It’s been a year now since I took on the administrative responsibilities as an Assistant Dean. While I’m still teaching, I’ve had to cut my teaching load down considerably and focus on the hard work of curriculum development with a group of amazing faculty, managing course scheduling for each semester, attend myriad of meetings with Admissions, Marketing, and other areas of the college and a host of “other duties as assigned”.
We’ve had an amazing year within the Division of Business at Champlain College and are in the process of coming forward with curriculum that will launch in Fall 2011 for incoming students. While we still have to get through the curriculum process (Division approves, then Curriculum Committee, then Faculty Senate, then the President and then the Board of Trustees) I can give you a bit of a preview:
- NEW Integrated Business Curriculum: All students coming into our Division of Business will take a set of courses that will integrate the various business disciplines into one. Emphasis will be on team projects, working with businesses, and learning the context of business decision making.
- NEW major in Management of Creative Media: Business emphasis with minor in a creative area such as Game Production, Digital Film, Publishing, Graphic Design or Broadcast and Streaming Media.
- UPDATED Marketing Major providing specializations in Brand Promotion, Digital Marketing, Event Management and Public Relations
- More coming from our Business and International Business Programs as well.
Imagine innovation within Higher Education, and notice how we have reinvigorated and updated our programs … in a years time. That doesn’t happen in Higher Education much, but we are a different breed here at Champlain College and I’m proud of that.
So my head has been in the high-level thinking — assessment and learning outcomes and mapping program competencies. I love this stuff, but what I REALLY love is the step that happens after the curriculum has been approved — the actual course development. I haven’t developed a new course in a few years (my most recent being Technology as a Disruptive Force, which is now part of our MFA in Emergent Media) and I miss it. So, when Ann Demarle the Program Director for the MFA reached out to me to find out if I could develop AND teach a course this summer for the MFA it required about 30 seconds of thought. Yes, I’m wicked busy but I need to follow my Joy. So I said yes.
This summer, beginning in May, I will be teaching a course entitled “Managing Online Communities”. I’ve completed the course proposal and it is working its way through the curriculum approval process. In the mean time, I thought I’d share my development process.
Course Rationale (Why it is important and we need it): Online communities include branded content that exists on websites, forums, blogs, social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, mobile platforms and geolocation networks. As online communities continue to evolve, marketers are being asked to not only build them but also create fresh and interesting content that spans text, video, audio, digital images, and online social games in multiple combinations. Many companies are utilizing social tools to provide customer service as well. Additionally once these communities are built, they must be monitored, measured and kept up-to-date. The complexity of managing these many online properties requires a skilled brand strategist who understands how to leverage these online communities in a way that is authentic but also is able to work with multiple individuals with specific skills in order to implement applications, and design brand-appropriate visuals and tools that captivate and engage the customer. According to Jeremiah Owyang, Partner of Customer Strategy at Altimeter Group, the Community Manager must: 1. Be a Community Advocate; 2. Be a Brand Evangelist; 3. Have Savvy Communication Skills and shape content; 4. Gather community input for future products and services These tenets of community management will be the basis for this course.
Course Description: Organizations must carefully manage their online communities. An online community manager must be a community advocate and brand evangelist, who has savvy communication skills, can create content on multiple platforms, gather community input and measure success. Students will learn how to manage multiple online communities for a brand. Current case studies along with a hands-on project with a business will be used. Students will be required to sign up for multiple online accounts on a variety of services.
Topical Outline (subject to change at a moments notice)
- An exploration of Community: Historical (pre-digital), Sociological, Psychological
- The impact of digital communication on community: digital to present, Sociological, Psychological
- Marketing Communication and online communities: The birth of the Community Manager
- What has brand strategy got to do with it? How brands create opportunity for community engagement.
- The Community Manager’s Roadmap: Marketing planning in a digital age | Integrated Marketing Communication means silos no more | Building policies that support the community: privacy, security, support, copyright, intellectual property, rules of conduct, democratic or autocratic
- The Community Manager’s Digital ToolBox: Analytics – Goal setting, budget setting, Measurement and Adjustment: Qualitative and Quantitative | Content – Content Development and Management: writing, message development, repurposing, curation | Monitoring and Response – When is a crisis not a crisis, how an apology can go a long way and when it’s time to throw in the towel.
- The Community Manager’s Lifestyle: 24/7 365 | How to be there…when you aren’t there | Staying on the cutting edge | Being an advocate both offline and online | Fighting for your right to exist – what’s your value proposition?
Now that I’ve come up with what I think should be covered it’s time to find some readings that will support my course roadmap. So here are the ones I’m reading through now to decide. I really can’t require them ALL (it’s a 6 week intensive course that will meet for three hours for two times per week) but I want too. I really do (smile).
- Design to Thrive: Creating Social Networks and Online Communities that Last by Tharon Howard
- The Online Communities Handbook: Building Your Business and Brand on the Web by Anna Buss and Nancy Strauss
- The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation by Jono Bacon
- 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A guide for building relationships and connecting with customers online by Angela Connor (with Forward by Peter Shankman)
- Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block
- Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy and the Integrity of Social Life by Helen Nissenbaum
- Understanding Privacy by Daniel Solove
- The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel Solove
I anticipate using at least two – three of the books in their entirety and an excerpt or two from some of the others. I’ll supplement with work from blogs including Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang as well the weekly #cmgrchat on Twitter.
At the moment I’m looking to have the class develop a community management plan for a new or emerging community and will be looking for businesses, organizations, governments, non-profits to be our class client. If you are interested in exploring being a client in this class, please let me know via email at eyoung at champlain dot edu.