Social media storytelling course offers students an opportunity to broaden essential skills

Social media storytelling team, left to right: Vladislav Kovalevsky, Sarah Rubsam, Josh Nihiser, Yana Durado, Alex Fredecker, Laura Harbert
Alex Fredecker
April 28, 2021

Are you wondering who’s behind MDIA socials? Of course you were. Before kicking off recess for the summer, we wanted to introduce you to the scrappy little team that has been working hard to keep you up to speed with all the happenings in the School of Media Arts & Studies this semester.  

Social media storytelling is a recent addition to the MDIA course offerings. It began as a way to both market the School of Media Arts & Studies on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the school’s website, and provide advanced social media certificate students with the experience and skills necessary to succeed in an ever-growing realm of media platforms. 

Dr. Karen Riggs, MDIA Professor and Scripps College of Communication social media certificate coordinator, launched the course last spring with a view to providing space for students to put their social media skills into action while working to increase MDIA’s online visibility. 

“We have a wonderful story to tell about our students, alumni, and faculty,” said Riggs. “Through our school’s socials and website, our high-energy storytelling team is making sure we don’t keep that narrative a secret. The four-member squad this Spring has comprised some of the social media certificate’s top students. The project just keeps growing and is increasingly rewarding for our stakeholders as time goes on.”

Riggs said keeping the team small this year has boosted its effectiveness, because the communal vibe keeps it focused. 

Vlad Kovalevsky, a second-year student in the Communication and Development master’s program, has managed the squad with Riggs and was part of the original team leadership last spring. Doctoral student Laura Harbert coordinated the team in fall before passing the baton back to Riggs and Kovalevsky this Spring. Kovalevsky has ensured that student posts are created in a timely and accurate manner and provided helpful insights and suggestions for team members.  

“The social media storytelling class is an excellent opportunity for students to apply skills and competencies that they learn in other social media-related classes,” said Kovalevsky. “In social media marketing, it is not just theoretical knowledge that matters, but also how you can utilize it in real-life projects. This course gives students just that: a real social media experience with the opportunity for creativity and experimentation.”  

The veteran MDIA storyteller is Alex Fredecker, a junior majoring in communication studies, minoring in marketing and journalism, and pursuing a social media certificate. After a rewarding fall semester with the the team, Fredecker stayed on for a second semester in order to ensure a smooth transition.   

“After a full year with this project, I can confidently say that throughout my time at Ohio University, this has been the most beneficial class for my future career,” said Fredecker. “I have learned so much regarding social media content creation, promoting engagement, and collaboration with such a talented group of individuals. Without this independent study, I would not have had the success that I had in obtaining an internship for the upcoming summer.” 

Next up is Yana Durado. Durado is a senior majoring in integrated media, minoring in film, and pursuing a social media certificate. She has greatly enjoyed gathering content, specifically getting the chance to reach out to alumni and talk about their experiences. Durado also enjoyed seeing how social media users engaged with our posts over the variety of content we shared.  

“I enrolled in this class because I wanted to learn more about how to run and manage various social media accounts,” said Durado. “For this course, I expected things to run like a normal class with assignments but really it was so much better because we get to have our own structure and decide the type of content we want to share.”  

Josh Nihiser is also part of our social storytelling squad. Nihiser will graduate this semester a major in integrated media, a minor in music, and a social media certificate. He enrolled in the class to gain experience working in social media with a team of people. Although he expected things to be a bit different considering the limitations of virtual class meetings, he found that the team instantly clicked and worked seamlessly. 

“I’ve loved every bit of working with these amazing people,” Nihiser said. “Everyone was supportive of one another and really helped when it came to the flow of ideas. I’ve learned a lot about working on a team. It’s helped me gain that experience and learn from individuals who bring their own perspectives into the mix. I improved my skills being around the team and have been able to take that into my own work for other social media accounts I run.”  

Sarah Rubsam rounds out the pack. Rubsam is a junior double-majoring in integrated media and interactive design, minoring in Spanish, with a social media certificate. She expected her previous experience in managing comedic accounts to translate more into her work with this independent study, but she found that a different approach needed to be taken with a professional media account.   

“Being a part of the social media team taught me a lot about how to operate a professional social media channel,” said Rubsam. “It was great to collaborate with this team and learn from everyone's ideas and watch what went over well and what didn't so we could better craft our posts.”   

The team is grateful to the school’s social media followers and website readers for supporting MDIA through these platforms this past semester.