US lecturer scraps final exam after student takes up challenge and creates TikTok video with 1m views

At the start of the next class, he brought her up to the front of the lecture hall and announced that the final was cancelled. Ms Bastardo took a bow while the other students applauded.

Mr Prince asked if anybody else had tried to make a viral video. Nobody raised a hand.

To date, her Ms Bastardo’s video has got more than five million views. She also made a follow-up video about her success, a clip that itself has been viewed more than a million times. “MVP (Most Valuable Player),” Mr Prince wrote in the comments.

The feedback for the challenge has been mostly positive, he said, aside from a naysayer who popped into a Facebook discussion group for social media professors.

“A gentleman who had been in the education system for a very long time was basically downplaying the role of influencers and this study,” said Mr Prince, who is a member of the group. “‘So you’re asking to play on social media instead of, like, an impactful test?’”

Mr Prince, who is the director of marketing communications and public relations at Taco Bell, said he wanted his students to learn first-hand about the possibilities of social media.

“I was just trying to think of new ways to help support some of the teaching that I’m trying to get across over the course of the semester,” he said. “Mainly, the thought of just how democratized virality and influence is within social media, specifically on TikTok, and that you really don’t have to be a celebrity to drive it.”

In Ms Bastardo’s view, Mr Prince had never actually counted on skipping the final. “He didn’t think that anyone would do it or that it would be possible,” she said.

Mr Prince, an adjunct professor at Chapman, is not the only pedagogue trying to incorporate social media into lesson plans.

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