College Courses Specializing in Social Media are in a Class by Themselves
It’s back-to-school time and students at some U.S. colleges and universities are getting heavily schooled in social media. While many schools are incorporating social media instruction into everyday coursework, some have gone the extra step by designing courses that deal exclusively with social media.
In the MBA programs at Harvard and Columbia universities, students can enroll in social media courses.
At the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Allen Johnston (pictured left), professor of information systems, teaches a course titled Social Media and Virtual Communities in Business. The course, dubbed the “Facebook class,” debuted this past spring and will be offered again in spring 2011.
Johnston said he found only two other schools in the United States—the University of California, Berkley and Emory University—that offered a similar course this past year. Half a dozen schools have asked Johnston for a copy of his course syllabus.
Topics in the course at Emory’s Goizueta Business School include “The Power of Social Media,” “Social Media Invade Privacy” and “Social Gaming and Learning.”
Johnston’s class, which assembles students from the fields of marketing, medicine and information systems, defines four pillars of social media—communication, collaboration, entertainment and education—and delves into how they can represent a business.
“Everybody has this pressure or feels like their business needs to have a Facebook site, a Twitter account and be on Foursquare,” Johnston said. “They think they need to do all of these things, but the question is: Why? Why do we need it, and how do we use it to meet our goals?”
Drury’s Social Media Certification Program also tries to answer those questions. In June, the university launched its two-week certification course in social media.Continued on the next page