I'm teaching a special topics Social Media Marketing class this summer and decided to experiment with a new assignment. Each student selected an organization to monitor for a week, and then they were assigned to create an infographic highlighting that organization's week in social media.
I provided students with links to a number of free social media monitoring services, and as a class we discussed which ones they used and what they preferred. The big winner was Social Mention, such a big winner that in the future I will advise students to use that rather than experimenting with others.
I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a graphic designer and would have absolutely no idea how to teach students to create an infographic from scratch, so I also gave them a list of links to free infographic-creation sites. Everything I read about these sites talked about how you didn't have to know anything about design or HTML, and you could just use free templates to create simple infographics.
Well. As the students were working on theirs over the weekend, I also tried several of the sites myself and found they weren't nearly as intuitive as various posts suggested, plus the templates don't give you much freedom at all. In the end, the students with little design experience liked easel.ly, those with a little more liked Piktochart, and those who are good designers just created their own on inDesign (which is taught in graphics class).
Not surprisingly, some turned out better than others, and all of them were as good as or better than mine. I'd already told the class I was experimenting with this as a new assignment, and afterwards I assured them I'll be grading generously given that the free template sites aren't as simple as people suggest.
At the AEJMC meeting in August I'm participating in a "teaching failures" panel. I don't think this assignment was so bad that it falls into that category, but it did serve as a good reminder that I shouldn't try to teach something I'm bad at when we have other faculty members far more talented and capable on the subject!
On the bright side, several of the students showed they're quite good at creating infographics, so they're considering doing one for their group project. I'll share it if they do.