Social Media University


Have you ever attended a social media class? Do you have a bachelor’s degree in social media?

Well now you can at Birmingham City University in the UK.  Initially, I approached ” Is a university course in the use of social media a degree too far? ” with a bit of skepticism. How do you create a degree about something that’s constantly evolving? Of course, I wanted to know what they were teaching these kids.

The reporter doesn’t give much information on the course structure and the website doesn’t have much either. Thinking more about the skills I use most in my social media jobs, here’s what I’d schedule for a social media masters (or undergrad program):

  • Blogging/ News Writing – A semester of blogging 3 times per week about current events. Basics of building an editorial calendar.
  • Creating Media – Creating multimedia elements to tell a story with pictures, film, etc.
  • Creating Media 2 – High level editing and posting online portfolio’s.
  • Public Speaking – Each video recorded on a flip cam and posted to an online portfolio.
  • Social Media for Business – A semester long case study where the class is split into business’. Each team will write and execute a social media business plan.
  • Networking Online and Off – A networking strategy class taught by resume writers and career coaches.
  • Social Public Relations – How to use social media as an element in public relations. Student will learn traditional elements of PR (writing a press release and pitching) and social media elements (how to integrate social into a company announcement).
  • Social Media Metrics – How to measure social media and what it means.
  • Computer Science 200 – Now, I hated this course in college. I was the “when am I ever going to use Excel?” kid. Now,  I really wish I had spent more time paying attention when I’m building metric tracking documents.
  • HTML 101 –  Learn basic HTML.

As you can probably see from my course list, I think a social media degree should teach core skills. The point? Make creating content, networking and public relations second nature to students. A social media student with these skills will realize how social their lives can be and identify new ways to socialize every day life. On the other hand, it may also lead to more videos of college kids doing stupid things.

That’s a win-win scenario in my book. Those kids crack me up.

So tell me – what would you add to the course list? Have you taken a social media class?

2 thoughts on “Social Media University

  1. I believe this is a dangerous road. I don’t think most people can even come up with a definition for social media and then agree on it.

    On the upside, some of these classes sound very fun and informative. I would take a couple of these as a night class with no problems.

  2. Katrina, this is a good list of things for a two-course syllabus but it lacks the research components that should characterize a graduate degree or even an undergraduate degree. I’d add a Statistics class and a data analysis class – not just an excel skills course – in order to learn how to run regressions, etc.

    I’d also add a research component to drive research rigor – to get beyond the gut instincts of many marketers and help build skills to get projects and campaigns funded and to measure ROI.
    In many ways the best undergraduate skills degree right now for social media is a journalism degree – you get the newswriting/blogging/editing skills along with the multi-media and PR/public speaking components. Although a student would have to emphasize the social media aspects themselves. In fact a double major of journalism and business might best equip young social media practioners with the requireed skills to go out and make things happen. I’d recommend my alma mater – the University of Missouri. http://journalism.missouri.edu/ Of course I might be biased….

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