track. The class is designed to bring together students from across campus who are interested in utilizing social media and video for social justice and advocacy.

“I most enjoy the eagerness of students to learn,” Visiting Teaching Assistant Professor Curtis Coats said. “They are the social media platform experts because they spend much time in social media spaces, so I appreciate that we can all bring different skills and experiences to class. We learn together, and that makes learning more fun.”

The class is about much more than just creating video content for social media. It explores looking at how video storytelling can also be an effective tool for advancing the public good—one of DU’s main missions.

“I hope they learn that every production choice has consequences, not just in terms of whether a video production will be effective but also in terms of ethics and justice,” Coats said. “Everything—from which platform to use to whose story to tell—requires careful consideration.”

The class will be offered each quarter and is open to all MFJS majors and minors, as well as non-majors. MFJS is especially looking to welcome students from outside the department since this course can be beneficial to students studying a wide range of topics. There will a special graduate version of the class for graduate students this spring.

“First, I'd say to not be intimidated if you have no video production experience,” Coats said about students who might be interested in taking the course. “The class is designed with you in mind. Second, if you are interested in reaching social media audiences effectively and conscientiously, then this class can be of benefit to you.”

The class is possible thanks to a grant from the LARRK Foundation, a private family foundation that supports the arts and cultural institutions that contribute to Colorado’s vibrancy.

Piper Finkelson
Piper Finkelson

Piper Finkelson shares her experience in the Producing Video for Social Media class

In the era of Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram, short-form videos have become increasingly popular. Certainly, I indulge in these addicting platforms myself. However, I also acknowledge that this form of media poses obstacles to activists aiming to share complex problems with an online audience. As such, I am grateful to be a student in Professor Coats' course Producing Video for Social Media. Within this class, my peers and I are encouraged to explore the world of digital communication with an emphasis on social justice issues. Moreover, we are challenged to raise awareness for issues relevant to our own student population while remaining in the confines of brief video production.

For my favorite assignment thus far, students were placed into teams and asked to recreate an existing social justice media campaign. My group chose to mimic the Always #LikeAGirl campaign produced in 2015. This ad focused on female empowerment and highlighted stereotypical views of gender that are embedded within society. In mimicking this video, we aimed to keep the original focus on gender but shifted our audience to college-aged students. I found this project, alongside our other course assignments, to be incredibly worthwhile. Not only have I gained skills in content creation, with the use of the DJI Pocket 2 camera, but I have also expanded my awareness of marketing strategies as related to various factors of identity. Ultimately, Professor Coats provides students with hands-on experience and real-world skills applicable within the university environment and far beyond.