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Benefits of social media course reach all the way to South Africa

Beedie social media course

Students in the Social Media and Business course achieved measurable results for their real-world clients.

Assistant professor Jan Kietzmann of SFU’s Beedie School of Business knows a thing or two about social media. In December, a paper he co-authored entitled “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media” won the 2011 Best Article Award from the journal Business Horizons.

Now he and instructor Ashish Gurung are using their new Social Media and Business course to develop the social media expertise of business students at SFU Surrey. The course, which was launched last fall, offers a mix of experiences: visits in class and via Skype with thought leaders like the University of Ottawa’s Michael Geist and representatives of organizations like Translink and Yelp; field trips to Vancouver-based social media players like Invoke and Hootsuite; and online engagement with classmates and instructors through Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #BUS450).

The most valuable component of the course, however, may well be the work done by the students themselves. As a final project, they develop social media campaigns for community clients or campus issues. The benefits, in terms of both student learning and community impact, have been remarkable:

  • One group used Twitter and Facebook to generate more than 100 potentially life-saving registrations for the BC Transplant Society. The campaign’s social media messaging was endorsed and retweeted by, among others, musicians Jann Arden and Bif Naked, television personality Chris Gailus, and hockey legends Doug Gilmour and Brendan Morrisson.
  • Another team raised more than $500 for the Surrey Food Bank and garnered more than a thousand blog views to raise awareness of the food bank’s role in the community.
  • A third group used fundraising tweet-ups and other social media activities to collect more than $1500 for soccer-playing youth in Manamani, South Africa.

“Our students worked very hard,” said Kietzmann. “They truly engaged communities – local, national and international – and to that end I am very proud of what they accomplished.”

This is a condensed post. Read the full story on the Beedie School of Business News blog.

See Jan Kietzmann’s faculty profile page.


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