Open online course “Global Health and Social Media” launches Sept. 15

Smart Phones and Digital Tablets Exhibition

This fall semester, I am offering an intensive undergraduate open online course on “Global Health and Social Media” at Virginia Commonwealth University. The six-week course will launch on Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 26, 2014. The course content will be released on the course website in six weekly modules, starting with the first module on the first day of class.

The course is offered as an open course at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in cooperation with the new Center for Media+Health at VCU. It was developed in consultation with VCU’s ALT Lab. The course development is part of a grant project by the Center for Media+Health and was made possible through the VCU Quest Innovation Fund. My doctoral student Jeanine Guidry will assist with the course as well.

This class is one of the first ones at VCU that allows the public to participate in course work and we are viewing it as an exciting experiment. Based on our experiences in this course, we will decide on future offerings of open online courses. The course is also designated as a service-learning class by VCU’s Division of Community Engagement.

The course will provide students at VCU and interested public participants with a chance to learn about social media campaigns for global health issues and to get hands-on experience in developing social media strategies for nonprofit clients. VCU students enrolled in the “MASC 291-002 – Global Health and Social Media” class in the fall semester 2014 will be able to receive course credit for their participation and work. Public participants won’t be able to receive course credit from VCU, but are welcome to engage in the course discussions and projects.

In this course, students can work on their own time (while meeting weekly deadlines). The class will include lectures on social media uses in global health campaigns as well as online sessions with leading health communication and social media professionals. Best practices will be also explored through online discussions and a social media campaigns project.

We will offer regular Google Hangouts with social media experts in the health field during the six-week course. Students have the option to engage with these experts live or watch the recorded discussions at a later time. The course does not use a textbook, but we will assign online readings that will become available on the first day of the course.

I am looking forward to seeing you in this course!

(The image above was designed by VCU Professor Scott Sherman)

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