Starting in Fall 2020, the Minot State Broadcasting and Professional Communication department will be adding a social media option. The option consists of five courses, four that already involve social media, and one new course. Christina Paxman, Department Coordinator and Assistant Professor, explains three areas the option focuses on.
“The focus really cuts across a few areas, the first being content creation, which includes photography, videography, print design, and writing. The second area is social media analytics, so using quantitative and qualitative methods of communication research to study what's going on with the data,” Paxman explained. “The third component is to, based on the data, make decisions on social media efforts for a variety of different organizations. That will include for-profit organizations, non-profit, government, and also educational organizations such as schools.”
Students within the program also have the option to choose more than one focus out of the department’s five options: public relations, journalism, production, communication, and now social media.
“Somebody could easily specialize in journalism and social media, and then they would have an even larger skill set to offer and be able to work that into the field of digital communication,” Paxman said.
Along with the social media option, the department also offers a social media concentration which differs by being smaller than a focus area.
“What’s nice about the social media concentration is that anybody on campus can declare it. They could be a marketing major, they could be a fitness major, but they just want to develop some knowledge and expertise in social media management. They can come here and do that, and that can prepare them for a variety of professions too,” Paxman states.
In the new course, COMM 310: Social Media Strategy and Measurement, students will learn how to strategically plan and implement social media communication for different organizations.
“I think that it’s going to give students more knowledge and training in digital communications. I think that will give them additional career options, so our goal is always to have students be able to leave the university with more options than they would without having a bachelor's degree. We feel like this can give students those options,” Paxman explained.
The professors in the department as a whole decided to add the new option to create more areas for students to excel and expand their skills and knowledge in the field of digital communication.
“First and foremost, it's a need within the industry. We now have people who are called social media managers” Paxman shared. “We also have a lot of student interest in it, students enjoy creating content, and they enjoy being able to engage in social media analytics. They can see behind the scenes what's going on with that content, and then tweak it for the audience to really reach and engage them.”
Incoming students attending MSU starting next semester will be able to choose the social media option, along with current students starting in the fall semester of the 2020 school year.