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A Social Media Toolkit for MOOCs: A Recipe

DartmouthX has used social media in all of our courses to date. With the third MOOC on DartmouthX, OperaX: An Introduction to Italian Opera, we decided to document some of the things we've experimented with to share with others. This post is intended to be a "Social Media Toolkit" for MOOC teams gettings started. We've formatted this as a recipe to help make adoption easier!

Who it serves

In OperaX and many of the other DartmouthX courses, we think of social media as a key tool for engagement to both engage with existing audiences in our course subject areas as well as student continuing their learning beyond the course community. Specifically in OperaX, we wanted students to be able to:


A picture of the OperaX social media and engagement team.
The OperaX social media and engagement team.
  • Course Team - identify key members of the course team who are interested and knowledgeable in social media within the field of study for the course. This can include the course faculty member, course TA's, and instructional designers.
  • Dedicated Course Social Media TA's - pick one or two student TA's who can invest the time and resources into facilitating and building the course's social presence. Look for people with backgrounds in social media and communications, think second about their content familiarity.
  • Audience - research who it is you are trying to connect with and where they already are on social media. Identify existing communities around your course topic.

Ingredients and Utensils

Click here to open the OperaX Social Media Calendar example in a new window. Feel free to make a copy via GoogleDocs!
Click here to open the OperaX Social Media Calendar example in a new window. Feel free to make a copy via GoogleDocs!
  • Twitter and Facebook accounts for the course specifically (examples from OperaX linked).
  • Buffer app for queuing social media (or similar). They have a generous discount for non-profits.
  • Slack for integrated updates, pulling in RSS feeds for content sources, and team communication.
  • Asana for social task management.
  • Calendar planning out social posts and tasks (either via Asana or other). The example linked shows how we did this in OperaX
  • Space to pull in social streams in the course (either a sub-section or page with social feeds).

Combining the Ingredients

  1. Recruit - identify TA’s with experience running social media campaigns and using social media. Think about content familiarity second here.
  2. Strategize - review other MOOC’s using social, determine how you can plug into existing communities on social media.
  3. Design - create an actual plan for audience, content (types, frequency, etc.), cultivating followers, and amplification.
  4. Engage - during OperaX, this is how we focused on engagement before, during, and after the course.
    • Weeks or Months ahead of time: This can be a great way to identify your audience and recruit. Find areas where people interested 
    • During the course: Post and engage with student submissions. Consider using hashtags (e.g. #OperaX) and social curation tools (e.g. Storify) to pull together course stories.
    • After the course: Explore how your course should stay present for future course runnings or other outreach efforts.
  5. Evaluate and Share

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