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Scripps College offers nation’s first social media certificate

Feb 20, 2014

Scripps College offers social media certificate program
Informational meeting for all OHIO students is Feb. 24

By Kerry Tuttle

ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 20, 2014)—Social media has found its way into not only our personal life, but our professional life as well. Almost all new graduates will use some form of social media at work and companies are adapting traditional roles to encompass social media responsibilities. Whether a teacher, health care professional, or business owner, people in all professions have the ability to connect with their audiences and exchange information through social media. 

The Scripps College of Communication saw the need for coursework that creates social media competent students who understand the influence of this technology. The new Social Media Certificate offered through Scripps aims to emphasize career access and social media literacy. 

“Employers are looking for new grads who know how to use social media. We want all students to be literate in it in a world where it is quickly becoming the leading form of communication,” said Karen Riggs, a professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies and the mastermind behind this new certificate. “It is an extremely new field and this is one of the first certificate programs of its kind in the country. We’re delighted to be a leader and delighted that Ohio University students get to be among the first in the country with this program.”

Students will study different social networks and how those specific networks operate, will learn to understand the business side of social media including principles, practices and analysis, and will explore topics such as information sharing, entertainment values, organizational behavior and marketing practices. 

“Many of the courses are all about communication and emphasize establishing and maintaining relations over the web. What makes this certificate great is the variety of electives you can take through the different schools within Scripps,” said Eric Tiu, a video production major minoring in communication studies and working towards completion of the certificate. “Video is an incredibly useful tool people use to receive and share news, information and content online. A video is useless without an audience, and social media is a fantastic distribution and promotion tool. I can definitely see myself using the skills I’m learning now to produce better video content for the web.”

Riggs says social media can be an extremely powerful tool. 

“Social media may seem trivial because you use it so casually,” said Riggs, “but you need to understand what’s at stake. We’ll touch on subjects like privacy, participation, community building and careers. For students to have a lasting value from the certificate, they’ll need to learn to anticipate and react to changes in the industry.”

The three required classes for the certificate include Introduction to Social Media, Communication and New Technologies, and Advanced Social Media. Students then get to choose from a list of elective courses such as Strategic Social Media, Privacy in the Internet Age, and the Media and Digital Divide.

“The coursework for the certificate is great because it’s always on the cutting edge,” said Taylor Olmstead, a media studies major pursuing a corollary in interactive web design. “Being so current has helped me to have relevant discussions with professionals in the field about the issues they’re actually working on.”

After discussing the creation of this new certificate with Professor Riggs who happens to be his advisor, Olmstead changed his major from video production so that he could pursue social media full time. 

“I’m planning on going into social media marketing so being one of the only students in the country who has taken entire classes on topics like content curation really works to my advantage. The opportunity to use class time studying trends within my future field and develop a relevant portfolio has been extremely beneficial,” said Olmstead.

Students must have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours and must carry a 2.5 GPA to be eligible for the certificate program. An informational meeting about the new certificate will be conducted Monday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in RTV 281. All majors are welcome.