Guest feature: How one person started as a UReddit teacher and came to guest lecture at the University of Maryland, and the experience in between

Elliot S. Volkman (@TheJournalizer), who taught Online Communities 101, has written a short piece on his experience teaching a UReddit class and what came of it. Here’s what he wrote:

“Education is a wonderful thing, but once you reach a certain point in life it does not become mandatory. Some people take this to mean that they are free from being involved with educational institutions, whereas others feel the constant need to want to continue to grow and learn.

Reddit, not particularly well known for increasing productivity, can in fact be a venue of such growth and insight if you look in the right places. One such place in particular is known as The University of Reddit, a completely volunteer developed and run site for those wanting to share their insight with people who choose to continue learning.

This past month (and some of January too) I had the privilege of developing a course about online communities based on my two years of research during my communications masters program, and the results were quite surprising. I came into the planning process trying to decide if I want to pursue teaching, and left the course with a completely different perspective.

Personally I have always been interested in sharing knowledge, but the University of Reddit allows anyone to do, to anyone in the world, and at their leisure. Not to mention it’s free, besides the time you provide or take from it. As a result of my course I was able to connect with some fantastic guest speakers (reddit’s General Manager, and two very awesome people from Govloop) who also wanted to share their insight with the world. The classes were small and the technology I chose to use was a new challenge, but as a result I have another skill set and can say I was able to teach people what I love.

In addition to meeting great like minded individuals and students I was even asked to provide a guest lecture for a class at the University of Maryland, which is even more interesting because a dean there is incredibly well known and influential towards online community research. As a result of taking a chance, and sharing my time with others it opened a few more doors to me.

With that said I would highly suggest that if you have any interest in teaching the world anything, and I mean anything (it can be how to carve a pumpkin, gender studies, metaphysics or biology) take a moment to consider teaching through the U of R.”

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