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JANUARY 2012        RSSPrint PrintEller College on Facebook FacebookPrint Twitter     

Undergrads Apply Business Intelligence to Social Media

By Kelsey Wagner
Eller Marketing '12

Samantha Kluth resume
MIS student Samantha Kluth created a resume
comprised of a QR code as well as visual elements.
Click image to view resume in PDF format.

Corporate marketers know they must be on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The big question is how to use social networks to better market and actually generate revenue for organizations.

This fall, McClelland Professor of MIS Sudha Ram offered a new course to teach students just that: Business Intelligence: Web and Social Media Analytics.

Ram’s course consisted of two main projects. The first required students to implement an online marketing campaign for a local business using Google AdWords and Google Analytics. The second taught students about social network analysis techniques to map and measure relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, computers, URLs, and more. While completing these two projects, the class learned about using Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools and tracking web performance, as well as how to market themselves. Ram also exposed the students to new technologies, such as Quick Response Codes, and software packages such as GEPHI to visualize and analyze networks constructed from collected data.

Students said the course material was not only interesting and relevant, but Ram also has a unique and motivational way of pushing the creative limits of her students. One project they were asked to do was to create an infographic resume, and students came up with all sorts of ideas. One student, a game designer, created a resume that resembled the original Super Mario Brothers game.

Other students demonstrated their IT background using QR codes, and others created interactive resumes using software like Prezi. The resumes revealed personal characteristics about the students not typically represented in a standard resume format.

Throughout the semester, students maintained blogs that focused on class topics and offered a forum to collaborate, learn from each other, and build on other classmates’ ideas. And not only did the students learn about social media as part of their course requirements, they used it frequently inside and outside of the classroom to connect.

Andrew Nolan resume
MIS student Andrew Nolan created a resume
comprised of visual elements.
Click image to view resume in PDF format.

The class used Twitter discussion and real-time feedback on homework and project presentations. Every time someone presented a piece of work, everyone in class had to tweet their feedback using the trending topic #MIS496A. The tweets showed up on the classroom’s large screen display during the presentations, so students were able to respond to all of the comments from the class immediately. 

“It was amazing to see how the class bonded as a community using social media – initially they came in as individuals and most of them did not know each other,” said Ram. “By the end of the semester, they all knew each other, were helping each other tremendously, constantly sharing feedback, new information, and interacting with each other via social media both inside and outside the classroom.”

The final project was equally challenging, creatively speaking. Students simply had to answer the question, “What did you learn this semester?” By both allowing the students to have complete independence with their final project, and also giving them the tools to create an amazing output, the result was an impressive set of videos, tech-savvy poetry, and innovative websites.

The class is open to all majors and colleges and only requires an interest in the opportunity to learn about business intelligence theory and combine it with powerful social media tools to gain insights into the emerging social media phenomena.

View interactive resumes, videos, blogs, and more resulting from the class.

Find out more about INSITE: Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics, a new business intelligence center launched by Dr. Sudha Ram.

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