Something’s been cooking at the University of Mary Washington.
The Podclass Kitchen experience has marketing students whipping up their own online culinary productions and walking away with an appetite for more.
“It was basically like starting our own business, and we did it hands-on,” said UMW junior Florina Aliu, who launched Cook Boss on YouTube. The first episode walks viewers through the creation of a Margherita pizza made with stone-fired flatbread and her mother’s homemade mozzarella. “I learned a lot more actually doing it than just reading about it.”
The Podclass Kitchen curriculum management system takes students from theory to practice, as they complete a series of lessons on brand identity, marketing strategy and content creation. The final dish? A short video that’s the start of an actual podcast on the trendy topic of cooking, and a polished product they can share with prospective employers.
“It gives them direct experience with social media promotion,” said College of Business Professor Lance Gentry, who recently incorporated the educational interface into his Principles of Marketing course. “Some of them are really getting into it with professional quality output.”
Once Gentry has covered the textbook basics, including the principles and theories of marketing, he steers students through a real-world experience, where they learn by doing. For the last two semesters, that’s meant serving up Podclass Kitchen.
Students come up with a concept for a recipe-demonstrating podcast series, research potential competitors and identify their strengths and weaknesses. They build out their brands, choosing the tone and colors they’ll use, and coming up with logos and taglines. Then, they create YouTube accounts and record their videos.
Along the way, representatives from Podclass Kitchen, a 14-day interactive learning experience offered for college students, provide support and feedback. But Gentry doles out the grades.
“I learned to be creative and original,” said Aliu, who produced the first episode of her Cook Boss podcast from her parents’ kitchen. “I wanted to be true to myself.”
Junior psychology major Allison Holden appreciated the chance to present to her classmates in a nontraditional way and to learn new skills, like how to use iMovie and Canva. Her podcast – College Cravings– takes viewers on a shopping trip through Lidl grocery store, where she purchases chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus, chicken and rice to make Mediterranean bowls.
“Everything for this dinner only cost me $15 in total,” she says in the video, “which is great for college kids on a budget.”
Students employed co-hosts, special effects, outtakes, music and more to entertain viewers and, hopefully, attract followers … and advertisers.
Cookin’ It Up With Ashley features lemon-pepper chicken wings made in an air fryer. Shelby’s Sweets showcases mini pumpkin pies. Cooking With Colby demonstrates how to make ramen stir fry.
“It’s an excellent way for students to get not only the academic perspective but also the practitioner perspective,” Gentry said. “There’s a saying by Confucius that summarizes my teaching philosophy – ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.’ ”
Visit Podclass Kitchen to see a selection of recent YouTube videos made by UMW students.