Curriculum 2018-07-02T00:21:08+00:00

At its core, StandWatch Academy is all about teaching our young people how to make our communities better, one experience at a time. By following a unique and proven curriculum, we develop leaders and social entrepreneurs who can conceptualize a new way of attacking problems that need solving.  These are just a few of our online classes.

Lesson One

Identifying Your Cause

The purpose of the StandWatch Academy experience is for you to be able to conceptualize, launch, and manage your own nonprofit, social enterprise, issue campaign, or small business. This session will help you identify your topic or cause. Once you have found “your issue”, we will work on developing the tools and skills that you’ll need to promote it effectively.


By the time you complete this lesson, you will have selected an issue for your project and have a very general idea as to how you might “solve” the issue.  Additionally, you will also have an understanding of the challenges you will face in forming your organization as a nonprofit versus a for-profit.

Lesson Three

Designing Your Logo

Creating a brand begins with a well-designed logo. In the logo creation process, we’ll look for inspiration pieces, and understand how images are manipulated with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.  Additionally, students will learn how the use of colors and imagery should carry through to an effective branding campaign.


To teach students the basics of using Adobe Creative Suite to design logos and marketing materials for their organizations while learning how to create a brand.

Lesson Five

Building a Webpage: Stage 1

Developing a digital strategy for your organization means a lot more than simply building a website.  Today, “digital strategy” is a comprehensive approach that includes every method that consumers and supporters use to access the content you produce for your organization, regardless of the channel.  Channels include websites, social media, blogs, podcasts, videos, and “print” products like PDFs.  It all starts with a website, and your first social media channel.  From there, it grows. We will start this process by teaching students how to build their personal profile webpage on using the Avada Theme and WordPress.


To teach students the basics of setting-up and designing a website using WordPress, Photoshop, and other tools, while integrating the site with a social media strategy.

Lesson Seven

Producing Great Images

The technology that most people carry in their pockets today was nearly impossible to imagine just thirty years ago.  Having the ability to make “video phone calls”, take pictures, send email (which didn’t exist), and talk to anyone in the world on a single, hand-held device was simply inconceivable.  That was the stuff of Hollywood or multi-billion dollar defense projects.  Yet, that’s where we now find ourselves.  Whether you realize it or not, your smartphone is a revolutionary device that is changing nearly everything about how people communicate.  That is no more evident than in the field of media production. In this lesson, we are going to leverage the capabilities of the smartphone and learn how to shoot better still photos.


By the time you complete this lesson you will have tried nine different techniques for taking better pictures with your phone.

Lesson Two

Naming Your Organization

Developing an effective name and mission statement is critical to gathering support for your idea. You must be able to describe your project, demonstrate your passion, and generate interest with just a few words.  It takes a lot more work than what you might imagine. You’ll know you’ve nailed it though, when the next thing you hear after telling someone your mission is, “Tell me more.”


To assist students in developing an initial concept for a brand, business name, and a concise mission statement that addresses the issue they are concerned about.

Lesson Four

Creating Graphics for Social Media and Websites

For better or worse, social media is a still a popular venue for marketers trying to reach customers.  As such, creating a professional look for all of your social media channels is critical.  This lesson will focus on carrying a consistent look and theme across all of your social media accounts and website.


To teach students how to create effective wallpapers, banners, profile photos, and social media content.

Lesson Six

Creating Content: Writing Effectively

Today’s world is overloaded with negative, cynical attacks on everything under the sun.  No matter what’s being discussed, someone is angry about it for some reason.  In this environment, the best way to stand out and get noticed is to forgo the negativism, and use humor to get your message across.  But like every other form of writing, creating comedy is an art that has to be developed.  This lesson is the first of three classes on teaching students how to move their message with humor.


Students will be introduced to the art of writing one-liners by captioning cartoons. By learning how to write precise sentences that communicate a point quickly, students will begin developing the ability to summarize complex issues in a timely and effective way.

Lesson Eight

Shooting Scripts and Shot Lists

In today’s world, having the ability to communicate your ideas through video is easier, and cheaper, than ever.  As we discussed in the previous lesson, most of you carry around a device in your pocket that has more media production capabilities than many local television stations had back in the 1990s. Locally, news stations and production companies use iPhone 6s to film many of their news stories, and this is true all over the country.  With that level of technology available to you, it only makes sense to learn how to maximize its effectiveness and capabilities.

In this lesson, we are going to do several things to get you ready to plan, shoot, and edit your own 15 second commercial. Your job is to plan and write a 15-second commercial about why people should care about your issue.  We will film them on the expedition out west. Step one is to conceptualize your video with a basic script.


By the time they complete this lesson, students will have developed a basic script and shot list for a 15 second video that communicates why people should want to learn more about their project.

Developing Better Communications Skills

The best way to learn how to communicate better is to, well, communicate.  With this in mind, during the course and especially while on the expedition, students will begin publishing the SWA Expedition Report, a daily blog where each student is required to produce:

  • A daily feature photo
  • A daily update consisting of at least 300 words written in a news format
  • Factoids for the next day’s destinations (the stranger the better)
  • A short 200-word update written in first-person as a fictional character
  • A relevant factoid about the issue or cause on which your business idea is based

Final Project

Create a three minute video, complete with a script, storyboard, and custom graphics that tells a story about why your issue should matter to other people. The catch is that the video has to be funny.  Working with teammates is encouraged.

Upcoming Lessons

  • Setting Up Social Media Accounts and Information Security 
  • Developing a Digital Strategy
  • Designing a Custom Postcard Marketing Piece 
  • Creating Content: Writing Effective Blog Posts
  • How to Make Videos That Aren’t Awful 
  • The Basics of Scriptwriting and Pre-Production 
  • Production Planning and Hardware Requirements 
  • Setting Up a Project in Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Creating Content: Filming a Video Interview 
  • Seven Steps to Producing a Podcast
  • Posting a Podcast to iTunes 
  • Editing Audio with Adobe Audition
  • A Short Guide to Giving a TED Talk