New Social Media Class Offered

MCC instructors Christopher VanOosterhout and Maria AndresenStudents who take the area’s first-ever, college-level Social Media class, which begins at Muskegon Community College on Jan. 9, will come away with marketable skills desired by a majority of today’s employers.

“If your resume looks exactly like someone else’s, but you have experience in social media, can show that you’ve taken a course in it, and understand more than just making a Facebook post but concepts like analytics, copyright and ownership, that will give you an edge,” said MCC Instructor Maria Andersen, who co-developed and will co-teach the class with MCC Instructor Christopher VanOosterhout.

“This is a course not only designed to help you understand the issues around social media but to establish yourself as someone who can use social media well. You’ll have a portfolio of your own work, in an area of your own interest, at the end of the class to show off your skills.”

“Social Media” is a three-credit course being held on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 3:30-5 p.m. It is cross listed in communications (COM 297) and business (BUS 297). No previous experience with social media is required. Those who have used social media will gain experience and an understanding of how to use its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. Visit to register for the course.

VanOosterhout, an e-commerce consultant and speaker with 17 years of experience assisting organizations build e-Business operations, recently surveyed West Michigan job descriptions. He discovered that social media knowledge was among the most requested qualifications.

“I am not sure there’s any other skill set that employers are looking for more frequently,” he said. “Our students will be able to say they have a broad understanding of the tools and implications of social media.”

The course will cover social media from three perspectives, explained Andersen.

“The first is the human perspective – the sociological, psychological and community aspects of social media,” she said. “Why is it human beings gravitate toward social networks? The second component looks at how to share and promote your ideas. Any kind of organization, and not just a business, needs to share information and messages internally and externally. How do you analyze the results of that? How do you analyze your tweet stream? How do you mine for the kinds of products you should be selling? How do you get things to go viral? The third component looks at the legal and ethical implications, privacy and ownership rights.”

Students will write blogs and tweet in a subject area of their own choosing. They have to learn tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, as well as analytical tools like Klout, said Andersen, who has 2,600 followers internationally on her Twitter account.

“If you hire somebody to do social media at your business, how do you know they are doing a good job?” she asked. “What kind of measurements do you use to analyze them? How can you tell if your links are being followed?”

Andersen praises MCC’s ability to offer its students cutting-edge courses that will help them in the job market.

“It’s the strength of a community college that we are able to quickly develop courses that meet the needs of the community and employers and that students can use in the workplace,” she concluded.