Schools Introduce Social Media Courses

As if college students weren’t already spending enough time on social media, they can now pursue it as part of their coursework -- even major in it, at one school in South Carolina.

Newberry College, in Newberry, SC, is introducing an undergraduate major focused on social media. According to associate professor Tania Sosiak, who was interviewed by local Columbia TV station WACH, the interdisciplinary major will include coursework in graphic design, communications, and business and marketing, as well as psychology and statistics (after all, what discussion of social media could be complete without reams of statistic, up to half of them invented or spurious?).

While some less-motivated students might view a social media major as an even easier way to slack off, WACH reports it’s actually generating a lot of interest among -- wait for it -- students who are interesting in marketing, including at least one student who already has his own social media marketing business.

Across the pond, Ireland’s University of Limerick announced plans to launch a new “module” in social media for undergraduate students in the arts, especially those studying journalism and English, set to be unveiled in January. With a focus on the applications of social media to teaching and learning, professors are expected to employ innovative “e-teaching” techniques, which I can only speculate about (poking students who are asleep?) Coursework will cover geo-location, verifying information from social media, and various ethical issues relating to social media reporting.

Earlier this year I wrote about med schools beginning to offer social media training to future doctors, including a new social media curriculum being tested at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University.  The experimental coursework, funded by a two-year grant from the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, will involve first- and second-year medical students looking at their own social media footprints for instances of inappropriate content. Third- and fourth-year students will interview community members to study how the patient population uses social media, and how social media might help doctors communicate with patients about healthcare.

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2 comments about "Schools Introduce Social Media Courses".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , December 11, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.
    It's not all about marketing. Students in my social media courses learn about fundamental ways that communication has changed, affecting politics and human relationships, for example. Dozens of books have been written about social media marketing, but only a relative few on other disciplines.
  2. Marylou Roberts from diy-marketing , December 12, 2012 at 10:04 a.m.
    As someone who has taught social media marketing to graduate students for a number of years, I can assure you that the fact that students are heavy users of social media doesn't mean they have any insights into social media marketing. They need to study business use of social media, but they also need a broad background that allows them to understand media channels, society, and--most of all--people. To suggest that it is not worthy of rigorous study is not correct. Neither is limiting the field of study too narrowly.