I was sitting at my desk, feeling besieged by the surmounting disheveled, unorganized stacks of papers, journal articles and textbooks, when I heard a familiar voice at my door say…. “We made it!  We survived week one!!”

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It was one of my colleagues, the management professor who had stopped by my office at the conclusion of her last class for the week.  I shared a like-minded smile and stated…. “Yep!! It’s Friday of our first week.  One down…. 15 to go!!”  Although I had intended for that to come out as motivation, the countenance on both of our faces displayed a slightly different perspective of the statement.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our jobs…. we love our students… we love being here at West Virginia Wesleyan College…. But, even in the short time I’ve been a full-time professor, I have quickly learned that the first and last weeks of the semester is very challenging and exhausting.  We have to be so flexible between wanting to get started with our courses and giving students time to adjust their schedules so they can get the classes they want and need.  So, making it through this particular week with our sanity and somewhat of a semblance of organization in tact is a huge accomplishment.  At least that’s the case for me.

This week marks a big milestone for me as the rookie professor in the school.  Over the Christmas break, I carefully reviewed course evals submitted by students, analyzed grades and success/failures of assignments I gave, reconsidered the layout of some repeat classes and intensified the creativity to develop new courses that would inspire and encourage my students to learn new theories, concepts, ideas, and strategies.  I want them to think outside of the box and take risks…. try things that they have never tried before, accomplish goals, make mistakes, and learn from it all.

I was intrigued last semester when I mentioned blogging in a class and very few of the students knew what it was, how it was done and why it’s so popular and relevant in marketing today.  To support my opinion, I found a great collection of blogging statistics from multiple sources on WrittenT.com…. a blog, of course!  For example:

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  • 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (Source: BlogHer)
  • Among those who use e-mail marketing, companies that blog get twice as much traffic from their email than those who don’t. (Source:  HubSpot)
  • Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog. (Source: ThinkCreative)

Although the stats, trends and forecasting for blogging is optimistic, I was a little concerned when I added weekly blog assignments to two of my classes. I was taking a chance adding something so new in concept and practice, yet so important for their careers.  I was fairly confident that blogging would fit into the overall objectives of the Sport Marketing class considering the popularity of blogging in the sport industry, but I was quite skeptical that the students in the Marketing Research and Strategies class would buy into this new learning technique.

Fortunately, my students seem to be willing to jump in with both feet and try this new process out.  I have yet to see a negative post on Twitter, hear any grumbling in the halls between classes, or have a student complain to me about the newly incorporated assignments.  Instead, they’re relishing in the challenge, and understanding the broad scope of knowledge and skills they can obtain through the blogging assignments.

My fears and apprehension quickly dispelled, and I’m excited to check out each new blog as I get emails with URLs and requests for preview and feedback.  They’re taking a chance on something new… they’re thinking outside of the box…. they’re seeing the opportunities and benefits available for them, not just in this class, but for their future… all through a simple, yet effective marketing strategy… the blog.

Now I need to collect all this excitement that’s built up inside me, transfer it into conducive energy and get this desk straightened up so I can call it a day.

No, wait!!  A week!!  I can call it a week!!!  And it’s been a great one, at that!!

I invite you to check out the students’ blogs on my new page —> Student Blogs.  More will be added over the next few days, so check back often… follow some of the students… leave comments on their posts to encourage, engage and motivate.  They would love to hear from you!!

Class dismissed. 🙂

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